Beginner's Guide to Angling and Fishing

Throwing a line into the water on a warm summer day is the perfect way to while away the hours. An angle is a fish hook; therefore, fishing with a fishing rod and bait on a fish hook is often called angling. Fishing can involve only the most basic tools, or an angler may invest in expensive equipment to catch fish. Either way, learning about fishing can provide new opportunities for relaxation and entertainment.


Fishing hooks come in a variety of shapes and sizes designed to fit the type of bait you are using and the type of fish you are trying to catch. To ensure that you are ready for any type of fish at your fishing location with your chosen bait, purchase packages that contain a variety of different hooks. The sizing system for hooks is numerical, with higher numbers indicating smaller hooks. Hooks also have different shapes, with the most common shapes being "J" and "circle" hooks. J hooks often look like the letter, although they may have a variety of different shapes, too. These hooks are an all-purpose hook, suitable for catching most fish. Circle hooks are more rounded than J hooks, but they are effective for catching a variety of fish also.


Bait sits on the fishing hook to attract fish to your line. The materials used for bait vary depending on the type of fish you are trying to catch. Bait can be natural or artificial products. Artificial bait has benefits because you can use it repeatedly and you don't have to store it carefully. However, fish may be able to discern that the bait is artificial, so they may not bite when you use this type of bait. Some anglers attempt to remedy this issue by adding scents to the artificial bait to make it more appealing to the fish. Natural bait could be worms, insects, or raw meat. It's important to match the type of natural bait to the fish you are trying to catch because fish have different preferences for bait. Natural bait needs to be kept cold while you fish, and if you don't use it all, you will likely have to dispose of it when you are done fishing.

Laws and Regulations

Every state has its own individual set of laws and regulations regarding fishing. These laws are in place to protect the natural resources of each area and to help anglers have the most success when they fish. Laws and regulations may also change seasonally as fishing conditions change according to the time of the year. Common regulations include specific times for fishing season, limits on the number of fish anglers can remove from the water each day, limits on the number of fishing lines anglers can use at one time, limits on fish size, and guidelines about the type of equipment and tackle anglers can use. States also require that anglers purchase fishing licenses to fish lawfully.

Catch and Release

Catch-and-release fishing involves catching fish but not keeping them. With catch-and-release angling, it's important to minimize the injury to the fish from the hooks so they can survive once you return them to the water. Barbless hooks should not injure the fish to the same degree as standard hooks. Anglers should also try to pull the fish in as quickly as possible without exhausting the fish on the line. Prolonged thrashing and struggling can exhaust a fish and make it less likely that it will survive. By keeping the fish in the water after you bring it in and removing the hook as soon as possible, you increase the chances that the fish will survive. If removing the hook will cause injury and bleeding, simply cut the line to leave just a short length of fishing line and release the fish.