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Everything you need to know before going fishing

Read the below before you hit the water.
Read the below before you hit the water. ROBERT WATKIN

Your fishing essentials checklist

'TIS the season for hitting the water and throwing in a line, but if you're no seasoned pro, it can be a little daunting on where to start.

We've made it easy and pulled together this fishing essentials guide so everyone can get outdoors this summer.

Here is your six-part checklist to take to the tackle shop before heading out on the water.

Rods: Probably the most important piece of equipment you'll need, so do your research and find one that best suits you. A rod about eight feet in length is usually good for a beginner as it's a fairly 'all-purpose' size, but if you're doing beach or rick fishing, you'll need a longer one - check the 10-12 foot range. As a beginner, you'll want to learn how to 'feel the fish' so get a rod that is sensitive enough to teach you the different triggers, rather than something cheap and nasty that will leave you wondering why you can't catch a fish - and may turn you off the sport all together!

Reels: The most common reel for beginners and experiences fishermen is the spinning reel. Imagine it as a handheld eggbeater, the spinning reel is easy to use and does everything you need it to. The size and weight should be paired to the rod, and also yourself.

Lines: Depending on where you plan to fish, and what you're hoping to catch on the other end, your line should match that. If you're planning to hook marlins, you'll want a strong line, but if you're just doing some regular fishing, you won't need one so hard-core.

Fishing tackle: Think of your tackle box as the 'sewing kit' of the fishing world. It's got all the little bits and pieces you'll need like sinkers, hooks, swivels etc. If you're not an expert at picking them all up individually, there are heaps of tackle kits on the market with all the basics already sorted inside. Just make sure you ask the expert in the store if you need any additional things to suit the style of fishing you plan to do.

Lures: These are as an alternative to bait, and often favoured among many fishermen, again depending on what they're hoping to catch and where they're throwing in a line. Lures come in all different shapes, sizes, materials and colours to suit different species of fish. Don't just pick the ones you think are the prettiest, they look that way to attract a certain type of fish, so make sure you tailor your lure selection to suit the fish you want to catch. The good news is, there are also plenty of all-purpose lures out there which suit most types of fish so it pays to stock up on these to suit all occasions. More good news - get a FREE packet of lures with the paper today! More details below. 

Cooler box: No not to keep your stubbies cold (though you might want one for that too), the cooler box is to keep the fish in once you've caught them. Unless you're out to catch and release, this is what you'll need if you plan to take your catch home for dinner. 

Now you're all kitted-out, don't miss out on our amazing trio of fishing giveaways, that could see you win the ultimate fishing trip, a $5000 BCF voucher plus gets you a free packet of lures and a free fishing ruler. Check it out HERE.

Juggernaut flies the flags of its marlin captures at the Golden Lure game fishing tournament in Port Macquarie in January.
Juggernaut flies the flags of its marlin captures at the Golden Lure game fishing tournament in Port Macquarie in January. Paul Parker

WIN a stack of reely cool prizes!

THEY say good things come in threes, and going by our latest raft of giveaways - that's bloody spot on!

We're giving away a bundle of the best prizes we could muster, and we know you'll be more than stoked with what's on offer.

Here's the lowdown:

1.       Win the Ultimate Fishing Adventure for you and a mate, worth more than $2,500. Imagine enjoying a full-day Odyssey Charter fishing adventure on the Sunshine Coast with tackle, travel costs and accommodation included. To top it off, we'll throw in a $1000 BCF voucher. All you have to do is collect two tokens (published in paper each day until February 17), attach them to your completed entry form (published in paper Saturdays and Wednesdays until February 17) and post to the address listed on the entry form. We've got one to giveaway in our region, so a local is guaranteed to win - get your name in now.

2.       Get a packet of FREE fishing lures and a FREE fishing ruler with your newspaper. Grab the paper today and swap the token inside for a set of three fishing lures at your local participating newsagent. Make sure you get the paper next Saturday, February 11, too - the token inside can be swapped at your local participating newsagent for a handy fishing ruler.

3.       Win a $5000 BCF voucher. We've got a whopping $5000 BCF voucher up for grabs for one lucky winner across the ARM footprint. Imagine the gear you could get with that! To enter, just head online until February 17 and enter your details.

Check out all the details HERE

 

Learn the lingo

Before you hit the water, brush up on some of these common fishing terms so you look super impressive.

Snag: Not a sausage you'd chuck on the barbie. This is a structure or object your hook could get caught on - like a log under the water.

Trolling: Trailing your bait behind the boat or watercraft so it drags through the water, attracting fish to a moving target.

Sinker: Weight on the fishing line to sink it into the water.

Setting the hook: Once you feel the fish on the hook, you need to make sure it's staying there. Setting the hook means increasing the tension on the line to ensure the hook embeds into the fish's mouth.

Jigging: Lifting and lowering your bait in the water, encouraging the fish to strike.

Doughnut: Like getting out for a duck, a 'doughnut' is catching the doughnut-shaped '0' amount of fish during a session. Not ideal.

Man in the grey suit: Shark. Also not ideal.

Long wand: Fly fishing rod.

Popper: A hard-bodied lure that skips across the surface of the water during cast or retrieve.

Dolly: Dolphin.

How to cast

1.       Hold the rod with your dominant hand, reel facing down (unless your rod's reel faces upwards). The bar that joins the reel to the rod should usually sit between your ring finger and middle finger, but find whatever feels most comfortable to you.

2.       Pull out the line so you have about 20cm of line hanging out the top of the rod.

3.       Use your index finger to hold the line between the reel and the first rod loop.

4.       Open the bail of the reel with your other hand.

5.       Point the rod at your target.

6.       You can either pull the rod upwards so it's standing vertical, or swing it around to the side. From there, swing your rod back to the main target, flicking the wrist to ensure it gets enough leverage.

7.       When the tip of the rod is halfway to the target, release your index finger and the reel will release more line and send the lure flying to where you want it to go. That's the idea, anyway.

Topics:  fishing outdoor-living