Taking up a new sport can feel intimidating and even overwhelming. You may be wondering where to begin? Don’t fret! Fishing is all about fun, and is a sport that provides an opportunity to continually learn no matter your skills or experience level. With the increase in new anglers this year and with more people looking to explore local fishing opportunities in the Bay of Quinte area, I thought it would be a great time to put a list together of helpful tips for newcomers.
1 – Licensing and Regulations
The first step before heading out on the water is ensuring you are licensed to fish, along with reviewing the Ontario Fishing regulations so you’re familiar with which fish species are in season, catch limits, along with any species and areas that are off limits. If you fish without a valid fishing license or do not follow the Ontario Fishing Regulations, this can result in being fined. To learn more about fishing licenses and the fishing regulations in Ontario, visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/fishing
2 – Safety Requirements for Watercraft
If you’re heading on the water via a human-powered watercraft or motorized watercraft, Transport Canada has regulations in place on what safety items are required on board. Be sure you’re ready for your adventure and are up to date with the latest requirements whether you own or are renting watercraft.
3 – Dress For The Conditions
Being prepared for the weather conditions means a more comfortable and safer experience on the water. Ensure you bring applicable clothing to keep cool or warm protecting you from the elements. I also never leave home without a hat to help with sun protection and glare, as well as polarized sunglasses (which also offer eye protection). If you’re fishing from any type of watercraft, don’t forget your PFD. When children are near the water (even from shore) PFD’s are always a good idea.
4 – Learn About and Target Specific Fish Species
The Bay of Quinte is home to a variety of fish species providing year-round angling opportunities. Take the time to learn about specific fish species, such as: what type of areas they can be found in seasonally, what they eat, and what type of lures, presentations, and equipment is used. This can narrow down your search and can drastically increase your success rate.
5 – Get Out With Friends or Family
Spending time on the water with someone who knows the ropes can provide some great insight on fishing. Not to mention, it is a great way to make memories.
6 – Hire A Fishing Guide
As a fishing guide myself, I can tell you that the goal of a guide is to help you learn as much as possible during your outing, and to help you catch fish. Guides have extensive knowledge gained over years and years of practice, and provide you the opportunity to soak up all that information and take it with you on future outings.
7 – Fish Care
New anglers are often intimidated by learning to hold a fish for the first time, especially species with teeth. Learn how to handle various fish species in advance so that you can ensure successful catch-and-release if you don’t plan to keep your catch. Have pliers or forceps at the ready so you can quickly remove hooks and your catch won’t be out of water for long.
8 – Scour the Internet for Information
If you have a question about fishing, chances are someone has written an article on the topic, or created a video based on it. Spending time reading blogs, articles, and watching videos on fishing is a great way to learn valuable information that you can put to use on the water. Social networks such as Facebook and Fishbrain have groups focused around specific types of fishing. There are also independent fishing forum websites such as www.quintefishing.com
9 – Get To Know Your Local Tackle Shop
Tackle shops are great places to go for gear and equipment. Staff are often anglers themselves who love to chat and share information to help you catch more fish. With all the anglers they see popping in and buying tackle, they can also offer advice on local fishing recommendations, and usually have the low down on what lures and presentations are popular.
(A note from the BoQ team. Here are a few places to get you started: Quinte Bait, Pro Tackle Fishing and High Falls Outfitters.)
10 – Clubs
There are a variety of types of fishing clubs nowadays from bass tournament clubs, to fly fishing, to kayak fishing, and more. Joining a club is a great way to learn from others, participate in fishing events, as well as a great way to meet likeminded anglers.
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