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Beginning Angler

Article: November, 2003
Lake Fork Pro Jim Reaneau
This article is dedicated to the new fisherman or beginner. First hire a guide and let him show you the basics. Then start with tackle. You want to fill your arsenal with things you will use, not with what’s on sale. Listen to the guide and he will tell you the baits that will work in different seasons. Then pick out what you like and spend time learning to fish these baits. I get a lot of beginner fishermen. I spend the time to tell them what the season is and what is working at that time. First get the rod and reels you will be using. Spend time learning to cast and pitch the different reels. Put a target on the ground like copy paper or paper plates. Then cast to them or pitch to them. The pitching you will have to learn from a buddy or a guide. This is a very important tactic. Every year when the fish get on the beds I get people who want to site fish but they can’t get the bait to the fish. You will need someone who knows how to show you the trick then practice and practice.. Read books and check out the chat boards on the net. The chat room usually gives you reports on lakes so you will have a clue what is going on at a certain lake before you get there. The best thing is to join a bass club. They have tournaments every month and this will help you to learn different lakes and fishing areas. In most clubs the fishermen will help you to fish better and smarter. The other thing about club fishing is if you are planning on buying a boat you can ride in different boats and then you can make your decision on what you want. This is a plus rather than just looking at a boat that is on sale.

You will need rods and asking someone who fishes a lot will help you solve the problem. You will have to spend time on the water to get patterns fishing down. This is when and where to be at a certain time of day or year. Get you a monthly planner and every time you read a report or fish a lake write down what the weather was doing and where and what you caught fish on. Then next year at the same time you can possibly put the same pattern together. I put all the months together and watch the weather and pull out the ones that coincides with the current conditions. This gives me a starting point until I work out a new pattern. The main thing is practice casting for accuracy as this is very important. When I do boat shows I take a rod. This is to help me keep my accuracy while I am off the lake. I spend many hours a day pitching at the show so when I get back to the lake I can hit the right spots. Before you purchase tackle talk to someone who knows baits. I have a garage sale every year and usually sell about 4 or 5 thousand dollars worth of tackle that the fish have quit biting. Buy what you need don’t stock up as the fish may quit hitting a certain lure. This happens on lakes that get a lot of pressure. They loose interest in a bait they see to often. You will need about three specialty rods. One for Carolina rigs. One for Texas rigs or jig fishing. Then one that will throw a lipless crank bait, weightless baits, spinner baits, and spoons.
Falcon rods has this covered.
FC 5-166 for weightless baits, traps, spinner baits and crank baits
FC 1-7 for Carolina rigs
FC 7-166 for worm and jig
These are moderately priced and can be found at most tackle stores. Academy and Bass Pro Shop. Now reels If you prefer bait casting, you can put any size line on them. I like the high speed reels for spinner baits and crank baits. For jig, Carolina, and weightless rods the slower retrieves will do fine. I like Shamino reels and have had great success with them. If you like the spinning reels this is fine as long as you don’t use to heavy of a line. You can use braided line on them as I do and this way you can put heavier line on them. You may have to have a leader as I feel the fish can see the line.

Line is another thing that everyone asks me about. I use 20 and 15 pound Big game from Berkley. I like the clear lines over the colored. This is only my preference. I do use 12 lb. on my drop shot and sometimes on my spoon fishing. The lighter the line the better the bait will work. Sometimes you are far better off going light and worrying about break offs when you get a fish on. After cold fronts lighter line will get more strikes than heavy line. Read , watch, and experiment, each time you go fishing until you fine tune your tackle to your liking. I could say if you only fished plastic worms year round you would catch fish. But there are times another bait would work better.
Thanks and Good Fishing,

Fishing Tip by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau


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