Total neophyte fishing questions

My family and I will be vacationing in Maine at a lake that turns out to be a prime fishing destination. I’ve read that record sized salmon, bass, and brook trout have been caught there. I’ve gone fishing a couple of times, but (apologies)feel that I don’t need an excuse to sit around and do nothing. Nevertheless, since we’ll be at such a prime spot, I feel a little duty-bound, and partly for the sake of my kids, to try a little fishing from our canoe.

Can anyone suggest basic equipment? My knowledge begins and ends with Popeil pocket fisherman tv ads.(I’m an experienced canoeist.)I’m not sure I even want to eat the things, so barbless hooks may be the way to go. I’ve looked at web sites about cleaning fish and it doesn’t seem easy for the beginner, but we might give that a try too. And, there might be squeemish people among us.

thanks for any advice.

General comment
Fishing CAN be about sitting around idly. It can also be a remarkable intellectual challange to your understanding of nature and natural forces. Because of your admission of ignorance of fishing, your comment is excused. :slight_smile:

That said, I would highly recommend that you do some web surfing for local fishing information. Because you are not seeking to gain a general understanding of fish habits, habitat, and fishing methods, but rather ‘giving it a go’, blindly mimicking local technique seems like the way to go. Do what the locals do, and you’ll have a reasonable chance of success. If you like it, great. If you don’t like it, very little lost but time.

I suggest that you decide BEFORE you go out whether you might want to keep a fish. That’s because once you’re out it can be frustrating or disappointing if you decide to keep a fish and have no where to put it.

  • Big D

  • Big D

Not to infer anything but there’s a
Complete Idiots Guide to Fishing book, try Barnes and Noble or on line. There also are other beginner books, suggest getting one, read it, use about half what you learn and forget the rest, that’s partly a joke.

followup on fishing
I apologize if I sounded a bit condescending about the sport. I know it’s very involving and absorbing. It’s just managed to pass me by, but as I said, with the lake we’ll be at, I feel like it would like going to Rome and not seeing the Coliseum or going to Philly and not eating a cheese steak.

I have been doing a fair amount of reading on the net since I posted, and I do have the idea of a basic rig. spincaster, with light weight line and reel. Maybe I’ll wait for the advice of locals before buying lures. I’ll have to go into a local shop to get a license, I suppose.

Incidentally, is an achor a good thing when fishing from canoe, or is the idea, perhaps, for one person to cast while the other paddles to simulate the movement of bait through water? Or both?

You can troll - moving a lure through the water on a fixed length of line by moving the boat. You can also anchor and do a cast & retrieve, as is usually done with artificial lures. You can also anchor and cast & wait, as is often done with live bait presentations. You can do live bait presentations on the bottom or the top. On top with a float (classic bobber & worm comes to mind) or on bottom with a bottom rig or a fishfinder rig. You can also do any of these presentations floating free (called drifting).

Most people get into the sport with live bait fishing. If you do live bait, buy local bait. Right at the lake, captured from the lake, if possible. Minnows work well on a fishfinder rig. That’s a rig with the sliding weight on the line above the hook. Some folks use a stopper to keep the line from going too far. You cast and allow some slack line. The minnow swims the line a bit out from the sinker. You stop the line and the minnnow is basically on a leash waiting for a predator to notice it and take an easy meal.

I don’t do much live bait fishing myself, but there’s no debating its effectiveness.

  • Big D

right track
I think you have the right idea. Spincast, barbless hooks, maybe just corn and bread, for starters. If it’s hot and nothing’s biting, that’s the way it goes, sometimes.

Nobody says you have to eat the fish that you catch. Teaching children ‘catch and release’ is a great way to introduce respect for living things. Catch a fish. Look at it closely. Don’t be afraid of it. Put it back.

“What kind is it? That’s cool. Hey, we’ll let him go so he can grow up. Maybe, we’ll see him again.”

Your kids may wonder what’s going on down there, the next time they are on the water. Who knows, you might get a fisherman/woman out of this new experience. Not a bad thing.

I just have to steal your comment

“Fishing CAN be about sitting around idly. It can also be a remarkable intellectual challange to your understanding of nature and natural forces”

I’ll give you credit!

Go ahead
Glad you like the comment. I didn’t think it appropriate to disparage his comment, because frankly I’ve done the kind of fishing that’s more about reading Louis L’Amour westerns with your feet propped up on a cooler and the biggest concern is keeping flies off the snacks than it is about catching fish and so fully understand where he was coming from. That’s not for everyone and there’s no reason why it should be expected to be.

However, I’ve also done the other kind where rather than a lazy fisherman, you are a predator that’s part of the natural cycle. From this perspective, fishing is an intellectually and physically challanging activity. If his only perception of fishing is the former, then this type of fishing may be something he’d enjoy.

  • Big D

I fished as a kid, and drifted away from it when I started working, driving and noticed girls. Then, when the wife wanted a small kayak for fishing the local lakes and ponds a couple years ago, we caught them on sale and I though, hey, I’ll get one too and we can go together. Then I remembered how much I loved to fish as a kid.

If you “hook your kids” while they are young… pun intended… you might help keep the sport alive. Hah.


some more tips
I don’t know where you are as far as buying your gear, but I have something to add.

  1. PFD
  2. Fishing for dummies–actually a great basic book you can learn so much from it!
  3. rod and reel. You don’t have to spend a ton of money for a decent set. Go to Dick’s, Sports Authority, etc. and they can help you pick something out
  4. Tackle Box–get a medium size…you will outgrow it faster than you think!!
  5. stuff to put in your tackle box:

    pliers, scissors or knife, bug spray, band-aids or mini first aid kit, lures (soft plastic worms in different colors–light and dark are a good start), weights to put on your line, swivels and different size snells (beats having to tie lures/hooks all the time), lures like minnows(by rapala and other trusted brands), spinners, frogs, etc are good to have too.
  6. Make sure you get a license and keep it on you-I keep mine in a waterproof case in my tackle box.
  7. start on waters you know, and practice casting…a lot!

Basic Equipment
Cane poles for the kids, $10.00 each. Night crawlers, $2.00 a dozen. License for you, $30.00.

Watching you child’s face light up when they catch a minnow, priceless!

Take them fishing dad.

Maine fishing
As a Maine fisherman who seeks the species you will be fishing for I feel qualified to give you some advice. Trout and salmon at this time of the year are DEEP due to the warmth of the surface water; you may find them around cool springs that enter the lake. Your best bet is to focus on bass. Nightcrawlers floated under a bobber will work and you can catch a lot of sunfish and perch this way. Look for weedy areas or spots with lots of big rocks on the bottom, points of land, trees down in the water along shore. Basically, look for somewhere a fish would like to hide and you’ll probably catch a few.

I usually give up on the trout after June and start fishing for them again in September when the water cools. Sunfish and bass are spawning now and you can find their beds over most shallow areas of the lakes. Look for whitish circles on the bottom in relatively shallow water. Fish found here will be super aggressive and hit just about anything thrown at them.

Now that I’ve given you the advice there is the matter of my Maine guide fee…lol.

use your local bait shop to
Someone earlier discussed getting your license and stopping by the local baitshop. Just remember that when you buy your lures, bait, and accessories from the bait/guide shop they rely on you coming back and spending money with them in the future. They will most usually give you the best advice on where to go what lures, bait, rigs, or setups to use, as well what times of the day and what fish will be biting. They whant your experience to be a good one and if their information helped you catch fish, then you will most likely come back and do business with them again. Anyway good luck and tight lines.

Believe it or not…
WalMart. I just happened on to your now 2 week old question. If you haven’t gone yet this may be helpful. Believe it or not most of the guys I’ve met at Wallyworld sporting goods counters have been pretty up on sporting goods and local fishing. They sell inexpensive gear, licenses, and bait/lures. Look for the old retired looking guy and I bet he can fix you up right. I hear that most of the old timers in Maine are pretty good sources of info if you ask respectfully.

Hire a guide
The expense will be worth it. Otherwise, you’ll be out there the wrong time of day, in the wrong spot, with the wrong gear. Getting a guide when you are new to fishing, or have just never fished a particular area before is the way to go.