When getting started in the sport of fishing,
you don't need fancy and expensive gear. A hook and a length of
fishing line will catch fish! You might like to start with a handline
(about 100m of fishing line wrapped onto a plastic ring called a
caster) This will help give you the "feel" for catching fish. You
will get to know the feel of a fish taking the bait and how a fish
runs and fights. You wont be able to throw (cast) the line as far as
a rod and reel, and a handline is best used off a wharf, jetty or
A good size line for your handline is about 4 to
8 kg breaking strain. Lighter line works best, thicker line can be
seen by the fish and it gets dragged around by the wind and current.
Also with lighter line, you can "Feel" the fish messages.
Add a hook, sinker and bait (more about that
below) and you're ready to go fishing!
When you think it's time to progress further
than a handline, it's time to visit
local tackle shop to select your first rod and reel.
Select a good medium priced outfit. There are
some very cheap rods and reels on the market, but these may break
easily and in the long run you will be better off buying a better
quality outfit. When visiting your local tackle shop, discuss with
the staff the type of fishing you would like to do, and tell them
you're a beginner. This way you will get an outfit that is suitable
to your needs.
There are several types of reels that you can
- Closed Face
Each one of the above reels is suited to a
particular type of fishing. When you're starting our the two most
suitable types are the threadline (also called a spinning reel or
eggbeater) and the sidecast reel (an Alvey is very popular) To select
the type that best suits you, if you are going to mainly fish
freshwater, lake, harbour or estuary then a threadline is your best
choice. If you are going to be fishing from a boat, the beach or
rocks, then choose the sidecast reel.
A medium sized, lightweight threadline that
holds 150 - 250 metres of 3-6kg line will cover most fishing
A lightweight sidecast reel with a fairly large
spool, say around 14 cm diameter, will hold plenty of line, be easy to
cast, quick to wind in and not be prone to twist and tangles.
Always look after your reels. When you have
finished fishing for the day, wash it down with some mild soapy water
and oil the moving parts about once a month. This way, your reel will
be in good condition for the next time you want to go fishing.
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Now that you've chosen your reel, you need a rod
to match. There are many types of rods to choose from, made from many
types of materials. The rod needs to match your reel, and this is
where good advise from your local tackle store comes in handy. Take
your time when choosing a rod. Try using some of your friends, or
most tackle shops have some that you can wave around a bit! A rod
should be light enough for you to fish all day, and not tire you, but
be strong enough to help you pull in that big fish.
If you have chosen a threadline reel, choose a
rod that is about 1.7 to 2.2 metres long, with a light tip and a
stiffer lower end. If you will be fishing from the beach, rocks or a
wharf using a larger threadline, choose a slightly longer and heavier
Rods can be one or two piece. The two piece rod
transports and stores easily. Care for your rod the same as your
reel - wash it down with mild soapy water after each fishing trip.
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Well, you've got your rod, reel and line. Now
we need what is called the Terminal Tackle. These are the bits and
pieces to put it all together and make it work! (that is catch fish)
Obviously the most important type of terminal
tackle is the hook. There are numerous types of hooks in all shapes
and sizes, but to start out you will only need a few types.
Example of Hook Sizes:
16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, No.1, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0,
4/0, 5/0, 6/0 Larger Hooks
Hook sizes can be confusing, as the larger the
number - the smaller the hook when sizing is below a No. 1 (a good
all-round hook size for general fishing) After No. 1 the numbering
system changes and the larger the hook, the bigger the number. By the
way - 1/0 is pronounced as "one-oh" in Australia or sometimes
To have a good range of hook sizes to suit your
needs when beginning, buy some No. 12, 6, 4, 1, 2/0, 4/0 and 6/0.
Your tackle shop will be able to advise you on what type of patterns
will suit you. Get a few "long shank" hooks as well. These are easy
to remove from fish and can stop some toothy fish biting through your
Always make sure your hooks are SHARP. Use a
hook hone or a fine file to touch up the point each time you go
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Sinkers are lead weights that come in many
weights, sizes and shapes. They help you to cast and get the bait down
to the fish. There are only a few types that you need to get started.
Two very useful ones are the Ball Sinker and the Bean Sinker. These
have a hole through the middle, through which you thread your line and
they can move freely up and down the fishing line. Buy a few of each
in different sizes. Remember, use the lightest and smallest sinker
that does the job of helping you to cast and getting the bait to the
Swivels are made of brass or stainless steel
with a body and an eyelet at each end. They do just what the name
says - swivel. They join pieces of line together in a rig and take
the twist out of your line (which can cause tangles) They are
numbered the same way hooks are, and as a general rule, the smaller
the better (to suit the line) For fishing with a threadline, choose
No. 12 and No. 10 sizes. For beach or rock fishing with a heavier
line, choose about a No. 8.
These do what the name says - Float! They are
used to keep your bait from sinking to the bottom. You can set the
depth from just under the surface to just above the bottom.
There are several different types of floats to
choose from. Popular types are the quill, bobby cork, bubble and
pencil. For general fishing one or two pencil floats and light bobby
corks are all you need.
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Bait is the thing you put on your hook to entice
fish to eat! Below are a few types of bait you can use.
There is a wide choice of baits you can use for
freshwater, they can be used live, fresh, frozen, dried or salted.
Earthworms - straight from your garden!
Scrubworms - bigger than earthworms and you
will find them under dead leaves, compost and logs in dark shady
places around water. Digging in these places also produce worms.
Mudeyes - The larval stage of a Dragonfly.
You can purchase these from tackle stores (they're a bit expensive,
but they are a very good bait, especially for trout)
Yabbies - freshwater crayfish. They are best
used live, just place the hook through their tail.
Bait Fish - Small fish are good live, or use
frozen Whitebait that you can purchase from your local tackle shop.
Insects - Some good insects are grasshoppers
With saltwater baits there is a very large
range. Following are just a few. They can be used live, fresh,
frozen or salted.
Prawns - One of the most popular saltwater
baits. To use live, lightly hook through the shell, but don't kill
them. You can use them dead whole, headed and peeled, or cut into
Worms - The best worms for bait are
bloodworms, sandworms and beachworms. Use them live if possible,
but good store purchased frozen ones also work well.
Nippers - Also known as marine yabbies.
These burrow in the sand in most estuaries and saltwater lakes.
They are pink and white and have one claw bigger than the other.
Use them Live. Watch out for that bigger claw, then can give you
quite a pinch!
Squid & Octopus - These can be bought fresh
or frozen. Small squid can be used whole for larger fish, but are
generally best used cut into strips.
Shellfish - Mussels, pippies and oysters are
among a few crustaceans that you can use for bait.
Bread & Dough - Works well, and is
FOR DETAILS ON WHICH FISH EATS WHAT
BAIT see BAIT
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You just need a few basic knots to get you
started, and once you've mastered these, you won't have to learn many
more to see you through your fishing life.
The Blood Knot
The Blood Bight Dropper
The Hangman's Noose
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