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How to Teach a Total Newbie

5/23/20 @ 7:36 PM
262 Fishing
262 Fishing
User since 8/10/18

With the free-fishing weekend coming up, I plan on taking a few people out who have never been fishing before.  Focusing on adults since kids can fish without a license anyway.  I know what works for me, but I'm looking for suggestions how how to teach somebody who is starting from the very beginning.

I don't really plan on actually fishing myself since my attention will be getting them on fish.  I might throw a lure out here and there, but if I get hooked up, I'll pass the rod to them.  I figure a spinning reel with a Mepp's style lure that doesn't take much thought or effort would be a good place to start.

Help me teach others!

6/26/20 @ 6:58 PM
262 Fishing
262 Fishing
User since 8/10/18

Go figure, life got in the way of fishing and we didn't make it out that weekend. We'll be rescheduling soon and I'll pay for her licence (I think their first license is only $5 for residents).

I recently did a video talking about beginner setups and highlighted Mepp's because that's what I grew up with, so that will definitely be ready to go as an option.

6/26/20 @ 5:30 PM
User since 3/17/06

When my kids were little,  i just put a plastic worm on their rods, took em to a good largemouth bass lake and told them to fling it out as far as they could,  count to 30 and slowly reel in. They caught some big bass at very young ages, up to 5 lbs. My 7 year old son caught a bass so big it towed his kayak across a bay before he managed to corral it in a net

6/26/20 @ 9:12 AM
User since 11/21/14

I would start them off with a jig and tail combination with a slow retrieve so they can learn to feel the difference between the bottom and a bite for walleye. Otherwise you can't go wrong with a hook and minnow with a slip bobber for crappie. 

5/30/20 @ 8:46 AM
MEMBER since 2/16/04

Free fishing weekend is June 6 and 7...... coming up soon! Lots of good stuff here, and on the teaching kids to fish threads from earlier posts. You can get people casting from a boat to learn but a short lesson on shore might not be a bad idea first. Other tips not mentioned yet is the use of trigger spin rods as a training tool (see pic). They give beginners a jump start to actual spinning gear with the same hand holds and similar  release action. The other tip is to use simple drop shot rigs with sinker on the bottom and one or two baited hooks tied above to keep the bait up out of the mud and in the strike zone.

5/26/20 @ 2:19 PM
User since 5/5/06

Get some wax worms and ice jigs if the fish are finicky a foot or two under a bobber can save the day. Chippman

5/26/20 @ 8:38 AM
User since 12/22/04

there is no greater test of your skill putting total newbs on fish.   inline mepps are usually a good bait, but around here they usually work best at first and last light, not the time most newbs are on water unless it is stormy.  I would target bass and the wacky rigged senko with circle hook is hard to beat.  Make sure you use a circle hook because then you dont want to worry about fish being gut hooked.   Those circle hook rigs cast easy, and are hard to hurt yourself and others with.  I have no problem letting my three kids all chuck them at same time and it is far safer then with panfish setups.

They other thing I have done is go to lake like Okauchee/Pewaukee where you stop for lunch at a bar on lake.  That is half the fun for people eating on lake.  Even with COVID, you can probably do carry out and eat on dock or from boat.  

5/26/20 @ 6:45 AM
MEMBER since 6/15/01

nice idea... might want to take a pliers and mash down some barbs !

5/25/20 @ 9:34 PM
262 Fishing
262 Fishing
User since 8/10/18

Thanks for all the tips so far. I think I'll do panfish with bobbers and worms, but have a few easier lures to mix things up if they want.

I hadn't even considered what to do if the fish aren't biting. I'm bringing a former coworker I haven't seen in a while so I'm not worried about passing the time, but good thinking on having a cooler with snacks.

Now I just have to figure out where the fish are. I figure by then the gills should be up under the docks by then.  Hoping to stay in Waukesha County, so I'll start scouting soon.

5/25/20 @ 5:00 PM
User since 3/1/15

262 Fishing, 

Great idea.  In addition to your free fishing weekend, know that Wisconsin DNR is trying to encourage new fishermen by offering a one day nominal reduced rate available online.  

Having taken many groups of novice fisherman, here are some things to consider:

1) Keep things as simple as possible; Leave the baitcasters at home and opt for spincast and spinning tackle.  Simple bobbers and Aberdeen hooks with live bait are best.  Leeches will get a lot of action as long as the water is above 63 degrees.  Bring extra equipment for when (not if) tangles and equipment problems occur.  Targeting panfish is often preferred.

2) Your idea of hooking fish and passing the rod is a great idea that we have used.  In time they will get the rhythm/ timing of a hook set.  Until then, all they want to feel is something pulling back on the line.

3) Prepare for what to do when fish are not biting.  We have found that with both kids and adults, a full cooler of food and drinks is a great way to bide time for when fish are not cooperating.

4) Allow them an "out" when they have had enough.  The rule on our boat is when one person needs a break/bathroom visit, we all motor back to shore and walk off our sea legs.  There is nothing worse than feeling like a "false imprisonment" fishing situation.  Personally you might be able to fish 20 hours a day.  Be mindful that your guests might not have that sort of attention span for the sport.

5) Encourage sunglasses as a safety mechanism.  No, seriously.  A bunch of people learning to cast is a recipe for a trip to the ER to remove a hook.  Things happen quickly out there. 

6) Keep a sense of humor about the whole process.  One of my favorite experiences fishing was when we took out some of my wife's roommate's young sons and husband.  There was a long lull in the fishing so when the youngest son was digging through the cooler of food I hooked up a banana to his hook and cast it out.  The look on his face when he reeled in a tropical fruit he thought was a fish was priceless.  A picture of him holding it up like a trophy fish is in the middle of our refrigerator.

Best of luck with your outing,  what a great thing for you to do for people.


5/25/20 @ 2:37 PM
User since 5/4/20

Great topic and great trout video that you shared "Tree Stand..."!

I am new to Lake=Link and have a new YT fishing channel, but in addition to sharing my love of fishing, I put this video together as a way to help new anglers find success.  Feel free to check it out if you want! 

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