TIPS FOR INTRODUCING NEWCOMERS TO FISHING
For fishos, fishing can become all-encompassing. I passed the obsessed with fishing test and spend hours at work playing back catches I made the previous weekend in my mind, casting imaginary lures by the cooler and Googling the best fishing locations up and down the country. But I have never excelled at passing this passion on to anyone else. I always end up bombarding them with information, and my passion comes across as a weird and creepy obsession.
I have had to seriously review the way I talk about fishing to non-fishos. I want to be able to share my passion in a way that inspires others, a way that doesn’t make them want to avoid my eye contact when they see me or pretend to be on their phone when they are trapped in a lift with me.
I am sure I am not the only fisho out there that has bombarded a novice with thoughts on flies, retrieve technique and reel size when they simply asked for a little help getting into the sport. Here is what I have learnt from conversations with newcomers about the sport of fishing.
FISH EASY SPECIES WHEN YOU TAKE NEWCOMERS OUT
Nothing deters beginner fishos from the sport like spending a day out on the water without taking any fish. It makes them perceive that the sport is boring and will involve endless days staring at a flat body of water hoping a bite comes along (sometimes this inevitably happens but best wait until they are hooked on the sport before you reveal this to a novice). Pick a reliable spot and an active species you can count on to introduce a friend to the sport.
Choose a day with nice weather as well. Even veteran fishos lament spending an early morning at the riverside in torrential rain and freezing temperatures. You want to make sure your novice is comfortable and goes away with fond memories of the sport.
FOCUS ON THE FUNDAMENTALS AT THE BEGINNING AND NOTHING MORE
I was fortunate, my father was my mentor and he was an exceptional teacher. He taught science at the local high school most of his life and his profession was reflected in his teaching style. He taught me to cast on our front lawn, slowly introducing lessons on different flies and hooks on different days out on the water. Each time on the water I focussed on one part of the fly fishing application. I never felt overwhelmed or like he was asking me to do too much.
Even if you are showing another adult the ways of the sport, break it down into tiny, manageable chunks they can work on each time out on the water. There is no sense in trying to run before they can walk.
LET THEM BORROW YOUR GEAR
I let my mates who want to try the sport use my gear because I know it is good and reliable. Some tackle shops flog a load of rubbish to newbie anglers who aren’t savvy on what they are purchasing. I know if they are using my gear they have a quality rod, reel and the right line for the job.
A WORD OF CAUTION
If your newbie is your wife, girlfriend, partner, husband, significant other, or lover, I have to offer a word of warning. I would recommend (from personal experience) getting someone else to turn them onto fishing. Teaching your significant other how to fish can put some serious strain on the relationship and is something I will never try again.
Getting someone else involved in fishing can be an incredibly satisfying experience. Not only does it help our sport, it gives you a new fishing buddy and can rekindle your love for the sport as you explore it through fresh eyes.
What tips would give someone looking to get a mate involved in fishing? Let us know in the comments section below.