In today's times, the volume of information on angling can be overwhelming, especially for someone who has started fishing. The array of equipment, from line weights to rod weights, reels & drag settings to lines etc. all may sounds very confusing, and honestly, some of this information comes across as an unnecessary overload for a beginner.
So if you want to take up angling, I will start with some basics that can help you catch a fish.
Rods & Reels
If it's your first time fishing, I recommend you buy a combo rod & reel from off the shelf. Combo brands are relatively cheap, and today there are some decent combo packs available, which are durable and sturdy.
Check a few Rod Reel Combos Here
In most cases, the reel comes pre-loaded with line which will save you time in learning how to load the line and will help get on the water soon.
If you are looking for a rod and reel from different brands, then a medium-heavy, fast-tip rod will work best. The medium-heavy will ensure that there is enough bend in your rod, while the fast tip will make your lure swim better. As for a reel, look for something that can deliver a 6-kilo drag. Don't get caught up with a reel that has many ball bearings and can deliver a massive drag of 15 kilos etc. You are not going to start by catching fish that big. Look at the drag as a system that puts weight on a fish to slow it down and eventually tire it out. Never tighten up your reel drag completely. This will lead to either your line or your reel spindle breaking. Let the fish and drag run for some time and with some patience, you will land your first fish.
In case you do not wish to go for a Combo,I suggest you can begin with the Penn Squadron Spinning Rod with the Shimano FX Spinning Reel. They work perfectly well together and are durable and very cost-effective.
You Can also Check some other rods stocked with fishermanshub.com which cost you below Rs. 2000
There are two types of lines: monofilament & braid. A braided line is good for spinning, and due to its thin diameter, it will cast your lure further than mono.
On the other hand, monofilament works well for bait fishing as its abrasion resistance properties protect it when fish scrapes your lines against rocky surfaces.
My advice is to start with a 20lbs monofilament line as it's not as delicate as braid and easy to work with, across different modes of fishing.
Some good, cost-effective monofilament & braided lines that cost you less than Rs. 1500 are listed here.
There are hundreds of lure brands out there, and it can get pretty confusing as to which one will work for you. The best way to sort this problem out is to understand what works for the fish. Fish are generally found at three depth levels - Top water, mid-water and bottom. Therefore, your lure collection will need to swim at all these respective depths to reach the desired species.
Target species: Gaint Trevally, Red Snapper, Threadfin Salmon
Target Species - Barramundi, Red Snappers
Though I would not suggest that a beginner starts with bottom diving lures, once you have caught a couple of fish and know how to swim your baits you could try your hand at bottom diving lures. My recommends for these would be - Yo-Zuri Dual Hardcore, Storm Deep Thunder, Prohunter Bluester
Target Species - Red Snapper, King Fish and other Pelagic Species
You could also use shads that can sink and swim at any desired depth. These are used with a Jig Head which helps you cast the lure far and then lets you sink it and swim it at the desired depth. Some shads you could try would be - Z Man Diezel Minnows & Uzzo Twisterz
The colours of lures vary, the thumb rule is to use bright-coloured lures in muddy waters and duller more life-like coloured lures in clear water. Remember that most fish do not see colour in the same colour spectrum as we humans do. For E.g. a fish may see green as grey.
I have caught fish on just the reverse of the above, but this rule works most of the time. For more info on lures read this - https://passageenclave.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/my-5-favourite-fishing-lures/
Imagine the tide as a clock that tells a fish when to eat. Fish will feed in a frenzy only in small intervals of a tide. These intervals might last just for 15 to 30 Minutes before it slacks off. Your chances of catching a fish increase when you match your fishing to tides. The best time to fish at a river mouth or estuary is 1 hour before high tide to 1 hour after high tide. In the sea, fish may feed longer, so start fishing 2 hours before high tide to 2 hours after. Note that fish in different areas may feed at different times on the tide. So always start early and watch the water for signs of feeding, which can easily be spotted by bait fish breaking the surface of the water in an attempt to escape predators.
There are hundreds of knots out there, some of these are fancy and hard to tie. Do not get carried away by trying to tie difficult knots. Remember the best knot is a knot tied well. Below are some simple knots to get you started.
From line to hook use the following knot: FG Knot
For line to line: Allbright
These are all the knots you will require to start your fishing career.
In most cases, baiting fishing is the easiest way the catch a fish. There are 2 broad categories of bait, dead & live bait.
Dead bait: Cut bits of fresh mackerel, sardine, squid and prawns work the best. Fish in their natural conditions eat fresh live fish hence your bait needs to be as fresh as possible or else it may not be very effective. Presentation of the dead bait is important. Either you cut them into small bite-size chucks according to the size of the target fish or put them on whole if you target bigger fish. Conceal the hook well especially the tip so the fish does not see your hook.
Live bait: Though difficult to procure, live bait fish work the best. Small live fish or prawns can be attached to a hook via their tail and left to swim around. In most cases, if your tiding timings are right, live bait will help you hook into fish within minutes. Live bait, whether prawns or fish need to be kept well oxygenated to survive for long periods. So either have an artificial oxygen supply connected to your live bait box or change the water frequently.
Nowadays local fish farms will readily sell you live bait, so ask local fishermen and hopefully, they will point you in the right direction.
Fish in general love to hang out near underwater structures. It offers protection as well as makes for a good hunting ground. Rocky reefs attract bait fish and in turn, the predators like GTs, snappers and groupers come in to feed on them. Look for rocky outcrops peeping out from the water and cast close to them. The fish in most cases will dive out from the structure and attack your lure/bait. Once hooked it will race back, so be ready to play your fish out into open water or else it will cut your line against the sharp edges of the rocks.
Beach fishing is best done with bait. Load your hooks with a chunk of squid or mackerel and throw them out past the surf. That's where the predators hang out. You could also target smaller fish like ladyfish, bream and catfish with smaller hooks and prawns as bait. These fish will feed readily on an upcoming tide and can be easily caught.
Dean Gonsalves is a Techie and an Avid Angler who has been angling all along the coastline of India from way back in the 1970's. Having extensively covered the west coast of India, he has an amazing blog which every Indian angler should read. On his blog he has documented his adventures in a very captivating way that will keep you engaged and intrigued . You can read them by visiting his blog here