Picture of How to fish
This instructable demonstrates how to fish in fresh water such as ponds, streams, and lakes, using a minimum of inexpensive equipment. It is designed for non-fishing parents that wish to give their kids a fun and educational experience or for those that simply want to give it a try without investing a lot of money. The thrill of catching your first fish is exactly the same whether you spend $20 or $2000, and you can always ramp up to the expensive stuff later.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Everything you need to fish can be purchased at your local Wal-Mart or sporting good store for under $20. You will need:

- A cane pole - I bought a 2 piece pole at Wal-Mart for $3.54
- An assortment of small hooks - about $2.00
- Some bobbers or floats, smaller is better- a pack of small ones is about $2.00
- Monofilament line, cheap is fine. Get 10 or 12 lb test - about $10.00

Some country stores may carry long one-piece cane poles, and these are good for serious cane-pole fishing by adults. For kids, I like the ones that come in two pieces and are about 10 feet long when assembled. You simply insert the top end into the bottom end and you are ready to go. Afterwards, they are easily disassembled to put in the trunk of the car.
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Windber7 months ago

This is, simply, one of the best fishing instructables I've found on the site. Many, many thanks.

Lovely, I Love Fishing
ilpug3 years ago
this is pretty much the best simple fishing ible ever. i like how you even bypassed poles with reels and used the old fashioned "doodle" poles. you can also bypass buying a rod, and save money by getting a bamboo pole from the gardening department.
craigl (author)  ilpug3 years ago
Thanks - I grew up in the deep south and cane poles were what we used, so that is how I learned myself. I consider them to be better than a rod-and-reel setup when fishing for bluegills and other panfish. Also, cane poles are much easier for kids to learn on - just bait the hook, throw it in, and watch the bobber. Casting takes a lot more skill (and there's a danger from flying hooks). Once a kid has mastered actually catching fish (and taking them off the hook and rebaiting), they can "graduate" to a rod-and-reel fishing if they wish. In any case that's what I did with my kids.
ilpug craigl3 years ago
i learned on rod and reel poles, but i love the simplicity of cane poles. i agree that they are best for bluegill. in my pond i have caught tons of them with just a stick and a hook and line. bluegill will bite at anything. mainly i catch largemouth bass, which pretty much requires a rod and reel.
slaitch3 years ago
Clayton H.4 years ago
sometimes me and my dad go perch fishing out on Lake Erie when their in season, which if anyone has done that, it is pretty much just dropping the hook down and pulling it up half a minute later and you got a fish. Great father-son bonding moment.
random joe4 years ago
I remember my times as a kid, when I was growing up in PA, when my dad would take me fishing and we would put or hooks in and sit, and we would bring in 14 inch channel cats and huge carp
ikeike404 years ago
I don't use a bobber I just simply walk out on my dock and drop the line. For bait I use hotdog while I wait I contsantly throw out little bits of hotdog out. Doing this I have caught anything from bluegill to bass to gars to bowfin.
larksid74 years ago
whole kernel corn is a good simple bait that panfish llove and easy to put in hook and small enought to fit in a small or big fish mouth.....
danny61144 years ago
 Using a longer length of line, tie one end of the line to the butt end of the pole, then spiral wrap to the tip of the pole. That way if the two sections separate you won''t have to fish for your pole tip. It also helps to strengthen the pole somewhat.
craigl (author)  danny61144 years ago
 Excellent suggestion and wish I had done exactly that :-)  Growing up in FLA, we always used unsegmented cane poles so never had to rig it like that, but the extra spiral down the pole is good advice for the cheapo WalMart poles I feature in the Instructable.  
 The spiral wrap helps to strengthen all cane poles by spreading the stress over more of the length of the pole, like a shock absorber.
dsaavedra5 years ago
good instructable except for one thing.

there is a much safer way to hold bluegills. as you can probably tell, they have sharp dorsal spines that can go into your hands very easily.

the best and safest way to hold bluegills is to cup your hand in a "C" shape and wrap your hand around the fish.

you do this by coming in from the front (not the back like you said in the instructable). then, using the outside edge of your thumb, gently push the spines down and at the same time grip the fish with your fingers around the belly.

here is a picture of a nice bluegill i caught. i'm holding it in the way i described above
craigl (author)  dsaavedra4 years ago
I passed on the way I was taught - I'm sure your method will work also.  It has been my experience, however, that panfish will continue to flop around unless their gills are compressed on both sides.  My grip accomplishes that, and I have never, ever been stuck with the dorsal fins while using it.
tictac245 years ago
An important step you forgot to add is, before beginning the process of cleaning the fish, to incapacitate the fish somehow, byknocking it unconscious or somehow instantly killing it. I always did it by giving the fish a solid whack on the head (perhaps with the scaling spoon) and make sure they're knocked out. It not only keeps the fish still for carving, but also saves them needless suffering.
craigl (author)  tictac244 years ago
 Good point - I when cleaning catfish (which can live for quite a while in the
open air), I usually put them out of their misery with a hunting knife through the brain and into a wooden cleaning board.
You are eating the fish.Knocking it out makes it easier?Grab it by the head and fillet that bad boy!You've already stuck a hook in it's mouth and pulled it out of the water.Why be nice now?"Needless suffering!"
I think filleting a fish alive is much more cruel than catching a fish with a hook.  It is good to respect  the fish that is about to nourish you
juntti4 years ago
We use a small weight just above (2-5 cm.) the hook to make it to sink faster & stay better in place. 

Also (I skimmed through some of the text so you may actually mention this) but it is important to learn to adjust the bobber and thus adjust the depth of the bait. Different fish swim on different depths at different times, water temperatures etc.

Also, as kids when we did not expect to have anything big, we just carried the line readied with the bobber & weight and made the poles on the spot from tree branches etc. We seldom used dough or bread,  we user worms most of the time as dough & bread lure a bit poorer type of fish around here.

craigl (author)  juntti4 years ago
 I've also used small split shot weights at times, but was going for simplicity in the instructable.  Also am not convinced that the weight actually is a benefit - without the weight, the bait and hook sink slower and appear a bit more natural to the fish - at least that's my theory :-)

I mainly use weight when I want the bait to sit on the bottom - for example, when fishing for catfish at night with a rod and reel and no bobber, etc. I use a 1/4 or 1/2 oz. slip sinker for that, along with either doughball/cheeseball/stinkbait for flatheads and bullheads or cut up bluegills for channel cats.
juntti juntti4 years ago
Ah, you did mention about moving the bobber. Sorry about that.
xjetfixer4 years ago
 Good looking channel cat. Get out the frying pan.flour,salt, pepper,and Crisco.
Cook some fries and you are in for some good eating.
craigl (author)  xjetfixer4 years ago
 it *was* good eating :-)  Since we made this instructable, the channel cats have about doubled in size from what is pictured here.
Tell me the 11 secret herbs and spices to your original recipe! I must have it now!
  • Salt,
  • Pepper,
  • Chicken salt,
  • Chicken pepper,
  • More salt,
  • More pepper,
  • Chicken,
  • Time,
  • Thyme,
  • Even more salt,
  • Even more pepper.
In that exact order.
Great instructable! I have been fishing for 40 years, and I still love cane pole fishing for bream and catfish.
Another way to control a fish is to stick your thumb in its mouth and pinch its lower jaw. This subdues the fish without harming it, forces its mouth to stay open and makes it easier to remove the hook. It also gives a good grip and keeps you from getting "finned".
jongscx6 years ago
Are you going to follow up with "How to Fry a fish?"
craigl (author)  jongscx6 years ago
I mix some milk and an egg, roll the fish in that, then roll it in flour or cornmeal with some salt and pepper. I fry them in vegetable oil on medium heat until they are golden brown, then put on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain. Done!
eranox craigl6 years ago
Question on that. I notice that you do not mention removing the skin of the fish, only the scales. Do you dredge, fry, and eat the fish with the skin on? I'm curious.
jongscx eranox6 years ago
dredge? never heard that used in relation to fishing, what does it mean? Yes, you can actually take the scales off without pulling the skin off of the fish.
Dredge means to roll it in batter before frying.
craigl (author)  eranox6 years ago
Panfish such as bluegills have scales which are removed before cooking. You can scale a fish by holding the fishes head down on a board and - using a spoon - scrape from the tail towards the head. Flip over and repeat to get the other side then cut off the head and remove the entrails, wash, dip in flor or batter and fry them up. Catfish do not have scales and you are correct that the skin should be removed for them. There are various techniques for skinning a catfish that cary based on fish size, but in general most involve using a very sharp knife to cut around the entire fish just behind the head, then using pliers to grab the skin at the incision and pull it off. Cut off head, remove entrails, better and fry.
When we fillet fish(no matter what kind, scaled or not) we just cut from the front fins back to the start of the tail, trying not to cut to deep, so you just get the meat, then flip over and cut the meat of the skin/scales. its really quick and makes great fillets.
An Villain5 years ago
a 3.54$ bamboo rod, where did you get that?
craigl (author)  An Villain5 years ago
 Got everything in the picture from the local WalMart.  The bamboo pole is fine for kids fishing for bluegills or other small fish, but as the final couple of pictures in my instructable show, it doesn't hold up very well for a large catfish that weighs > 3 pounds :-)

oh, the walmart by my house does not have a very large fishing department, and i also see you bought the old version of trilene XT, i have the new version in 8 LB.
waqs845 years ago
Well I must say this was big help help. thnks very much, U guys have made it so easy for me to fish nw. Hopefully!!!!!
use my way it works every time. take a nightcrawler and throw it in the water far away and cast out your pole right over there and wait for the fish to come or...................................... take a nightcrawler and put is on the hook and cast out far................realy.....realy far and attract the fish 4 times (yank the fishing pole 4 times) and then real in 5 times. it works almost every time.WARNING do not use fake bait. use these thiings............... worms,nightcrawlers,hot dogs,bread,minos and anything else fish love.
Great instructable! It's sad that it seems like the younger the generations, the less and less people fish and just enjoy the outdoors now days.
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