By David Lifka
If you are new to fishing, just getting started may seem to be a bit intimidating. Equipment, tackle, when, where, how, and costs are just a few of the many thoughts that come to mind — not to mention what to do with the fish after you catch them. However, with a little time, effort, and outdoor fun, you might just discover that these hurdles weren’t quite as high as you first thought.
Choosing the right equipment and tackle will depend on where you are fishing and what you are fishing for. A six- to seven-foot medium action rod with a matching medium sized spinning reel will cover a surprisingly large number of fishing situations in our area. Most rods and reels have recommended line sizes stamped on them making it easy to create matches. Somewhere in the 10 to 17 pound test range should be fine.
Tackle, such as hooks, weights and floats, will vary depending on what you are fishing for. Most any bait store or sporting goods store should be able to help you with this task. Friends that are already in the know can be great source of information as can a few simple searches on the internet.
Having expensive gear is not going to catch more fish for most people. Often very nice fishing rods and reels can be purchased at very reasonable prices. Look for sales at big brand sporting goods and fishing stores. Online shopping sites such as eBay can be a great resource for buying tackle in quantity with great savings.
Knowing when and where to fish will become part of your accumulative knowledge. Watch, copy, and learn from those fishing around you. Experience will be your best teacher.
Keeping fish as you catch them is not as easy as it may seem. Florida’s fishing regulations are numerous and sometimes confusing. Species, size, quantity, geographical location, and seasons all have roles as to what you can and cannot keep. Always stay informed through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s website and publications (http://myfwc.com/).
Try to never waste your catch. On the days your catch may fall short of a meal, freeze your cleaned fish in a solid block of ice by using a zip lock bag or plastic container. Fish can easily keep for a year this way which should be enough time catch more for your dinner.
Fishing Report: The St. Johns River is as salty as it has ever been for years. Anything goes for saltwater species easily as far south as Green Cove. Weakfish bite has been strong in the St. Johns with cut croaker the preferred bait.
Whether you catch one, some, or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.