So you want to give fishing a try but you don’t know where to start?
Well, this would be the perfect weekend to take a test run. It’s Free Fishing Weekend in Missouri. That means you don’t have to pay for a fishing license to get out on public waters.
Here are some tips to get the family started.
▪ Don’t start out with the most expensive equipment in the store. A simple push-button rod with a light-action reel will do.
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▪ The goal on your first trip is to get some action, not go after the biggest fish in the pond. You need some reinforcement. Go with light line — 4-pound test — and small hooks. Buy a package of small clamp-on sinkers and a pack of small bobbers. Now you’re ready.
▪ We’re going to start with live bait. Resist the urge to buy a bunch of new lures. That will come later, if you find fishing to your liking. Crickets, red worms, small minnows or nightcrawlers are the bait for beginners.
▪ Set that alarm. Try to get out at first light. Or if you like to sleep in, get out near dusk. Fish like low-light conditions, especially in the summer.
▪ Start out by fishing from the bank or a marina pay dock. The James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area near Lee’s Summit offers a variety of small lakes that were designed with the bank fisherman in mind. The marinas at Wyandotte County Lake, Blue Springs, Jacomo and Longview in the Kansas City area also offer good places to get a bite.
▪ If you have family friends who lives in the country, by all means ask them if knows anyone with a farm pond and ask for permission to fish. Those waters get little fishing pressure and can produce good fishing.
▪ If kids are involved, be sure to pack a lunch and some drinks. Let the kids explore if they get bored. Let them skip rocks across the water and chase frogs. It’s all about the experience.
▪ Make sure you review the fishing regulations before you head out. Know the size and creel limits.
▪ If you catch fish that measure up, keep a few, fillet them and have a family dinner made up of your catch.
▪ Take plenty of photos. Nothing adds to the excitement of a family fishing trip like a few pictures to capture the memories.