fish catching travel

Worldwide fish­ing trips

> 100% authentic experience, > golden dorados in la zona, > from african threadfin till blue marlin, oman-hallaniyat, > home of the monsters, > amazon adventure, brazil – rio negro, > peacock bass and more, costa rica – drake bay, > diversified fishing and pura vida, malaysia – kuala rompin, > the sailfish capital, > bluefin tuna and more, > mission impossible, > the tuna coast, > a five star experience, unique fishing holidays worldwide.

Experience a unique fishing holiday with Travel2Fish. If you’re tired of local fishing trips and are in search of an extraordinary adventure holiday in warm climates, we got you covered. Experience your next fishing adventure and discover real insider tips around the globe.

We offer a diverse selection of fishing trips across the globe, ensuring there’s something for every enthusiastic angler: from a paradisiacal fishing holiday with luxurious accommodation to an adventurous fishing trip where we sleep on the water under the open sky.


If you’re keen, you can join us for fishing trips worldwide and uncover unique insider spots on nearly every continent. We specialize in a carefully curated collection of exceptional destinations that set themselves apart from the rest, providing you with a genuine and authentic fishing experience.

Fishing trip to Africa:

Fishing vacation in America:

  • Panama (Central America)
  • Costa Rica – Drake Bay (Central America)
  • Brasil – Rio Negro (South America)
  • Ecuador – Amazo n (South America)
  • Argentina – La Zona (South America)

Fishing trips to Asia:

  • Oman, Hallaniyat
  • Laccadive Islands

Fishing vacation in Europe

  • Spain, Ebro Delta

We continue to explore the world’s secret fishing hotspots and will certainly offer you more special fishing trips in the future.

Tip: Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know about our new adventures.


Step out of the daily routine and into a fishing holiday with a 100% authentic experience. This means: on each of our fishing tours, you’re fully involved. Nobody casts the rod for you and hands over the catch. No, the adventure is entirely yours – with everything that entails. A certain level of physical fitness is therefore beneficial. This is about active fishing that guarantees you maximum fun and makes you forget the daily grind.


Our fishing trips are distinguished by the opportunity to catch extraordinary and impressive fish. We have identified the best spots where you can expect the following types of fish and many more :

  • Monster-GTs
  • Cubera Snapper
  • Golden Dorado
  • Giant African Threadfin


Our experienced and reliable guides design individual fishing trips according to your wishes. You benefit from the years of experience of our crew members, who will give you valuable tips during the tour and ensure that your fishing adventure is a complete success. Our tours are designed to ensure that every participant, regardless of experience level, gets the most out of their time on the water.


Through our close relationships with captains and local fishermen in each of our destinations, we developed a deep understanding of the specifics of the local fishery. This knowledge allows us to offer you unique and authentic fishing trips that not only offer you the best fishing opportunities but also provide bright insight into the culture and traditions of each region.


Many of our guests travel with their own equipment. However, we would like to tell you that this is not a must – you can always rent high-quality fishing tackles & equipment at a fair price on our fishing trips. This will of course make your journey a lot more comfortable and if you want, you can simply start your fishing holiday with your hands in your pockets.



Travel to distant waters, discover new cultures and experience sport fishing in exotic areas. Feel the power of the tropical predators on the fishing rod as we provide first-class accommodation, exclusive tours and culinary highlights.


As an individual booker, you can choose your favorite from our planned trips, book the fishing holiday and look forward to an unforgettable experience. Our worldwide fishing trips always take place in groups of a comfortable size. Passionate anglers from all over Northern Europe meet here to enjoy the fishing adventure of a lifetime.


For groups, we also design the fishing tour specifically tailored to your wishes – whether as a vacation with friends or as a top-class company event.Look forward to exciting stories around the campfire, the sound of wood crackling under the cooking pot on the open fire and the starry sky above you. Our group fishing trips are more than just excursions – they are experiences that promote team spirit and create lasting memories.


We are happy to create a tailor-made fishing trip for individualists. So is e.g. B. a combined family and fishing holiday is also possible. While you celebrate the catch of a lifetime on the water, your wife or other non-fishing guests can relax on the beach, discover the extraordinary nature or get active by diving. Some of our global travel destinations offer excellent opportunities to enjoy a family fishing holiday.

By the way: If the planned trips seem too short to you – longer fishing trips are always possible.

Discover our Upcoming fishing trips or contact us If you would like to find out what is possible to plan your fishing holiday with us.


On our website you can get your first impressions of a fishing holiday with Travel2Fish and find plenty of information. To show you even more highlights of our fishing trips, we are very active on social media. You are welcome to come on board and be taken into foreign waters for a few short moments:

  • Fishing Travel Blog
  • YouTube Channel
  • Facebook Page


Salt water flows in our veins and we have been enthusiastic anglers ourselves for over 20 years. It is an honor for us to personally look after you on your very special fishing trip and to create an unforgettable adventure for you with numerous detailed tips.

Y ou are now just one throw away from your unforgettable fishing vacation. If you still have questions, j ust get in touch with us . We look forward to our next fishing trip with you!

Your team from Travel2Fish


Booking office:  Travel2Fish 18569 Gingst

Contact us: +49 (0)172 30 17 278 info[at]

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  • Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

fish catching travel


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Reel in the Fun with Expert Travel Fishing Tips

Do you crave the thrill of the catch and the adventure of exploring new places? If so, combining your love for fishing with travel might just be your perfect escape. Travel fishing, a blend of angling and exploration, opens up a world of possibilities for enthusiasts seeking both relaxation and excitement.

In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the art of travel fishing, offering expert tips and insights to help you make the most of your fishing adventures on the road. So, let’s dive in and reel in the fun!

Selecting the Perfect Fishing Destination

Choosing the right fishing destination is the first and arguably the most critical step in planning your travel fishing expedition. It sets the tone for your entire trip and greatly influences your fishing success. Here’s how to do it right:

Researching potential fishing locations: Before packing your bags, do your homework. Consider factors like the season, the species you want to target, and the accessibility of the location. Different fish thrive in different seasons, so ensure your timing aligns with your goals.

Highlighting renowned travel fishing destinations: Some places are simply legendary for their fishing opportunities. One such gem is Destin, Florida, often referred to as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”

It’s here that you’ll find some of the best deep sea fishing charters in Destin Florida , offering anglers a chance to reel in trophy fish in the Gulf of Mexico’s pristine waters. Research these top spots and find the one that suits your preferences.

Personal preferences and priorities: Don’t forget your own preferences and priorities. Do you want a remote wilderness experience or a bustling fishing resort? Knowing what you want will help narrow down your choices.

Essential Fishing Gear for Travelers

Packing efficiently is key when it comes to travel fishing. You want to be well-prepared without being weighed down by excess gear. Here’s what you should consider:

Discussing the importance of packing light: Overpacking can be a traveler’s nightmare. When it comes to fishing gear, less is often more. Focus on versatile and multi-purpose items to minimize bulk.

Must-have fishing equipment: Your gear checklist should include essentials like quality rods and reels, a variety of tackle and lures, as well as appropriate clothing and accessories. Invest in gear that suits the specific type of fishing you plan to do.

Tips for efficient packing and organization: Packing efficiently can make or break your trip. Use travel-friendly fishing rod cases and tackle boxes to keep your equipment organized and secure. Remember to pack items like sunscreen, insect repellent, and a reliable multitool.

Local Regulations and Permits

Fishing laws and regulations can vary significantly from one place to another, so it’s crucial to be informed and respectful of local rules. Here’s what you need to know:

Stressing the significance of following local fishing laws: Ignoring local regulations can lead to fines, penalties, and harm to the environment. Always respect the rules in place to preserve fish populations.

Researching and obtaining necessary permits: Depending on your destination, you may need fishing permits or licenses. Research the requirements well in advance and ensure you have the necessary documentation before you start casting your line.

Ethical fishing practices and conservation efforts: Responsible fishing isn’t just about following the rules; it’s also about practicing catch and release when appropriate and respecting the environment. Be a steward of the places you visit to ensure they remain pristine for future generations.

Planning and Timing

Effective planning and timing can make or break your fishing trip. To maximize your chances of success, follow these tips:

Crafting a fishing itinerary: Create a rough itinerary that includes your fishing days, downtime, and potential side trips. This will help you make the most of your time without feeling rushed.

Considering weather conditions: Weather plays a significant role in fishing success. Pay attention to local weather forecasts and factor in any seasonal patterns that might affect fish behavior.

Best times for different fish species: Different fish species are active at various times of the day and year. Research the best times to target your chosen species, and plan your outings accordingly.

Techniques for Success

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced angler, mastering the right techniques can greatly enhance your chances of a successful catch. Here are some valuable tips:

Offering fishing tips for beginners: If you’re new to fishing, start with the basics. Learn how to cast, reel, and handle fish properly. Practice patience and pay attention to your surroundings.

Advanced techniques for experienced anglers: Experienced anglers can up their game with advanced techniques like fly fishing, trolling, or using live bait. Experiment with different approaches to keep things exciting.

Adapting to specific fishing conditions: Be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. If the fish aren’t biting, be flexible in your approach, and try different techniques until you find what works.

Safety and Travel Tips

Ensuring your safety and well-being while travel fishing is paramount. Here are some essential safety and travel tips to keep in mind:

Staying safe while fishing in remote areas: When fishing in remote or wilderness areas, be aware of potential hazards like wildlife encounters and rough terrain. Carry communication devices, and let someone know your whereabouts.

Packing a first-aid kit: Accidents can happen anywhere, so always carry a well-stocked first-aid kit that includes essential supplies for minor injuries and medical emergencies.

General travel tips for anglers: Remember that you’re not just a fisherman but also a traveler. Respect local customs and cultures, be eco-conscious, and practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment.

Enjoying the Travel Experience

While the thrill of the catch is undoubtedly a major highlight of travel fishing, don’t forget to enjoy the journey itself. Here’s how to make the most of your travel experience:

Emphasizing the importance of taking in the surroundings: Fishing destinations often boast stunning natural beauty. Take moments to appreciate the landscapes, wildlife, and serenity around you.

Encouraging anglers to savor the journey as much as the catch: Fishing is about more than just catching fish. It’s about creating lasting memories and connections with nature. Treasure the moments spent with friends and family, even if the fish aren’t biting.

Sharing personal anecdotes or stories: To inspire others and create a more personal connection with your readers, consider sharing some of your own travel fishing stories and adventures.

In summary, travel fishing is an exhilarating fusion of angling skill and wanderlust. By selecting the right destination, packing efficiently, adhering to local regulations, planning smartly, mastering fishing techniques, ensuring safety, and savoring every moment, you can make your travel fishing adventures both successful and incredibly rewarding.

As you embark on your journey to reel in the fun with expert travel fishing tips, remember that it’s not just about the catch; it’s about the memories, the people, and the breathtaking landscapes you encounter along the way. Whether you’re casting lines in the clear waters of Destin, Florida, or exploring remote fishing spots in Alaska, each experience is a tapestry of moments worth cherishing.

So, pack your gear, hit the road, and embrace the thrill of travel fishing. With the right knowledge and preparation, your next fishing adventure could become a story to share, a source of pride, and a cherished memory for years to come. Enjoy the journey, savor the catch, and make every fishing expedition a remarkable and unforgettable experience.

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The Ultimate Guide To Deep Sea Fishing

We started Captain Experiences to make it easy to book fishing and hunting guides around the world. With over 1,500 Damn Good Guides, our platform makes finding and booking a trip seamless. Head here to check out our trips.

Deep sea fishing, also known as offshore fishing or big game fishing, involves venturing miles offshore where ocean depths can range from hundreds to thousands of feet deep. Annually, tens of thousands of anglers head to popular deep sea fishing destinations such as Key West , Galveston , and Gulf Shores in search of catching popular offshore species like yellowtail, albacore tuna, rockfish and more using specialized deep sea fishing rods and reels designed to put up with the power and speed of big game fish that lurk in the deep. In this guide, we’ll uncover everything you need to know before heading out on your next deep sea fishing trip including popular deep sea fishing destinations, targeted game fish, and the gear and techniques required to be successful on a deep sea adventure.

What is Deep Sea Fishing?

The primary characteristic of deep sea fishing is the depth at which it takes place — usually in waters that can reach hundreds or even thousands of feet deep. This requires specialized equipment, such as sturdy fishing rods, heavy-duty reels, and robust fishing lines capable of withstanding the immense pressure of the depths. If you’re new to deep sea fishing, enlisting the help of a deep sea fishing charter and professional guide with local knowledge of the waters can make for a less frustrating experience out on the water. One of the most exciting aspects of deep sea fishing is the diversity of fish species that can be encountered. Depending on the location and time of year, anglers may have the opportunity to catch a variety of prized game fish such as marlin, rockfish, albacore tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, snapper, grouper, yellowtail and shark. These species are known for their size, strength, and fighting ability, making the pursuit an exhilarating challenge for anglers of all skill levels.

Different Types of Deep Sea Fishing

Deep sea fishing encompasses a variety of techniques that cater to different fishing styles and target specific species. The proper technique for your next deep sea fishing adventure largely depends on the depth at which you’re fishing and the species you’re targeting. Below are three popular deep sea fishing techniques.

Trolling for Marlin and Tuna

Blue Marlin In Cabo

Trolling, a technique involving dragging baited lines or lures behind a moving boat, allows anglers to cover vast expanses of water effectively. It's ideal for attracting pelagic species like marlin, tuna, yellowtail, sailfish, and albacore, known to roam wide areas in search of prey. The lure's movement and vibration entice these species, making trolling a successful strategy for deep sea fishing.

Bottom Fishing for Rockfish and Snapper

Rockfish Caught In San Diego

Bottom fishing is a technique where baited hooks are dropped to the ocean floor, primarily targeting bottom-dwelling or demersal species such as rockfish, snapper, grouper, and cod that tend to inhabit reefs, wrecks, or other submerged structures. This strategy provides anglers with accurate depth control, effectively targeting specific habitats these species frequent.

Jigging for Amberjack and Yellowtail

Amberjack Caught In Clearwater

Jigging, a technique where a weighted lure is dropped vertically and jerked to mimic prey movement, is effective for attracting a variety of fish species, including amberjack, kingfish, and different types of tuna. The lure's movement simulates wounded baitfish, triggering the predatory instincts of species like amberjack and yellowtail, enticing them to strike.

Top Locations for Deep Sea Fishing

While there are plenty of deep sea fishing locations to choose from, some are set above the rest due to their proximity to deep water, local accommodations or seasonality. Below are a few popular deep sea fishing destinations for your next day on the water.

Galveston: An Oasis for Offshore Angling Enthusiasts

Located on the Gulf Coast of Texas, Galveston boasts a thriving fishing scene and easy access to productive offshore waters. The city's proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes it a prime destination for deep sea fishing. Anglers visiting the area can enlist the services of local Galveston fishing charters to target a variety of species, including red snapper, king mackerel and amberjack.

Key West: The Angler’s Dream Destination

Situated at the southernmost tip of Florida, Key West is a premier deep sea fishing destination due to its proximity to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Booking a trip with one of the many Key West fishing charters gains you access to targeting species such as sailfish, yellowtail and various types of tuna.

Gulf Shores: A Hotspot for Ocean Fishing Aficionados

Gulf Shores, located on the Alabama coast, offers access to the abundant waters of the Gulf of Mexico. With its white sandy beaches and ample fishing opportunities, the area attracts anglers from near and far. For those that are new to the area, working with top Gulf Shores fishing charters can help ensure you're headed to the right area in search of notable species such as red snapper, grouper and amberjack.

Popular Deep Sea Fishing Trips Around the World

Deep sea fishing is one of the most exciting types of fishing that gains you access to long battles at sea with pelagic species of fish that few see in person, but it also means you’re sacrificing your hard-earned time and money on a full or multi-day trip miles offshore. Below are 12 popular fishing trips that offer unmatched experiences with top-rated local deep sea fishing captains that know what it takes to give you the experience you’re looking for.

South Padre Island Deep Sea Fishing in South Padre Island

Half day destin offshore in destin, open ocean big game - 42' sea ray in miami, clearwater mixed bag trip in clearwater, 8 hour offshore trip in freeport, 4-8 hour fishing trip - 26’ c-hawk in wilmington, key west offshore action in key west, full day or half day trip in islamorada, pompano beach deep sea trip in pompano beach, 6 hour offshore - 40' key west in islamorada, tulum trophy hunt in tulum, san juan offshore - 42' egg harbour in caguas, deep sea fishing limits and regulations.

Deep sea fishing regulations and limits vary depending on the specific location, fishing grounds, and the governing authorities responsible for managing the fisheries. These regulations are crucial for maintaining sustainable fish populations, protecting vulnerable species, and ensuring a fair and equitable fishing experience for all anglers. It's important to note that specific regulations may change over time, and it's essential to consult local fishing authorities or the relevant fishery management organizations for the most up-to-date information.

Getting Prepared for Your Deep Sea Fishing Adventure

When planning a deep sea fishing adventure, having the right gear is essential for a successful and enjoyable experience. The gear you need can vary depending on the targeted species, location, and fishing techniques, but you will always need a fishing rod and reel, high-quality fishing line that match your targeted species and fishing method, lures or bait to attract your targeted species, and safety equipment such as life jackets, first-aid kits and signaling devices like flares and whistles.

When To Go Deep Sea Fishing

Deep sea fishing varies by location and season. Key West is optimal from November to April for sailfish, tuna, and mahi-mahi. Galveston deep sea fishing and Gulf Shores deep sea fishing are best in summer and fall for red snapper, king mackerel, and amberjack. San Diego offers year-round opportunities, with yellowfin and bluefin tuna in summer and fall, while dorado and yellowtail are abundant in the warmer months.

Reeling in Your Ultimate Journey Through Deep Sea Fishing

In this article, we uncovered everything you need to know before embarking on a deep sea fishing adventure. From fishing in popular destinations like Galveston, Key West, and Gulf Shores or targeting specific species like yellowtail, rockfish or albacore tuna, you should have all the information to find and book a deep sea fishing charter in the destination of your choice. At Captain Experiences, we offer access to professional deep sea fishing charters , effortless online bookings and some of the best customer service in the business.

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Salt Water Sportsman

How to Prepare for Long-Range Fishing Expeditions

  • By George Poveromo
  • July 11, 2024

Large mahi gaffed

Venturing to ­far-reaching destinations by boat provides a thrilling ­opportunity to catch more and probably larger gamefish in ­lightly pressured waters. And who doesn’t want that? It also presents the exhilarating challenge of pushing one’s vessel and ­seamanship to their limits. 

I’ve been making long-range runs aboard my outboard-­powered center-consoles for decades, whether an 80-mile run from Key West to the Dry Tortugas , 50- to 200-mile runs from South Florida to various spots in the Bahamas , or 60- to 100-mile runs to the ­tuna grounds and canyons in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast waters.

Here is a list of what I adhere to for safe and successful long-range expeditions. Ironically, the fishing aspect becomes secondary on these extended trips.

Safety Considerations

The ocean is large and unforgiving. Even with the best plans, inclement weather can quickly materialize, often many miles offshore. Safety is paramount.  

Within quick reach aboard Marc VI , my Mako 334 center-­console, I have an ACR Global Fix V5 AIS emergency position-­indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). If activated, a 406 MHz signal transmits the boat’s GPS coordinates to satellites, which, in turn, notify local search and rescue forces. The automatic identification system (AIS) feature ­simultaneously transmits an alert to local vessels equipped with AIS. (Commercial vessels are required to have it as part of maritime regs.) Between the 406 MHz and AIS broadcast signals, rescue times should be considerably shorter than in the recent past.

Inside my coffin box is a Viking Coastal ­six-person Valise life raft. In addition, the boat has two separate VHF systems, three bilge pumps, easy-to-reach fire extinguishers, two first-aid and flare kits, and a parachute anchor to keep the bow into the seas should we lose power. For emergency communication well outside cell range, I rely on a two-way satellite communicator to send and receive text messages, if necessary. Last, but certainly not least, I carry a few personal locator beacons (PLBs) with AIS alerts for crew, especially when traveling at night.

Variety of tackle on a fishing boat

Tiptop Shape

I’m amazed over what some boaters define as “top mechanical shape.” Prior to any long-range run, I have my outboards serviced, fuel filters checked, and all vital connections double-checked for tightness and any corrosion. I’ll then shake down the boat for a day, making certain no issues arise after servicing.

Backup components include jumper cables, fuel ­filters, power-steering fluid, tie-wraps in various sizes, and fuel treatments. I’ll add Star Tron when in remote regions, where fuel quality might be suspect. If there’s room, take at least one spare prop and assembly.

Monitor Your Fuel

Knowing your tank’s usable gallons and gallons-per-hour burns at various rpm is crucial when pushing the mileage boundaries of your boat. For example, my 33-footer has a 308-gallon fuel tank. To be safe, I calculate all long runs on 277 gallons (90 percent) as being usable, though there’s likely more. I’ll ­dial in my console monitor to display fuel consumption when running. With triple 400 hp Mercury Verado V-10 outboards, a fully loaded boat and a full tank of ­fuel, the burn is around 1 mpg at around 4,000 to 4,500 rpm and 45 mph. This can vary depending on sea conditions. 

The vessel gets lighter as ­fuel is burned off. This, in turn, results in better fuel economy. Given the above scenario, and with around 80 to 100 gallons remaining, we’ll see around 1.5 mpg at around 4,500 rpm and speeds around 47 to 48 mph. Again, sea conditions will influence fuel burn.

On our Bahamas runs, for example, closely monitoring fuel burns and doing the math determines if we have enough to reach our destination or if a pit stop will be required at a closer island along the route.

The same strategy determines if one’s vessel has the range to run far offshore, fish most of the day, and return to the dock—be it Northeast canyons, Gulf of Mexico canyons, or offshore oil rigs and bottomfishing structures. Always remember: Rough seas will result in a greater fuel burn, so never cut it close.

White marlin being reeled in

Forecast the Weather  

Immediate and extended weather forecasts should govern the planning of a journey. Even then, weather and unanticipated winds from ­local storms can arise. Always know the weather projected days out to avoid getting caught offshore or stuck for another day or two at an ­island destination.

A royal flush is what we refer to as having perfect weather over the entire trip. However, on multiday outings, the piper often gets paid (via inclement weather) on at least one leg, be it the crossing over, one or two days at the destination, or during the run back home. Weather forecasters do miss a good bit. Consult NOAA marine forecasts and local weather stations. SiriusXM Marine Weather is good for showing wind direction and velocities, as well as precipitation and thunderstorms. 

My radar’s weather mode continues to prove valuable in monitoring faraway cells and their movements, as well as the lighter areas when punching through a rain squall ­becomes necessary.

Time to Fish

With safety, fuel capacity, range and engine dependability accounted for, it’s time to focus on the target species. Be prepared for just about anything. Bring as many outfits as the boat can accommodate, as well as ample terminal gear including leaders, plenty of hook styles and sizes, trolling lures and natural baits.

In the Bahamas, our boat becomes a floating ­tackle center. On board you will find artificial and natural trolling baits, live baits and even chum. Packed away are offshore teasers and daisy chains. In addition to trolling outfits, we’re ready with several spinners rigged for pitch-baiting. I am prepped for anything, from busting tuna and ­mahi under birds to bottomfish, cobia and permit. Don’t regret leaving something at home.

Read Next: Staff Picks: Best Fishing Expeditions

Red grouper on the boat

Backup Plans 

Long-range success is often the result of being able to switch from a primary quest to a backup one—hence the tackle overload. The latest example of this occurred for us last spring at Blue Marlin Cove in West End, Bahamas. Our goal was to live-bait for yellowfin ­tuna in Northwest Providence Channel. However, after losing six tuna to sharks and a stiffening afternoon breeze, we opted to troll out front of the resort the following day. Yet winds kept building and cut that day short.

Faced with a 25-knot easterly breeze on our third and final day, we drifted over the reefs close to and in the lee of the island. Fortunately, we had all the bottom outfits, terminal gear and baits to catch plenty of muttons, yellowtails and grouper. 

Ultimately, having a solid Plan B—and Plan C—and the gear to support these alternatives made the trip a success.

The Broom Crew 

Long-range fishing excursions are labor-intensive, given the preparation of the boat, ­tackle and bait. Don’t forget the fish cleaning and packing. Therefore, don’t be so quick to release your buddies upon the return home. Of course, there’s offloading and washing all the tackle. But also be sure to provide the soft and hard brushes, mitts, sponges and boat cleaner. 

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Reel in the big one with the 10 best fishing charters

USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards logo

Best Fishing Charter (2024) June 5, 2024

Whether you’re looking to polish your angling skills on calm inshore waters or head offshore in search of your next big catch, booking a fishing charter is a swell idea. And these 10 fishing charters and outfitters — selected by an expert panel and voted by readers as the best in the U.S. and U.S. territories — are sure to increase your chances of success. 

Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing

No. 10: Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing - Stevensville, Maryland

Operating on a seven-day schedule, it's easy to book a charter with Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing along the Chesapeake Bay. Located near Annapolis, D.C., and Baltimore, this company offers trips that include all of your reels, bait, tackle, rods, fishing licenses, and, of course, one of the boats: "Net Profits," "Kathy C," "Vagabond," and "Jessie Girl."

Cowboy Charters

No. 9: Cowboy Charters - Freeport, Texas

With its fusion of traditional fishing and Southern hospitality, Cowboy Charters offers an unforgettable angling experience unlike any other in Freeport, Texas. All of their captains are professional fishermen and charters range from five to 12 hours of offshore or deep-sea fishing.

Backwater Tarpon Fishing Charters

No. 8: Backwater Tarpon Fishing Charters - San Juan, Puerto Rico

With expert guides and top-notch equipment, experience angling in the serene coastal regions of San Juan with Backwater Tarpon Fishing Charters . No matter if you're a beginner or a seasoned angler, this fishing charter promises to be an exhilarating trip.

Reel Deal Fishing Charters

No. 7: Reel Deal Fishing Charters - Truro, Massachusetts

Cape Cod serves as one of the hottest summer vacation spots in the Bay State, and for those wishing to spend their day searching for native New England sea life, Reel Deal Fishing Charters is a top choice. Fish like flounder and striped bass can be found in abundance across the area.

Lady Luck Adventures

No. 6: Lady Luck Adventures - Shalimar, Florida

If you're looking to reel in prized catches like grouper or snapper, Lady Luck Adventures is a great option on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Set out from Destin or Okaloosa Island to spend an exhilarating day on the open sea — no matter your skill level — with experienced captains who provide unforgettable experiences.

Castillo Tours

No. 5: Castillo Tours - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Anglers in San Juan, Puerto Rico, can book a half-day or full-day deep-sea fishing charter or a half-day light tackle fishing charter with Castillo Tours . Fishing in Blue Marlin Alley on a deep-sea charter, guests will have bait, rods, reels, and fishing licenses included, as well as dry snacks, soda, water, and a six-pack of beer.

Fishbucket Sportfishing

No. 4: Fishbucket Sportfishing - Boston, Massachusetts

Set sail from Suffolk County on an excursion with Fishbucket Sportfishing , a Bay State charter that operates on the 32-foot Fishbucket in search of Atlantic wildlife. For novice fishers, a jaunt along Boston Harbor provides ample insight into the sport, while more experienced anglers can go all-in on an offshore trip to search for massive tuna and even sharks.

MobSquad Fishing

No. 3: MobSquad Fishing - Delaware and Maryland

For a truly unique experience, MobSquad Fishing allows guests to forgo the traditional rod and reel in favor of a bow and arrow, with hauls ranging from classic saltwater fish to massive rays. In addition to bowfishing, the company also offers offshore fishing and inshore bottom fishing.

FishMonster Charters

No. 2: FishMonster Charters - Key West, Florida

These premium charters in the Lower Keys and Key West offer guests an array of options. From offshore and wreck to reef, tarpon, and shark sport fishing, enjoy the ultimate angling experience when you set out with FishMonster Charters .

Hubbard's Marina

No. 1: Hubbard's Marina - Madeira Beach, Florida

In business since 1928, Hubbard's Marina is one of the top authorities for water-based recreation along Florida's Gulf Coast. Fishing trips range from half-day jaunts to 44-hour marathon excursions under the glow of the full moon. Beyond the realm of the reel, guests can also take part in sunset cruises, dolphin tours, and even camping trips on stunning Shell Key.

About 10Best Readers' Choice Awards

Nominees are submitted by a panel of experts. 10Best editors narrow the field to select the final set of nominees for the Readers’ Choice Awards. Readers can vote once per category, per day. For any questions or comments, please read the FAQ or email USA TODAY 10Best .

The Experts

Angelica talan.

Angelica Talan

Angelica Talan is the founder & editor of two...   Read More

Angelica Talan is the founder & editor of two popular Washington, D.C. based blogs,  Angelica In The City  and  Clarendon Moms . She has written articles for Arlington Magazine, DUN magazine and has been featured on several Washington, D.C. based television news channels to share family travel tips. A passionate fly fishing enthusiast, Angelica is one of the current brand ambassadors for  and a brand ambassador for the Trout Routes an app dedicated to making fly fishing more accessible and a brand ambassador for Fishewear, a women’s line of fly fishing clothing and accessories based out of Alaska. Angelica has served over three years as the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Liason for United Women On The Fly and is excited to continue to connect with others in the great outdoors and to be a source of positive inspiration for those interested in learning to fly fish. You can connect with her on  Instagram ,  TikTok  and  X . 

Angelica Talan

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak

‘Chez’ Chesak is Executive Director of the Outdoor...   Read More

‘Chez’ Chesak is Executive Director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, an adventure travel writer, board member of the Society of American Travel Writers and 22-year veteran of the outdoor and travel industries. While he’s lived all over the U.S. and traveled to more than 30 countries, he has the most fun when he’s exploring with his wife Sally and two daughters. An avid outdoors person, he’s happiest on a trail, on skis, or nestled into a sleeping bag. Learn more about him and his work at .  

Chez Chesak

Jamie Davis Smith

Jamie Davis Smith

Jamie is an attorney, writer and photographer. She...   Read More

Jamie is an attorney, writer and photographer. She was born with deeply ingrained wanderlust and has visited 45 countries and counting. She often brings her children along for the adventure and is passing her love of travel on to the next generation. Jamie has written for   Insider,   Fodor's Travel ,   Yahoo ,  the Huffington Post , the  Washington Post,   Viator  and  Reviewed  among many other publications. Jamie is from Philadelphia and now lives in Washington, DC, where she takes advantage of everything the region has to offer.    Jamie can be reached at  [email protected]  and can be found on  Twitter ,  Instagram  and  TikTok .

Jamie Davis Smith

Melanie Reffes

Melanie Reffes

Melanie is an island girl at heart . Born in...   Read More

Melanie is an island girl at heart . Born in Manhattan, she now lives on the sunny island of Montreal and covers  the Caribbean for a variety of publications  including  USA TODAY 10Best, and  A journalist with a boatload of writer awards under her belt, Melanie's affection for the Caribbean started  young when her family vacationed in Puerto Rico.   An avid fan of spicy food,   Melanie enjoys the diversity of Montreal - especially during the warmer months -when she's not en route to the Caribbean. She  holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto. 

Melanie Reffes

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original,...   Read More

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original, unbiased and experiential travel coverage of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

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How to Travel with Freshly Caught Fish

The dream is to travel to the Louisiana coast, go on a charter fishing trip, and spend a day or three catching amazing sporting fish. You’ve figured out how to get there, and planned everything out. However, there’s still the matter of how you’re going to get your catch home—especially if you’re flying or driving a distance.

This is the part that can overwhelm people—traveling with a fresh catch. How do you transition from reeling in a live fish on the end of your line to a tasty fillet sizzling on your grill at home? We’re breaking it into steps so that you’ll know exactly what you need to do to travel with your freshly caught fish.

Icing and Cleaning the Catch: Catching the fish, reeling it in and measuring it are all exciting moments. However, as soon as the fish becomes a keeper, the objective becomes doing everything possible to keep it fresh and prevent any spoilage.

If you can’t clean the fish immediately, it needs to be placed on ice in an airtight cooler until you can. The moment the fish is no longer alive, bacteria in the circulatory system and digestive tract can multiply, and enzymatic actions in the muscle can change the meat's flavor. Keeping the fish cold in ice preserves your catch and its natural flavor and texture.

Mostcaptains offer cleaning the catch as either a complimentary service or a convenience available for an additional fee. Some may teach you how to do it yourself. Your captain may want to wait to clean, fillet and bag the catch until you return to the dock or may choose to do it onboard.

Ultimately, at the end of the process, you should have cleaned fillets neatly wrapped in plastic and sealed in plastic bags. The fish must still be kept cold, and—depending on your mode of transportation—you have your choice of regular ice, ice packs or dry ice.

Note that if you’re flying home, airport security rules may require that fillets retain their skin or even the head for species identification purposes.

Items you may need include a clean cooler that’s airtight, ice, a sharp fillet knife, plastic wrap to wrap fillets, sealable plastic bags to hold wrapped fillets, clean water for rinsing, paper towels for blotting fillets and a clean workspace.

Packaging the Catch for Car Travel: The general rule is that fresh fish should be cooked and eaten within two days. If such a deadline might be challenging to meet, freezing the fillets and keeping them on dry ice will give you the time you need for transport and allow you to cook them at a later date.

Dry ice will allow you to flash freeze your catch with fewer worries about freezer burn and frost. Since it’s actually just frozen carbon dioxide, it sublimates as it melts into vapor. It slowly goes from a minus 110-degree solid to a gas. You don’t have to worry about watery melt that can ruin fish’s flavor and texture, but you do need to allow a vent for gas to escape both from the cooler and from your car.

As a general rule, a standard 10-pound block is a 10-inch square tile 2 inches thick. While a single block in a cooler will usually last 24 hours, using multiple blocks in a cooler may give you up to three days. Dry ice is usually available in smaller bricks also—5 pounds or even just 1 pound.

To set up your cooler, simply place the dry ice in the bottom. Dry ice is heavy—heavier than regular ice. Then, arrange a layer of newspaper or foil over the dry ice to prevent fish from coming into direct contact with it. The fish go on top and will freeze rapidly to become “granite hard.” Some experts recommend wrapping trophy fish, for example, in a towel for added protection. Filling extra space on top with something light like crumpled newspaper, for example, will help to further insulate your cooler and make the dry ice last.

Dry ice typically comes bagged or wrapped in plastic. However, you’ll need insulated gloves to be able to handle it. Touching dry ice without gloves can result in burns and frostbite, and you should never try to eat or swallow dry ice.

Items you may need include a large cooler, gel ice packs, dry ice blocks or bricks, insulated gloves, and newspaper or foil.

Packaging the Catch for Air Travel:  Traveling with a fresh catch by air is a little more complicated than traveling by car. You’re still doing many of the same things and have the same concerns, but your fish must pass TSA—Transportation Security Administration—approval to travel. In short, if the fish isn’t packaged properly, TSA will confiscate it. The TSA website includes guidelines for both “fresh meat and seafood” and “frozen food.”

Seafood is permitted in both carry-on and checked bags.

If the fish is packed in ice in a container or cooler, the ice or ice packs must be completely frozen when brought through screening.

If ice packs are partially melted or if containers have any meltwater in the bottom, TSA will not allow the fish to be taken on board.

You can pack frozen perishables in dry ice in both carry-on and checked bags.

The FAA allows up to 5 pounds of dry ice as long as it is properly packaged, vented and marked.

Specific airlines may have additional requirements and restrictions regarding cooler sizes, allowed weights or composition—hard sides versus soft sides versus polystyrene, for example—depending on whether the fish will be in a carry-on or checked.

You’ll want to ensure that fillets are packaged and packed neatly so that they’ll be easy to count, identify and inspect. Do not tape carry-ons closed prior to TSA inspection.

Items you may need include a cooler that complies with your airline’s rules, dry ice, frozen gel packs, newspaper, labels and duct tape.

Third-Party Processing and Shipping: If you prefer that your catch be processed, packaged and shipped to you, your captain may be able to help you make arrangements for that as well. Keep in mind, however, that third-party processing and shipping services—while convenient—usually have their own guidelines, involve additional expenses and fees, and usually require coordination in advance. Plus, since the package’s contents are perishable, someone must be available at the destination address to receive the delivery.

A fishing trip should be not only fun but also respectful of the natural resources taken. Cleaning, packaging and bringing your catch home so that you can prepare and eat it later are all parts of the sporting experience. If you’d like more fishing insights—or you’re ready to find a charter captain who knows how to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime fishing trip off of the Louisiana coast—reach out to LCBA at , and let us help you start planning your trip.

References: lactic acid process in dead fish keeping/cleaning

Dry Ice TSA Rules for fresh frozen fish chat regarding what people have done processing and shipping example


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Sport Fishing

The Secret Stash

  • By Fred Garth
  • July 11, 2024

Trout fly fishing in Spain

I have never killed a man for stealing my secret fishing spot, but I know a guy who might have.

We’ve all been subjected to the absurd question, “So, where’d you catch all those fish?” This should always be met with an equally ridiculous and sarcastic answer, such as “In the water,” “From my boat,” or “It’s none of your darn business.”

We protect what we love. Our significant other, our children, our pets, our boats, and our coveted honey holes. We hold these truths to be self-evident. I tell you all of this because I’ve never seen such a display of secrecy as when I traveled to Spain to dabble in the rivers and streams of the Pyrenees mountains . The operator, who discovered I was writing a fishing article, made me swear an oath of silence. My respect and intrigue grew immediately. All I can legally say is that I was somewhere in Spain, and also near France.

The whole trip materialized because of my dear wife. Just another reason to love her. One day, out of the blue, she asked me if I wanted to walk 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail . That is not a misprint. It’s 500 miles of walking. I made a mental note to check her antidepressant prescription.

After three seconds of careful thought I said. “You know I’d love to do that with you, but my right knee still hurts from that accident at the corn hole tournament last year.”

“I figured you’d say something like that,” she replied, with a crooked smile. “That’s why I asked our daughter. She said yes.”

Spanish Pyrenees fly fishing

When I got the chance, I snuck into the bathroom with my computer and googled “fly fishing in the Pyrenees.” If she was going to walk for 36 days — and burn a hole in the credit card on wine, hotels, and myriad varieties of ham and queso — I was going fishing for at least a week. Like many of you, I had no idea what kind of fishing the Spanish mountains offered but I knew that the Pyrenees were serious montañas — a 270-mile range of steep rocky terrain with hellacious rivers and peaks breaking 11,000 feet. Google kept serving up a company called Salvelinus , so I ran through some YouTube videos. I noticed that none of them revealed even the slightest hint of the fishing locations, except they were in Spain, and also near France.

I reached out to the owner, a meticulous and affable Spaniard named Ivan Tarin . He invited me to come along as long as I signed his non-disclosure agreement. “Seriously?” I asked. “Deadly serious,” he replied. I’ve learned never to cross dudes named Ivan.

Fishing in Spain for Barbel

Barbel catch on fly rod

My wife and daughter blasted off to trek over the rivers and through the woods and across rugged mountains and hot plateaus for six weeks of grueling walking (average 15 miles per day), while I landed in Ivan’s plush lodge in a picturesque medieval town for fishing. I must also mention the drinking wine, getting massages, doing spas, and eating some of the most orgasmic cuisine I’ve ever tasted. 

What I can reveal is that Ivan and his team of expert fishing guides have spent 24 years scouting more than 1,500 miles of rivers in eight mountain valleys. As a result, they’ve created a master compendium of off-the-beaten-path fishy havens. As I mentioned, these places are somewhere in Spain. Oh, and also near France.

As fortune would have it, I arrived in late May. This was an opportune time to begin the Camino trek and also barbel spawning season. If you don’t know what a barbel is (I didn’t either), it’s in the bonefish family and looks like the offspring of a carp, bonefish and mullet. The fish is strong and rips out line like a bonefish — it will take a dry fly if properly presented.

“You have to slap it on the head,” Ivan told me. “Huh?” “Like this.”

Ivan raised the rod tip straight up to noon, held it for a beat, then whipped it down to nine as he gave the line a short, rapid strip. Sure enough, the beetle fly slapped the water with a splash and got the barbel’s attention without scaring them. Spooking them was indeed possible but the method of whacking the water with the fly just inches in front of their nose worked like magic. In a few hours I caught a half dozen angry barbel in the 4- to 7-pound range.

Exploring the Mountains for Mediterranean Trout

Catch and release Mediterranean trout

The next day, Ivan introduced me to guide extraordinaire Pierre Ancelin, who lives in Spain in a house near France. Pierre took me 90 minutes by car into the high mountains for native Mediterranean trout. Other than the thousand-year-old medieval ruins scattered about, I’d have thought we were in Colorado. The original plan was to fish a river where 6-pounders sneak about, but a late-May snow storm had the water raging. I could tell that Pierre envisioned this hapless journalist plummeting down the rocky rapids and wisely took me to a tamer river.

Naturally, I wanted to tangle with beasts, but I heeded Pierre’s good judgment. In a few hours, we caught about 25 trout in the 6- to 14-inch range. Overall success, especially when Pierre prepared a proper Michelin Star lunch of chickpeas, braised turkey, cheeses, bread and red wine.

After a few days of fishing until 9 p.m., followed by mouthwatering cuisine at Juan Antonio’s Restaurant, and then getting to bed after midnight, I left the mountains behind to catch up to my family on the pilgrim trail. The fabulous high-speed luxury trains transported me 600 miles in less than seven hours. That was more than enough time to hang out in the cafeteria car, drink more wine, and wonder why Amtrak is so freaking pitiful. Face it, America is not better at everything, including protecting our favorite fishing holes.

So, if you’re looking for a truly unique angling journey and rivers of such beauty that they invoke fairy tales, all you have to do is travel to Spain, somewhere near France.

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Kayak Guru

Ultimate Guide To Fishing

Welcome, fellow angler!

Perhaps you’re new to fishing and you want to know how to catch fish? 

Or maybe you’ve been around the block a few times and you’re looking for a few tips to boost your success rate on the water?

Either way, we are here to help guide you through the ins and outs of this popular pastime and give you some renewed confidence when you next cast your line into your favorite fishing spot.

Table of Contents

Why Is Fishing So Popular?

Every year millions of Americans go fishing, whether it’s with their families, friends or on their own, with 2015 seeing  over 45 million people  going fishing in the United States. So what makes it so appealing?

When you’re fishing you’re outside in natural surroundings, and being closer to nature is known to help reduce stress and increase happiness. You don’t even have to be in the wilderness for nature to have this effect. You will still gain the benefits from nature by sitting beside a river or lake in an urban environment.

Being close to water has long been considered relaxing and  studies have shown  that being in close proximity to water can significantly improve your mood and lower stress, as well as having a positive effect on those with mental health problems.

Consider the fact that people spend millions of dollars on beachside and waterfront properties all over the world. When you’re fishing, you’re often as close to the water as you can get without swimming in it, so you’re gaining that much desired waterfront spot but with the benefit of being outside.


The popularity of fishing could be down to the fact that almost anyone can go fishing. It’s not a sport that necessarily requires a lot of equipment, or a lot of expensive gear, with the average US household spending just $33.64 on fishing and hunting gear in a whole year, so it’s an affordable activity that just about anyone can get involved in.

Beginners can get involved  without boats or fancy  gadgets , as long as you’ve got a suitable rod, reel, line and some bait. You also don’t necessarily need a lot of technique at first, so long as you’re able to cast your line out, with a bit of luck you might get a bite on your bait, but even if you don’t, you’re still out there enjoying yourself.

No matter where you are in the USA, chances are there will be a public area for fishing not too far away. You will need to make sure you have a fishing license before you start but these can be obtained from your state government.

Your state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, or equivalent, will also be able to guide you to local fishing lakes and rivers, and you’ll often find that many of them are managed and stocked by the state.

Improved Health

Fishing is known to improve both your physical and mental health. First of all, it gets you out in the fresh air, so you’re not cooped up inside, which is known to improve your breathing and lower your blood pressure.

But as well as that, it is also known to be a good form of exercise, as it’s a low impact activity that will likely require you to walk or paddle some sort of distance to get to the best fishing spot.

Being in the outdoors will also increase the vitamin D levels in your body, meaning you’re better able to absorb calcium for stronger bones and teeth. This has also been known to  reduce the risk of heart disease , cancer, strokes and diabetes.

Top Fishing Tips – Essential Fishing Gear

  • Valid fishing license
  • Fishing line
  • Bait (or lure)


  • Polarized sunglasses –  to protect your eyes and help spot potential catch
  • Pliers –  for crimping and cutting lines, as well as removing hooks
  • Fishing backpack or vest –  for on-body storage
  • Kayak –  for fishing in otherwise awkward spots
  • Fish finder –  help source fish by attaching to your boat
  • GPS –  for navigation
  • Tackle box –  for storing the smaller gear!

We’ll get onto the little accessories in a moment. But first….

Before you can start fishing, you will likely  need a license or permit , that can usually be purchased online.

Each state in the US issues its own licenses through its state wildlife department. You can choose different licenses for your needs, such as for saltwater or freshwater, or both. You can also add hunting rights to your license if you want to.

Certain people may not require a license to fish in some states, such as children, some military personnel, as well as some people with severe disabilities, but you should check with your local state department to check with their individual laws. 

Note that it is possible to  get a fishing lisense at Walmart .

Rods & Reels (Main Types)

If you’re just starting out, it’s not going to matter too much about how expensive your equipment is. You will want a rod that is light enough for you to cast and not too long or too short; one that’s around the same height as you should be sufficient.

Choosing a reel to go with your rod may seem like a difficult task if you’re a beginner but probably the  easiest reel to work with is a spinning reel . While they may not always be as accurate as, say, a baitcasting reel, they don’t tend to tangle up the line as much, making it ideal for beginners.

> How to set up a fishing rod & reel

To make life easier for us all, here’s a list of the common rod/reel types that most fishing folk use…

Suitable for:  Light lures, short casting, beginners!

A spinning rod and reel is suitable for fishing with lighter lures and lighter line. Spinning gear can be used for either freshwater or saltwater fishing, depending on the limitations of your particular rod and reel. They can be easy to use for beginners and can be ideal for targeting small to medium fish, such as bass or trout.

They can be used with a range of lures and techniques, including  ice fishing , finesse fishing and various other tactics. The rods and reels both come in a variety of sizes, so you can match the power of the rod and reel to the style of fishing that you want to do, for example a short,  ultralight rod  and a light reel  for finesse fishing .

To spool a spinning reel, make sure your line spool is facing up and coming off in the same direction that it’s going on your reel spool. Once you’ve tied a knot in the end of the line after looping it around your reel spool, you can begin to wind the reel handle to transfer the line from the line spool onto your reel, keeping the line tight as you turn the handle.

> Rated lines for spinning reels

Suitable for:  Heavy lures, long casting

Baitcasting rods and reels can be effective when it comes to casting longer distances and can be useful in open water conditions. They can also be ideal for using with heavier lures because they can support heavier line. Baitcasting rods often tend to be longer in length, which can help for long casting.

However, they can take a little bit of getting used to because of the casting technique, which can sometimes cause your line to birds nest, when the line continues to spool out after its cast. But once you get the hang of using a baitcaster they can let you cast more accurately than spinning gear, for instance.

Thread the end of the line through the guide on your rod and then through the guide on the reel before tying it around the spool. You can then reel the line onto the spool by winding the reel handle slowly while keeping a finger on the line at your rod to keep it tight.

Suitable for:  Ultra light lures, panfish

Spincasting gear is different to spinning gear but, like spinning gear it can also be easy to use and easy to learn with. Spincasting rods and reels are designed to be used with very light lures and light line. The reels have a lower line capacity than some other types of reels, which means they are probably not as suited to long distance casting.

They can be used to fish for small fish, such as panfish, but they may not be great for larger species or advanced fishing techniques.

First, take the cap off the top and put the end of the line through the first guide on your rod and feed it through the top of the reel cap. Tie a simple knot in the end of the line and wind it around the reel before tying another knot to tighten it against the reel.

You can then wind the line on after replacing the cap, keeping the line tight.

Suitable for:  Fly fishing, trout, salmon, bass

Fly rods and reels can be a little different because they are designed for ultra light fly lures and unlike other types of rods and reels, the line that is used is weighted so that you can propel your fly when you cast. This is because the fly has very little weight to propel itself.

> Which fly rod to pick?

Fly fishing usually requires different casting techniques and the rods can be much longer than standard spinning rods to allow for the casts. Your rod, reel and line should ideally be rated for the same weight so that performance is not negatively affected. The lighter weights are usually for smaller fish, with the heavier weights being more suitable for larger fish.

To spool a fly reel you should wind the backing line around the reel first, about 100 yards but this will vary with each reel. This is then followed by the fly line and the leader. You may find it easier to load it in reverse to know how much backing you’ll need before taking it all off and spooling with the backing first.

Suitable for:  Saltwater fishing, long casting

Surf rods and reels are designed for fishing from the beach, so the rods will tend to be long to allow for casting longer distances. You may find that you need to learn a different casting technique in order to cast with surf gear.

Surf gear should be corrosion resistant because of the harsher saltwater conditions where you will be fishing. Surf rods and reels are generally meant to handle larger fish and can be used with heavier live baits, but, as with most gear, you can also use artificial lures.

However, you may need to opt for a faster action surf rod if you plan to use lighter artificial lures, so that you can cast them a greater distance.

> In-depth guide to surf reels

Surf reels will often be spinning reels designed for saltwater fishing and should be spooled in the same way as a spinning reel.

Suitable for:  Trolling  (and pretty much only trolling!)

Trolling rods reels are designed for trolling in either freshwater or saltwater and they are not really designed for casting. This means it has less versatility than some of the other reels, as it can only really be used for the one technique. It can hold more line and can let you cover more water with your lures and may be better suited to trolling for larger freshwater fish than for smaller fish.

>  The best trolling motors for kayaks 

Also called line counter reels, these reels can also let you see how much of your line you have out in the water, which can be helpful when you’re trolling at various depths.

>  Best batteries for kayak trolling motors

These can be spooled by turning the reel handle to wind the line off of the line spool and onto the reel spool. However, these reels also need to be calibrated in order for the line counter to work effectively.

Lines And Baits

The type of lines and bait you’ll need will depend on the type of fish you plan to catch, as well as where you plan to catch them. Different fish will eat different food, depending on their environment, such as freshwater or saltwater habitats.

Your local bait shops will be able to give you advice on the type of live bait that’s best for the fish you’re hoping to catch, and they’ll also be able to offer you advice on which bait is proving recently successful for particular areas, seasons or species.

You can catch your own live bait, such as minnows, if you’re hoping to fish for freshwater fish. Or you can collect worms or insects and attach them to your hook as live bait. For  saltwater  fishing,  you might prefer  shrimp or other shellfish.

Artificial lures  are also available in fishing outfitters and bait shops, which you might find preferable if you’re just starting out, as you’ll be able to reuse the bait again and again.  More on lures below.

Types Of Lines

There are generally three main types of line that you will come across, although there are different types that have special uses, such as fly line. The three types are monofilament, fluorocarbon and braided. Each one has its benefits and disadvantages.

  • Monofilament  line is probably the most frequently used because of its versatility and affordability. It is abrasion resistant and can be used for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, but it does have more memory than some other types of line.
  • Fluorocarbon  line can be a  good choice  for fishing in very clear conditions because it is almost invisible underwater, so fish may not see it.
  • Braided  line has a higher strength to diameter ratio than monofilament and has less memory, which can make it more sensitive to bites. But it can be more visible underwater.

Using a leader with your fishing line can let you have the best of both worlds. They can let you combine the strengths of one type of line with another, for example an invisible fluorocarbon leader on a braided line.

This means you can attach your lure to the leader so that the fish won’t see the line but have the strength of the braided line for reeling the fish in.

A sinker is essentially a weight that can help you get your lure down to the depths where the fish are, whether the fish are suspended or on the bottom.

This can be useful if you have a light lure or if you’re fishing in current.

Types Of Lures

There are various types of lures, including:

  • Topwater lures
  • Deep diving lures
  • Spinnerbaits

Each type of lure will excel in a particular type of conditions , and there are others that can work well in a range of conditions, such as soft plastics or jigs.

You’ll notice that lines will often have  a pound test strength , which is basically  how much weight the line can handle under pressure before it breaks . Braided line will generally have a higher pound test rate than the equivalent diameter of monofilament.

The higher the pound test strength, the stronger the line will tend to be . But there are  general recommendations for types of species , so it may not be wise to choose a super heavy line if you’re fishing for small fish, or vice versa.

For trout or panfish, you’ll generally want a lighter pound test strength, such as around 2 to 4 pounds of monofilament. But for bass, you may want to opt for something around the 6 to 12 pound range.

You will also notice that your rod and reel will be recommended for use with a particular weight of line, so you should stick to the limitations of your gear to maintain performance.

Remember that you will likely be able to fit more braided line on your reel than the comparable monofilament because of its narrower diameter. However, your reel will often indicate the maximum capacity of both monofilament and braided line. 

Accessories  (apparel and extras)

There are some accessories that you might find are essential for a fishing trip. One important thing to have is some sort of  vest  or piece of clothing that has pockets or pouches, so that you can keep your spare lines, hooks etc. handy.

If you’re fishing in daylight, having a  good pair of sunglasses  is vital, as this will reduce the glare on the water, as well as protect your eyes from harmful UV light. And  if it’s raining , you’ll need plenty of waterproofs.

You may also find that you need a  good set of fishing pliers  to help you remove hooks by crushing the barb, help you cut line, tighten knots, or anything else you might come across.

Once you start getting more into the sport and want to get deeper into the action, than fishing from the shore or dock, you might find yourself wanting other accessories, such as  waders   (or  dedicated fishing shoes ), a  float tube ,  fishing kayak , or even some  electronic gadgets  to improve your catch rate.

And of course, you’ll want to think of a  bag  to carry your  tackle box  in. 

When Is The Best Time To Fish  (in each season) ?

The best  time to fish  will mostly depend on the type of fish you’re hoping to catch and what season it is. But generally there are certain things to keep in mind no matter what you’re fishing for.

The best times to fish during the spring are in the late afternoon and early evening to dusk. During spring mornings the air and water will likely still be a little too cool for bugs to flying and fish to be feeding, so it’s better to wait till the sun has had a chance to warm the water during the day before you head out.

This is when the waters will be warmer and there will be plenty of bugs around, so during the early mornings, just before the sun comes up, can be a great time to catch fish. Sunset can be just as lucrative, with the fish coming out of the cooler, deeper waters into the shallows to feed, avoiding the hottest part of the day.

A lot like spring, the mornings and early afternoons can be a tricky time to catch fish because of the cooler autumnal weather. But if you wait till the sun has a chance to heat the water a little, then late afternoons and early evenings could see more fish biting.

You may find that fish are biting more at this time as they try to fatten up in advance of winter.

With less bugs around and water temperatures much colder, fishing in the winter may not always be successful, as the fish are a lot less active in order to preserve energy. However, if you’re ice fishing, you may have more luck, especially if you head out when the  moon  is rising or setting.

What About Best Times Of Day To Fish?

Dusk and dawn can be ideal times to fish at most times of the year , but especially in the warmer months, as this is when fish will often come closer to the surface to feed on insects and larger fish will follow to feed on the baitfish.

On cloudy days, and in winter, the middle of the day can be a great time to fish.

Night fishing can also be a good tactic  to try and can be useful in the summer when fish may shy away from activity during the day. Nighttime can be a time when some fish, such as bass, will take advantage of the cooler temperatures and quieter water.

Areas where there is some artificial light can be good, such as boat docks, as this can often attract bugs which can attract baitfish and subsequently bass.

Popular Catches

Freshwater fishing is by far the most popular type of fishing in the USA, with 35.8 million anglers in 2016, of which 27.5 million were freshwater anglers compared to 8.3 million saltwater anglers. So, it’s no surprise that the most popular fish to catch are freshwater species. 

Bass is the most popular  fish to catch  in the USA, which is likely because it can be found everywhere across the entire continental US, as well as in Hawaii.

They can be caught using a range of different baits and techniques but they may also be able to avoid a lure if they think they’ve seen it before.

Crappie are another popular catch  because of their distribution across North America.

They are often easy to catch for beginners and can be found in freshwater where there is lots of vegetation.

Panfish are the third most popular type of game fish caught in the USA.

One of the most popular species of panfish to catch is a bluegill, as they can be caught in open water and near shorelines and sandbars, using a variety of different fishing methods and baits.

Another popular fish is the catfish, which can grow pretty large and is very popular in Southern cooking recipes.

They can be easy to catch with the right bait, which can be anything from crayfish, minnows and insects to hot dogs and chicken liver.

Another popular fish to catch in the USA, trout can be found in lakes and rivers and can often be caught using night crawlers, crayfish and minnows as bait.

Trout is also a popular species to eat, being a member of the same family of fish as salmon.

How To Catch A Fish (And Unhook)

Knots 101: know your knots.

In order to catch anything you’re going to need to know the best way to attach your hook to your fishing line, and to do that you’ll need to know about knots.

Here’s the biggies…

Palomar Knot

  • Hooks suitable for:  Most hooks
  • Best time to use:  Tying hooks to line

A palomar knot can be one of the most useful knots to know, as it can be one of the strongest. It can be used with all types of fishing line but may be better used with braided line.

It is probably most often used to tie line to a hook but can also be used in fly fishing to tie a fly onto a leader or tippet.

Improved Clinch Knot

  • Best time to use:  Tying hooks, swivels, or lures to line

The improved clinch knot can be another useful knot to learn because of its versatility. It can be a very strong knot and can be ideal for fighting fish. However, because it can be a small, tight knot, it may not be the best choice if you’re using particularly heavy line.

It can be a good choice to use for tying line onto a hook or for attaching artificial lures

Double Surgeon’s Knot

  • Hooks suitable for:  N/A
  • Best time to use:  Tying leader to line

The double surgeon’s knot is generally not for tying line to hooks. It can be more useful for tying together different pieces of line. This can be in the case of attaching a leader to a fishing line, or attaching a tippet for fly fishing.

It can be particularly good for tying together two lines that are different diameters

A blood knot, like the double surgeon’s knot, can be a good and easy knot to learn. While it may not be for tying hooks to fishing line, it can be a good option for tying two pieces of line together, such as to attach a leader.

However, the blood knot may be best suited for tying line together that is the same diameter. For two lines that are not the same diameter, you may be better using the double surgeon’s knot.

  • Best time to use:  Tying line to leaders and hooks

The uni knot is a versatile knot that can also be extremely strong. Because of its strength it can be a good knot to use with fighting fish and can be a good option for saltwater angling.

Can be used to tie your line onto your hook but can also be used as a double uni knot to tie two pieces of line together, in the case of attaching a leader.

Knots – Attaching A Hook

For attaching your line to your hook, you may find it better to use an improved clinch knot.

To do this , thread the line through the eye of the hook and, as you pull it back towards itself, wind it around the rest of the line 5 or 6 times.

Next, take end of the line back towards the hook and thread it through the loop closest to the hook’s eye. You’ll see there’s now a larger loop that’s appeared, so thread the end through that large loop. Now, pull both ends of the line to tighten into a secure knot.

Knots – Attaching Bait

One of the most common types of bait is worms, because it can be used in different types of fishing. To attach a worm to a hook, simply pierce the hook through its body several times so that the hook is mostly covered.

For attaching minnows, you can either put the hook under its jaw and through the top, if you’re dragging it behind you. Or you can put the hook through the fish’s back, either in front of the dorsal fin or near the tail, as long as you avoid its spine.

Attaching Weights & Bobbers

Having weights and bobbers on your line can be a good idea in moving water, as it should help keep your bait at the correct depth for catching fish. How the weight attaches to your line will depend on which type you choose, with some slotting over your line and others requiring to be tied on.

A bobber can be attached to your line through its own hook eyes, allowing you to set the depth of your bait, with the weight holding it in place.

How To Cast…

Spinning reel.

If you’re just starting out, chances are you’ll be using a spinning reel, as these are widely considered to be easier to use than baitcasters. To cast with a spinning reel you should first open the bail to allow your line to be able to feed out, while keeping your index finger on the line as you’re holding the rod.

As you cast, on the power part of your casting technique, release your finger from the line to let it feed out. This will let your bait travel as far as the strength of your cast. As the bait hits the water, you can then close the bail to protect it and have it ready for reeling in your catch.

Video: How To Cast A Spinning Reel/Rod


If you’ve ever tried to fish with a baitcasting reel you’ll know that it’s not always easy. To avoid having a tangled mess of line to deal with, the first thing to do when you’re learning is turn the dial at the side to max, which will slow the speed at which the line is released from the spool.

As you cast, you release the button, allowing the spool to release the line. But the important thing to remember is as your bait starts to descend into the water, slowly put your thumb on the spool to start to slow it down, so that when your bait hits the water, you can firmly press down to stop your line feeding out.

Video: How To Cast A Baitcaster

How To Reel In Your Catch

When you finally feel that bite on the end of your line, the first thing to do is to set the hook in the fish’s mouth. To do this, simply move your rod to jerk your line upwards so that the hook gets stuck in the fish’s mouth.

After this, the fish will probably start to fight back by trying to swim away. This is when you will need to start to slowly reel it in. The bigger the fish, the more power it will have and the more of a struggle it will be for you, so keep the line tight by pulling with your rod and reeling in the loose line.

Try pulling up with your rod, so that the tip begins to point towards the sky and then  reel in your line as you lower it back down to around a 45 degree angle . This process can be repeated until the fish is close enough for you to pull out of the water.

Removing The Hook

Removing the hook from the fish can be daunting, but there are simple ways to do this without harming the fish. One way is to simply push down on the hook and turn it slightly, so that it goes back out the same way that it went in.

If that doesn’t sound easy enough, you also have the option of using your pliers. This way you can use them to flatten the barb on the hook, which will make it easier for you to push the hook back through the fish’s mouth, again in the same way it went in, which will minimize any damage to the fish.

Keeping vs Catch And Release

Once you’ve caught your fish, you’re going to need to decide what you’re going to do with it, whether you keep it or release it. In the USA, in federal or state managed areas, you will usually find that there are limits to the number of fish you can catch to keep.

The number you’re allowed to keep will depend on both the state and the particular body of water that you’re fishing in, so it’s always best to check with your local authorities to find out what the laws are.

You will also find that there are often  restrictions on the size of fish  you’re allowed to keep, which will differ with each state’s regulations.

If you decide to release your catch, try not to handle it too much and you can simply place it back in the water after you’ve removed the hook from its mouth, allowing it to live longer, get bigger and get caught again in the future.

Storing Your Catch

One way to keep your fish fresh after you’ve caught it is to use a stringer through both lips of the fish. Go in under the chin and tie the other end tightly to the shore, meaning the fish can still swim around and stay alive while you continue to fish.

There are also baskets that allow the fish to swim while they’re safely contained.

Alternatively, you can kill the fish quickly and store it on crushed ice in a cooler, as long as you keep replenishing the ice in the cooler. You can gut the fish and clean it prior to this and fill the insides of the fish with crushed ice.

Smaller fish can be  put in a cooler , in a swimming position, filled with crushed ice, which should mean they are killed quickly, as long as each fish is completely covered in ice. Don’t forget a  fillet knife  for afterwards.

Video: How To Clean & Store Your Catch

Should I Use A Kayak To Fish?

A kayak can be a fantastic tool to help you fish. It can help you get closer to where the fish are hiding, letting you access parts of the water that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get to, for example if you were on foot or in a larger bass boat.

Kayaks are quiet, environmentally friendly, and let you stealthily approach fishing holes with minimal disturbance compared to a louder motorized boat. There are also lots of accessories that can let you customize your kayak to create your own personalized fishing vessel, with the option of adding a trolling motor, extra rod holders, gadgets and whatever else you fancy.

However, there may be some limitations when it comes to kayaks, such as the amount of fishing gear you can take with you. You may also have to consider how you transport your kayak to and from the water.

Additionally, fishing kayaks are generally designed for one person, sometimes two, so if you plan to fish in a group, you may need to think about using several kayaks.

> Here’s some more kayak tips to help you

Fishing: Frequently Asked Questions

How do i find out if there is fishing near me.

Check your local or state department of wildlife website for state or community fishing areas nearby. There are also various apps and sites that can help you find local fishing spots.

What Line Should I Use?

Generally, heavier line for larger or more powerful fish and lighter line for smaller fish. But the line should be suitable for your rod and reel. Invisible line, such as fluorocarbon, can be better for clear water and braided may be better for fishing in vegetation or for topwater lures.

Is Fishing And Angling The Same Thing?

Angling is a type of fishing  where you are fishing with a rod, reel, line and hook. There are other types of fishing that is not angling, such as commercial fishing and net fishing.

Is Fishing Expensive?

It doesn’t have to be. You can fish with simple gear, such as a cane pole or even just a line but you can also spend a lot of money on high quality fishing gear.

Should I Join A Fishing Club?

If you want to meet up with other like-minded anglers or learn new techniques from other fishers, then why the heck not?! Can be a great way to socialize!

Now that you’ve read about the basics of fishing, you’re probably eager to get out there to try it for yourself. Hopefully you’ve learned some essential skills and techniques that might be useful to you on your next fishing trip.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our guide and will share it with your friends who might want to learn more about this popular, relaxing pastime. 

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates

© Copyright 2024 by Kayak Guru.

fish catching travel

Fishing for the First Time? Here’s How and Where to Start

While most industries struggled during the pandemic, the socially distanced endeavor of angling thrived. According to the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation , of the millions who dropped a line in 2020, more than half were brand-new to the sport. Interest hasn’t dipped since folks returned to work and other social engagements, either. Around 54.5 million Americans went fishing in 2022, a number up 4% from the previous year. And the contemporary angler doesn’t necessarily look like your bucket-hatted grandpa. For instance, over the past decade, women's participation ballooned by 4 million.

“The draw for new anglers is not only getting out, but having something to do outside,” says Lindsay Kocka, owner of Wade Well , through which she offers hybrid instruction blending angling with mindfulness and functional movement techniques. Kocka describes fishing as forest-bathing ’s opposite. “It’s for people who want to engage and focus and explore something new,” she says. “For people who want to connect with nature and feel alive.”

Here’s everything you need to know about how to get started.

Figure out what you want to catch—and how

"She’d seen some pictures of me fishing as a kid, and she didn’t ask my husband; she asked me," says Talan. “So I said, 'heck, yeah' and a few days later we took some live bait and a spin rod down to the river and had a great day catching fish.” When they got back to the car, however, Talan realized she’d left a good portion of the live bait (including chicken gizzards) in the car—in 102-degree humidity. The debacle required a full car detailing and left Talan resolute to never again fish with live bait, nor attempt to bring a live fish home.

Later, she and her daughter accepted an invitation to try fly fishing, in which the angler attempts to mimic Mother Nature’s food supply by casting a tiny fake bug—you can craft your own, or buy them at fishing shops—onto the surface of water, in hopes of giving it the appearance of an edible insect.

“Once I learned how to handle the fish I caught that way, I fell in love with the meditative, participative vibe of fly fishing, and landed on the best way to bond with my kids,” says Talan, who now serves as the DEI Liaison for United Women on the Fly , an organization aimed toward building inclusive communities for anglers.

Broadly speaking, angling can be broken down into two categories: conventional fishing (Talan’s initial pursuit, which is also commonly referred to as “gear fishing” or “spin casting”) and fly fishing. The former’s umbrella is vast—conventional fishing includes spear fishing (using spears or harpoons to impale fish), hand fishing (a super physical modality that involves simply holding a line, sans rod, with some sort of bait on the end), ice fishing, and various netting-based endeavors , many of which are specific to Indigenous groups.

In conventional fishing, you may or may not be using live bait. While the type of angling you pursue will likely depend on the waterways and culture of where you live, you can target pretty much any species using either a traditional spin pole or fly rod. But there’s one distinction you must remember: Bait in the conventional fishing world means lures whereas in fly fishing, bait means flies . “Hopefully you’re hanging with people who aren’t judging you, but there’s a big difference,” Kocka says.

The biggest barrier to people getting into any type of fishing is the fear of looking stupid, adds Paul Von Gontard, a guide based out of Missoula, Montana. He recommends heading to a local fishing shop while keeping in mind that everyone who's ever started fishing knew zero at one point. “The easiest way to overcome that boundary is to talk into a local fishing shop that’s not a big commercial retailer and just say ‘I don’t know that much about this and I wanna get into it,’ because it’s one of those sports where, if people are in it for the right reasons and truly love it, they’re psyched to share their passion.”

What you’ll need

“As an angler, you may be out there alone, casting a line, but so many people have been out before you, making sure there are fish to catch,” she says.

You can spin fish from anywhere you can sit or stand (think: docks, piers, shorelines, and boats), and all you’ll need is a fishing pole with a reel, lures, a pair of needle nose pliers to safely remove hooks from fish mouths, and sunglasses (a polarized pair will help you see through water’s surface, sans glare). offers all manner of species-specific how-to fishing videos (in Spanish, too), but essentially, you’ll want to attach your lure to the end of your line, cast out, and start reeling in. The goal is to create “action” or “jigging” of the lure, which is what typically triggers a fish to bite.

Flies are small hooks layered with string, feathers, or other material to imitate the appearance of an insect or other favored fish food. Tying them by hand is a revered art among many fly anglers; the flies themselves can be exquisite. They’re also widely available commercially and, with natural and synthetic varieties available in every color of the rainbow, fun to shop for—they’ll run you a dollar or three a pop, so pick up a variety and enjoy figuring out what works. Basic types include the “dry fly,” which floats on top of the water to simulate a bug landing on the surface; a “nymph fly” that floats underneath the surface, mimicking a larva; and a “streamer fly,” which gives the illusion of a smaller fish or other prey. At the local fly shop, staff always stay up-to-date on which options are proving effective in nearby rivers and ponds.

A guided drift boat excursion down a storied river, in my opinion, offers the most stunning and fruitful fly fishing experience for beginners. But most fly anglers wade into the water, using neoprene waders and wading boots ( Simms , whose founder invented waders, is widely believed to offer the most durable varieties.) The experience of crossing a river in waders, emerging snug and bone dry, is truly a sensation to behold, but both pieces of gear are a significant investment. If the water’s warm enough, just don shorts and water shoes.

Additionally, Talan advises bringing barbless hooks—“so you don’t hurt the fish or rip their lips, which reduces the chance of hurting them to a point where you do have to remove and dispose of them”—as well as a fishing net, SPF protection, a hat and neck gaiter, plenty of water, a first aid kit, and eye protection. (Aside from their obvious purpose, shades will protect your peepers in the event someone hooks you.)

Seek a physical guide. Or app. Or both.

Born into a family of fly fishers in Montana, Von Gontard grew up fishing in Australia, Latin America, Europe, and the Rocky Mountain West. “Anytime I fish somewhere new, I hire a guide, at least for half a day, because they all have intimate knowledge of the place. You can spend up to 200 days per year out on the water here in Missoula if you’re a guide–there’s intimate knowledge to be sourced. The good ones like to do it because they’re stewards of the water; they like to teach people about ethical angling techniques and about conservation and watershed quality.” offers a free interactive map designed to help anyone find good nearby spots to fish and boat in the US. This handy tool also accounts for the best times to fish given waterways, and lets users drop ins on lucky spots. Meanwhike, a brand-new app named  ILLA  leverages a straightforward profile and swipe mechanism, a la dating apps, to help female anglers connect—whether to explore new waters, seek out a fishing buddy, or find safety in numbers. “Many anglers I know were introduced to angling by parents or partners who already possessed all the necessary gear and knowledge, and could therefore provide an accessible learning environment,” says Tana Hoffman, ILLA’s founder. “When you don’t have that foundation, finding mentors and resources becomes more challenging and pricey and intimidating. This is about creating a supportive network where women can share experiences, learn together, and overcome obstacles."

Where to go

Kocka adds that modern fly fishing was born on the East Coast and ticks off Vermont, Connecticut, and upstate New York as fishing havens. “The Pacific Northwest is huge for steelhead, which fight hard and are fun for adrenaline-driven anglers, and Arkansas has really epic brown trout fishing on the White River," she says. Even the desert has good fishing to offer—Kocka loves high-elevation spots like Lee’s Ferry in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area .

From DC, Talan heads an hour east to fish the Shenandoah Valley, but she holds a special place in her heart for Yellow Breeches, in South-Central Pennsylvania, which is where her family had their first casting lessons, and her kids caught their first fish. She names a few other somewhat unexpected places East of the Mississippi: “There’s a great place called Waynesboro in the South River in Virginia. Cleveland, Ohio—the Rocky River area in particular—has some of the biggest steelhead fish in the nation. She also loves Destin, Florida, for both its saltwater and freshwater fly and conventional fishing opportunities, and cites the Outer Banks of North Carolina as another favorite destination. Talan’s current bucket list? “Belize; Christmas Island near Australia; and on the Kenai River in Alaska.”

Remember, it’s called fishing, not catching

Kocka describes such goals as akin to “giving a dog a big bone he’s gonna be chewing on for months,” explaining that fishing always offers new ways to engage. After eight years focused on trout fishing—"and I still have a lot to learn in the land of trout fishing”—she says pursuing her next endeavor, warm water fishing, feels like “learning a new language.”

To keep from getting discouraged, Talan encourages new anglers to manage expectations—and to head out on the water with an intention to learn, connect, and grow. “I believe fish feel vibes—I try to go in with the mindset of being humble in the fish’s ecosystem and grateful for the experience and thinking in terms of building connection—with the fish, yes, but also with the people you’re fishing with. It creates this beautiful flow of energy.” Want more Thrillist? Follow us on  Instagram ,  TikTok ,  Twitter ,  Facebook ,  Pinterest , and  YouTube .

Katie O'Reilly is a contributor for Thrillist and a freelance journalist covering outdoor adventure, sustainable travel, environmental ethics, green lifestyle, and assisted reproduction. Her work appears in the Atlantic, Outside, Sierra, Runner's World, Alpinist, Bitch, Buzzfeed, and several other publications. Katie holds a BS in journalism from Northwestern University and an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. A Chicago native, she now lives in a patch of woods outside Missoula, Montana, with her husband, toddler daughter, and two rambunctious mutts.

Fishing for the First Time? Here’s How and Where to Start


  • How To Fish & Boat
  • Register Your Boat
  • Get Your Fishing License
  • Places To Boat And Fish


  • Connecticut
  • District Of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • West Virginia

How to Catch Fish

  • How to Tie Fishing Knots
  • Fishing Gear and Tackle
  • How to Fish with Lures
  • How to Fish with Live Bait
  • Fishing Safety
  • Fishing Tips
  • When to Fish
  • Types of Fishing
  • Fishing and Conservation
  • Fishing Resources
  • When to Saltwater Fish
  • Saltwater Bait and Lures
  • Saltwater Fishing Tackle
  • Types of Saltwater Fishing
  • Saltwater Fishing Gear
  • Saltwater Fish Species
  • Types of Freshwater Fishing
  • When to Freshwater Fish
  • Freshwater Bait and Lures
  • Best Freshwater Fishing Gear
  • Fly Fishing Basics
  • Fly Fishing Flies
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Catching fish is all about the experience. Get started by knowing what you'll need to catch fish and even learn how to catch new fish species like bass or trout. You'll also find other useful information like setting hooks, choosing bait, and cleaning.

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Fish Catching Travel

  • Basic Speckled Trout Lures
  • How to buy a boat – The Basics.
  • How to catch redfish on the Strike King Redfish Magic.

How to Catch White Bass – A Simple Plan

  • How to fish a spinnerbait – Waking a spinnerbait.
  • How to Fish Croaker – Everything You Need to Know to get Started
  • How to fish the Strike King Swimming Jig
  • Redfish basics for the bass fisherman.
  • Swimmin Super Fluke – How to fish it on top.
  • Topwater Bass Fishing Basics – getting started.
  • Falcon Lake Texas – Where dreams are made.
  • Belize – A great place to travel, and the fishing is awesome.
  • Grand Isle Lousiana – A fish catching, crawdad eating, good time
  • Muskie Bay Resort – Nestor Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Quepos Costa Rica
  • Twin Lakes of the Ozarks – Mountain Home Arkansas.
  • Sanibel Island – Travel Fun for the family and the fisherman.
  • Baffin Bay 2/2/12.
  • Coleto Creek 5/29/13.
  • Coleto Creek 1/20/12.
  • Coleto Creek 1/22/12.
  • Coleto Creek 1/25/12.
  • Coleto Creek 1/5/12.
  • Coleto Creek 1/6/12..
  • Coleto Creek 1/912.
  • Coleto Creek 10/11/11.
  • Coleto Creek 10/13/11.
  • Coleto Creek 11/15/11.
  • Coleto Creek 12/28/11.
  • Coleto Creek 2/9/12.
  • Coleto Creek 9/28/11.
  • Coleto Creek 9/29/11.
  • Coleto Creek 2/2/12.
  • Falcon Lake 10/17/11.
  • Falcon Lake 10/18/11.
  • 10/27/11. Coleto Creek before the front.
  • Fayette County 12/29/11.
  • Indianola 1/30/12.
  • Keller Bay 1/27/12.
  • Keller Bay 2/13/12.
  • Keller Bay 2/14/12.
  • Keller Bay 8/1/11.
  • Lavaca River 11/28/11.
  • Lavaca River 12/1/2011.
  • Lavaca River 12/8/11.
  • POC 10/5/11.
  • POC 11/1/11.
  • POC 2/7/12.
  • POC 8/24/11.
  • Coleto Creek 8/19/11.
  • 9/11 – Never Forget.
  • All the Memories – Never forget the ones who got you there.
  • Fishing isn’t everything.
  • Good thing, I thought I was nuts.
  • Thanksgiving Thoughts.
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The Wade Right Fishing Belt

Brought t o you by, the best wading system on the  planet..

Over the years while guiding and living in the Ozarks white bass fishing was an important part of my life.  And over the last 40 years I learned a few things about catching them early, often beating the crowd by using these simple methods.  It would be hard to guess how many I have boated but it was hundreds and hundreds every spring for 20+ years, and the same deep water jigging each winter.  Thinking about it I may have caught more numbers of them than anything else over my lifetime.  They can easily be the most productive numbers fish for time spent early spring.

fish catching travel

And with that I learned a pattern that can turn anyone into a early spring white bass Jedi Master.  Whether it is Texas, Arkansas, or Timbuktu, white bass follow a simple pattern every year no matter where you are.  Genetics drives them, the desire to spawn and repopulate the species takes over, and knowing when and where can put you on fish in nothing flat.  The period is short and it is coming to a lake near you.

Water temperature plays a role, and that temp varies with the part of the country.  And while it is important, it is not the driving force.  A perfect example, Coleto Creek usually stays in the high 50’s to low 60’s like most power plant lakes.  Many northern lakes freeze, and they move more predictably with the warming temps.  So the important part of water temperature, is it rising, or is it your spring?  They are coming no matter what.  If the timing is right, and you take these tips and put them in practice, I promise fish in the boat.  (Brave thing to say huh?)


fish catching travel

When they make their spawning run they have only one place to go in most lakes and rivers, up the creek until even they might need a paddle.  How far?  All the freakin’ way, and thanks to that bit of information where should you start?  How about all the way up the river or a bigger tributary/creek on the lake.  Far enough you can’t go any farther up, as in bang the skeg on the bottom and you are there.  In real terms we are talking when it finally gets to 5′ or less.  As the great Buck Perry said, “The fish are deep, shallow, or somewhere in between.”  In the case of white bass they will either be at the end of the line, a little down lake, or hanging in the deeper holes in the creek waiting to move.  It is not rocket science, simply a matter of timing and then a systematic approach.

fish catching travel

So the first decision, go to the closest ramp to the end of navigable water.  Saves a ride on a cold spring day.  Next, run up the creek or river and keep driving until you are scared to go further, then go the last little bit and start fishing.   Then simply keep fishing as you ease down lake/river.  And don’t just drive willy nilly, pay attention to what and where the first fish bites.  There are several ways to fish successfully, depending on your preference, so lets talk about simple ways to load the boat.

First a word or two on the topography up most creeks or rivers.  On lakes there is always the old river channel, which usually means a flatter side, and the deeper side wherever the channel runs.  And of course the usual holes on channel bends, where they may hold.  They simply hang in the channel/holes waiting for the right time, moving to the channel edges when getting active, and super shallow in the afternoon as the sun warms.

The one place that you find them when they are really getting busy is a shoal.  Often in the straighter areas of the old creek or river bed where there were 2 channels with an island or high spot between them.  That shoal or high spot is easy to find after you have made a couple of passes watching your locator.  The best of them tend to be in 5′ foot of water.  Pay attention to the edges, if you get a bite on a pass or two stop and toss something.  It can be that easy.  That is why having even a basic fish finder is the key to success.

fish catching travel

Trolling is probably the most efficient and easiest way to find them.  Once you find them it is game on, end of story.  And there are a couple of baits that will get the job done, it does not take a tackle box full of lures.  The first by far is the Rapala Shad Rap.  It has been a staple in my box for as long as I can remember.  And the great thing, they are all specifically designed to fish a particular depth.  Plus they are easy to cast and crank if that is your thing, but either way they smack it.

First, I never leave the ramp without are a Shallow Shad Rap in a number 7, in any shad look I can find at the store, hopefully silver/black foil.  They are a little hard to come by but it is a winner in this system.  Why?  It runs around 6′ foot or less on the troll depending on line size and speed, I generally troll with 10 or 12lb test.  It is the perfect bait when you turn the boat around after hitting bottom and starting to fish your way down river.

fish catching travel

Cast it out, and let it get about 50′ behind the boat, check the drag (Keep it light.) , and start trolling slowly.  (Be sure to let the same amount of line out each time, important to determine how deep your bait runs, so as you fish deeper or shallower you can change to the bait that runs the depth you need.)   I generally troll for me at idle, or around 2.5 mph.   Just putt along and watch the locator.  Usually when you find them you see them unless it is really shallow.  As the water gets deeper then it is time to switch to a Rapala Shad Rap in the same size 7 and the Bagley, both will run to about 10′, maybe a little more.  One thing I have learned about the spring run, when it is on those fish are almost always from 2′ out to 20′ downriver and the deep diving model 7 will cover everywhere you should be looking.

So the plan is simple, start shallow and go until you catch one.  Gets a little deeper, switch from the shallow running to the regular Shad Rap.  By doing it that way you cover lots of water, if they are not there yet it does not take long to figure that out.  And the opposite, when they are there you will find that out quickly.

The second style bait, which I usually fish off another rod along with the Rapala is a Rattle Trap style bait.  For this kind of fishing the particular company brand is irrelevant, good to have a couple of different models, but it just has to be either a shad color or chartreuse.  Most run around 6′ at the most on a slow troll, an area of water depth you need to cover if the day is really warming.  Generally starting with the chartreuse Rattle Trap style bait is a good idea.  You get not only a depth clue, but also a color clue.  The fish will often settle a little more on one color or bait over the other, but it is usually a small difference in the early season run.  They are on the chew.

You can also troll spoons, jigs, or even plastic twisters or paddle tails at slower speeds.  There is a world of shad imitation crankbaits, just pick a shad color, the important thing is to know the depths it runs.  Basically no matter what you troll you are seining the water at specific depths to find them as quickly as possible.  Then you can put the real hurt on them, by either keeping trolling, or switching to casting.

When one does jump on that is why you need the drag really light.  The boat sets the hook and you can either stop, or just slowly reel them in.  No big hurry, and you often get another one on at the same time if you keep moving.  And one little tip.  Occasionally you will feel them bump it and not hook up, so just give your rod a rip forward, then drop it back and hold on, one just might thump it.

I did not troll much the first 2o years I chased them, but during the period I was fishing Beaver Lake I grew to really like it .  But I have caught literally thousands casting.  That is the area I have the most experience.  As soon as there was a hint of spring I was up (Where?  See above.)   one of the bigger creeks on Norfork, Bull Shoals, or anywhere else, looking for white bass.  I often used crappies jigs, feather jigs, or small plastics on 6lb test.  And there is “That  Perfect Place” early spring when they begin to move up.  Remember this if nothing else – A flat slowly slopping bank, softer bottom, in about 10′ of water, out of the wind, with the sun beating on it.  Jackpot!   Often there will be shad flipping, a great sign.  That is when water temperature really could matter so pay attention.  A 5 degree difference in cool spring water can make all the difference.  Simple enough, but as we all know the fish have not read the same book we have.

Just slowly hop the jigs along working from the bank out to the boat, hopping it along and letting it hit bottom occasionally.  Anything from 1/16th to 1/4 ounce white will usually work.  And they way they thump it is a good thing, a cool solid bite.  And if trolling and you want to take a break and catch a few casting you already have them located.

From that point on, until the run is over, if you follow this plan you will find them, or they are gone.  Most places I have caught them this is the case, one day they are there and the next they are gone.  That is why this is about an early spring method.  Once the run is done they become a completely different animal requiring different tactics.  The time to go is now in south Texas.  And this is one time I take my own advice.  The 2 big white bass above came from the Nueces River where I knocked them stupid.  I had no clue even where the river was or anything else other than online reports they were biting.   I dropped the boat in the water, headed up river, and started trolling back down and put the hurt on them.  It is not rocket science.

I hope this helps if you want to try your hand at white bass fishing.  It is such a good thing for kids or folks who can not cast.  All they have to do is hold on.  So get out there this year and sack a bunch.  And remember this tip, cut out the red meat, soak them in 7Up the night before, they will melt in your mouth.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Brought to you by:

Team Nancy – The best sponsor a guy could have..

Coastal Fishing Gear. – Home of the Wade Right Belt.

My Coast Outdoors – Home of the Controlled Descent Lures.

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