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How do I Fish? Lesson 5. Fishing Process

This lesson requires some practice with an actual fishing pole. You will need a Push Button or Spincaster fishing pole, fishing line, bobber, sinker, hook and a weight for practicing your casting. Have an adult help you set everything up the first time. The lesson below will teach you what you need to know, but sometimes it helps to have somebody give you some pointers when you get stuck.

Preparing the Fishing Pole

When you buy a fishing pole in a kit, chances are it already has fishing line loaded into the reel. If you push the button on your reel, it should release some fishing line from the top of the reel. If it doesn't then you may need to do what is called "Respooling your Reel." Most adults like to teach their kids how to respool the reel so that they can help out with this easy task.

Respooling your Reel

You will need your fishing pole, some new fishing line that matches the poles requirements and fisherman's pliers or scissors.

  1. Grab your fishing pole. Look at the bottom of the reel to check that the suggested line matches the new line.
  2. The top part of the reel will unscrew from the bottom part of the reel. Unscrew the top.
  3. Inside the reel you will see what looks like the lid of a jar; this is the reel. If you look in the crack underneath this, you will see any fishing line that might still be attached.
  4. Pull out any fishing line that may still be attached.
  5. Open the new line, pull out a piece and run it through the line guides on your pole. The spool of new line will be at the very far end of the pole where the hook would usually be, and you are bringing the line through the guides towards the reel. This helps keep the line straight while you reel it in later.
  6. Take the lid from your reel and poke the line through the hole in the top. Thread the line through so that the reel's lid hangs on the line just like a bead would on a necklace. Set the lid down so that it is not in the way.
  7. Towards the end of the line, tie a single overhand knot. Remember, this is the same knot that you use to start when you tie your shoes.
  8. Put the knotted line in your hand and wrap line around the reel once.
  9. Tie a full overhand knot (two knots in a row using the same overhand knot from step 6).
  10. Gently pull the line from the top of the reel. This will cause the line to tighten up around the reel and the second knot will slip till it catches onto the first knot. If you tug on the line, it should be snug against the reel.
  11. Pick up the lid to the reel. Use one hand to pull the line tight (or have a helper do this) then slide the lid towards the reel. With the line nice and tight, you can screw the lid back onto the reel.
  12. Keeping the line fairly tight, start reeling the line in using the handle. It might only take about 40-50 cranks to fill your reel. To check your line, unscrew the lid from the reel and peek in at the line. There should be just be about an 1/8th inch of the reel left showing. If you don't have a ruler, you can use your pinky nail as a guide. A pinky nail is just about 1/4 inch wide, cover half of the nail and look at the width now. This should be close enough to 1/8th inch. Now you can compare this width to the width of reel left showing.
  13. Screw the lid back onto your reel, keeping the line tight. Trim the line from the spool, add your hook, sinker and bobber, then go fishing!

The directions might look a little scary, but watch this video. It is much easier when you can see it happen!

Putting the Hook, Sinker and Bobber on your Line

We watched a video in Lesson 3 that showed how to prepare the line. This is the next step in getting your pole ready to fish. If you need help remembering on how to put the bobber, sinker or hook onto your line, you can watch the video from Lesson 3. If you need help remembering how to tie the knot, you can look back at Lesson 4 to watch those videos.

Putting the Bait on the Hook

Don't forget what we learned back in Lesson 3 about baiting the hook! If you forget to bait your hook, the fish won't want to bite at your line. Bait your hook with a worm, minnow or grasshopper and get ready to do some fishing!

Casting your Line

Casting is something that requires a lot of practice to get really good at. The steps are simple, but practice is what makes the process smooth and gives you more distance in your cast.

  1. To cast, hold your fishing pole in whichever hand you are dominant with. If you are right-handed, use your right, otherwise use your left hand.
  2. Face the area where you want to cast your line. Hold the fishing pole up so that it is pointing at the spot where you want it to go and is at eye level.
  3. Check all around you to be sure that you won't catch anyone with your hook.
  4. Push the button on your reel with your thumb.
  5. Bring the rod up then swing it back towards the water. As the rod becomes eye level with you again, release the button.

It sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? Watch this video to see the cast in action. You only need to watch the first part about casting with a Spincaster. The other types of casting are fun to watch, but require different types of poles than yours.

Catching the Fish

When you cast your baited hook and prepared line out into the water, you have to wait until you feel a tug on your line or your bobber starts bobbing up and down. This means you've caught a fish! So now what do you do?

  1. Reel the fish in. Turn the handle on your reel and pull the fish towards you. Try to reel the fish in gently, but not so slow that it can slip away.
  2. If you have a big fish, it might be hard work getting the fish reeled in. You might need an adult to help you if it is too hard for you to do it alone.
  3. Once you pull the fish in close enough, have somebody grab the fish with a net. Otherwise, you will need to pull the fish all the way out of the water.
  4. You need to remove the hook from your fish. Have an adult help you with this part. Especially if you want to let your fish go.
  5. Look at your fish. Is it big enough to keep? Or do you just want to let the fish go? Decide what to do with your fish quickly and either put it in your creel or release it back into the water.
  6. Get your line ready to go and you can fish some more!


Are you ready for the quiz?

Click the link to go to the quiz. There are 10 questions that come from the reading above. When you finish, the quiz will give you three options; "Review Quiz" will take you back through the questions, "Print Results" will open a window with the certificate you need to print to show completion of the lesson and "Finish" will take you to the next lesson. Follow this link to take the quiz now!

Lesson 1. Fishing Rules | Lesson 2. Fishing Types | Lesson 3. Fishing Tools
Lesson 4. Fishing Knots | Lesson 5. Fishing Process | Site Survey

Have you finished all three of these lessons? Do you have your certificates printed? If so, you can move on to the next lesson called "How do I Fish?" Click the link at the top or bottom of the page to start the next lessons. If you have already completed the lessons found at both pages, you can take your printed certificates to your Parents, Grandparents, Pack Leader or other Adults to let them know that you are ready to go fishing!


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