To pick a good fishing spot, you first need to know what kind of fish you want to catch. Let's say we're going to fish for bass - the best place to fish is in a shallow cove. Here there is a lot of shade, which they seem to favor, plenty of shelter, and lots of food. Other fish live in shallow coves, such as sunfish, and sometimes salmon. To fish for bass you can use many types of bait, but the most effective is the common worm. Put one on the hook, and add a bobber about two to three feet away. Cast out and let it work. This method will work on just about any kind of fish, any place.
Another kind of bait you could use is a lure. A lure can be anything from a frog to a baby fish to a grasshopper, which are made of plastic, metal, feathers, or a combination. Most lures are shiny to attract fish. As the lure spins, light will reflect and fish will come, thinking it is a small or injured fish. Lures are good for fishing in weeds, or if you're tired of sitting around. All you do is cast out the lure and bring it back in. You should alternate speeds - start out slow, then go faster, and back to slow. Keep this up and the fish will surely take it. You could also give the lure short bursts of speed by pulling back on the rod, but just a little. Too much will scare the fish away.
You can also fly fish, which is much harder and takes a lot more skill and patience. A fly rod is anywhere from six to fourteen feet long. To fly fish, you need a fly. Not the kind that you catch in a field, but an artificial one, made of any combination of bird feathers, animal fur, and thread. The challenge in fly fishing is to make the fly look as real as possible. You cast out in a series that doesn't let the fly touch the water. If you catch a fish on this type of rod, it is a lot of fun.
You can only fly fish when there is a "hatch," when the underwater bug eggs hatch and rise to the surface. The fish go into a feeding frenzy. Then you cast an artificial fly into the hatch. The fish will think that it is a real fly and eat it - that is when you catch a fish.
In most places you can't tell if there are fish, so use the trial and error method. You start with the simplest of methods, putting on a worm and casting out. Wait about 15 minutes, and if you haven't caught anything (or are not satisfied with your catch), move or try a different method. Usually I try lure fishing. The same rules apply, except you're casting out and reeling in for fifteen minutes. Then if you're an experienced fisherman and have a fly rod, you can try fly fishing. Where all else fails, fly fishing usually works.
Different types of fish live in different places. Bass and sunfish live in shallower water than salmon. Salmon like to live in the deeper part of lakes. They tend to stay year round and only go to shallower water to spawn, which is when fish lay their eggs.
When you're fishing from a boat, figure out what method you want to use and try it. If you're using the worm method, cast toward the shore. In a few minutes you should start to get some action. At first you might just catch a sunfish, but the bigger fish should come, and you'll have some fun. If you're fishing from the shore, cast out about ten feet and you should get the same results as from a boat. When you're lure fishing, you should cast out as far as possible. With lure fishing you probably won't get as many fish as with worm fishing.
This is how you pick a good fishing spot, what to use, and how and where to use it.
Good Luck! l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.