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For thousands of years, people have relied on the ocean as a vital source of food. Professional anglers have played an essential role within societies from the very small community, right up to the level of industry we see today.
Over time, people have gotten better at catching fish as new techniques are developed and fine-tuned. This boom in efficiency has led to a drastic decline in the natural stocks of fish species around the world, and so industry guidelines have been put in place relative to specific locations, certain species of fish and the techniques used to catch them.
Predominately, fishing is performed in order to provide food. Fish are high in essential fats, vitamins, and minerals and are a good food type to have in your diet. Some anglers also fish for sport, choosing to catch and release fish safely back into the body of water from which they came.
There are a huge range of fishing techniques utilised by anglers around the world. What techniques you use will largely be determined by the geographical location of your fishing spot and the species you are targeting.
Rod & Reel combos - probably the most popular tool for catching fish used by non-commercial anglers today. Fishing rods usually allow you to catch one fish at a time, although different rig setups can enable you to catch many small fish with one cast or drop.
Fishing rods - vary in length, thickness and flexibility depending on the fish you are trying to catch and the techniques you will be using. Those used for baitcasting are typically longer and more flexible. Rods used for bottom and sport fishing are shorter and stiffer to provide greater leverage straight up and down.
Fishing Reels - designed in a number of ways to suit different fishing techniques. Overhead reels are mostly used for bottom fishing as they allow the fishing line to fall straight down and can be difficult to cast without causing a tangle in your line (an overrun). Baitcasting reels, spinning reels, and fly fishing reels are designed to allow the fishing line to fly off the reel at an even pace without tangling making them perfect for casting.
Anglers don’t rely solely on their rod & reel, however. There are a huge number of tools and accessories used for catching fish. They use nets, longlines, hand lines, fish finders, GPS systems, and rely on warm, water resistant clothing to help them stay out on the water for longer and find the fish in the first place.
Once upon a time, you could catch fish in pretty much any body of water. That is not the case in this day and age due to the decline in the numbers of fish. Restrictions are put in place by your local department of fisheries in order to preserve and encourage the repopulation of fish stocks, so it is important you follow the rules regarding where and when you can fish.
Fishing can be performed from a boat or kayak, or from the shore in both fresh and salt water. Your location will determine the kind of fish species that you can find.
You may need to purchase a license in order to target some species of fish. Others can only be targeted at certain times of the year coinciding with their spawning season. Most fish species, even those in the ocean, have a size limit and daily bag limit that applies to that species. Make sure you are not taking fish or shellfish species that are undersize. Not only will you be harming the growth of the population by taking them early, but you could find yourself with a hefty fine when you return to shore.
Make sure you only take home what you can eat and help our fish stocks return to the natural abundant state they were once in!
Still not sure where to start? Check out our guide to fishing gear for beginners.