The methods used to catch fish have changed throughout history.
Amateur fishing today is limited mostly to fishing with rods and lines, as indiscriminate netting takes more fish than the resource can provide.
Some types of low impact amateur netting or trapping are permitted in some areas, especially for crabs, prawns, squid and lobsters.
But for the purposes of this article, we will discuss fishing with rod and line.
How to catch fish
First, determine the most common species locally available. The more abundant fish will likely be the easiest to find.
Secondly, determine what seasons these fish are available, as some fish are about all year while others come and go with seasons.
Legal closed seasons and fishing gear restrictions may apply, and bag limits. Check your local fisheries department website for legal requirements before fishing.
Thirdly, obtain appropriate fishing gear and bait for the species you target.
A handline with hook and sinker is the cheapest fishing gear, but also the most limited in application.
A rod and basic spinning reel makes fishing easier. Nylon line is cheap, works well and the clear nylon material helps fools the fish.
Braided or gelpsun lines are popular but are more expensive.
If you are fishing off a beach or rocks you will need a longer, stronger fishing rod and heavier line than you will need when fishing a lake or stream.
You will need a selection of hooks and sinkers, and perhaps also some floats which are used to suspend baits under water.
You only need to learn two knots to fish effectively, and most fishing can be done with one. For nylon lines, learn a loop knot and the locked half blood knot.
Look up how to make a fishing rig using these knots, both with sinker and hook, or float and hook. There are many sinker rigs, but the two simplest are the running sinker rig, and the paternoster rig. Sometimes you do not even need a sinker, just cast out the baited hook.
Fourthly, determine the best fishing location in your area, and the best fishing time for that location – most fish in tidal waters feed as the tide comes in and approaches the day’s peak level.
Some fish are caught mostly at night, while others are caught in daylight. Do the research and find out. Though fishing at night can be very effective, it is not easy when you are a beginner.
Fifthly, obtain fresh bait. Fish respond best to fresh or live bait. Tackle shops can help with supplies of frozen bait.
Bait must only be harvested where it is legally permitted to do so.
With the above points covered, your fishing trips will soon be successful.
Fishing is a learning game. Learning to cast a rig is an important skill, try practising at home before fishing.
Avoiding line tangles is another skill, this can be frustrating at first.
Expect to get your rig occasionally stuck on rocks and timber and to lose tackle this way.
YouTube is a great source of information on how to catch fish, and prepare fish for eating.
Keep in mind that sharks and rays make a fine meal if appropriately prepared.
Also keep in mind that in some metro waters fish can be tainted by pollution. Do your research before eating local fish.