By NM Game and Fish
Get into angling, exploring and being a part of the great outdoors
For the past 15 years or so, introducing new anglers to the art and sport of angling has been a major part of my life. There is something magical about the moment someone is filled with joy while experiencing excitement of, and appreciation for, the great outdoors. A kid catching their first fish captures the quintessential embodiment of that feeling. And, it happens to adults, too. If you have seen it, you know what I mean. If you have not, it is such a neat experience.
Since taking on the author responsibilities for the Department’s weekly fishing report, I have been fortunate to meet so many different people from all walks of life. Naturally, our crossing paths derive from our shared interest in fishing. It has been fun to share tactics, strategies and techniques with many skilled anglers. It has been equally fun to meet people who are just entering angling endeavors and who want to prepare themselves for the journey into uncharted territory. It is new to them and just like any new hobby or sport, it can be sort of overwhelming.
Today, we lay out a plan for new anglers to keep it simple, have fun, catch fish and enjoy nature. Well, hopefully catch fish. As John Buchan said, “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.”
We hope we catch fish, but we always have fun. That’s how I see it.
Now, let’s discuss how to setup any beginner to have fun and have a high probability of catching fish. Do not over think it.
1. Buy a rod with a fishing reel you can operate. A push button cast reel can be underrated. It’s the easiest reel to use and is especially great for kids. A spin cast reel is good for pretty much any angler, and although the reel is slightly harder to learn to use compared to the push cast reel, it is much more capable.
Click here for a casting video for push button casting reel.
Click here for a casting video for spin cast reel.
2.Use worms if you are a beginner. Pretty much any fish eats worms. Maybe try different sized worms— ½ worm, ¼ worm, full worm etc., but almost every fish will eat worms.
3. If you are going for big-mouthed fish such as bass, use a one-inch long hook. If you are going for smaller fish or fish with smaller/softer mouths such as trout/bluegill use smaller hooks, maybe use a ¼ to ½ inch long worm.
4. Bring bobbers and weights. If one does not work, try the other. If you are fishing a stream or river, you will often need neither a bobber nor weight; the weight of the baited hook with worm is enough.
Remember that fish live off what their environment provides. Sometimes the best bait is the bait you can catch near where you are fishing. You can have a whole separate adventure searching for bait. Look under rocks and logs for worms and crickets. Look in grassy areas for grasshoppers. Catching natural bait is often the best bait for catching fish because that is what the fish are used to. And the bait is fun to catch, especially for kids.
Be respectful of the environment
In New Mexico, we have beautiful streams, rivers and lakes that we encourage people to enjoy. Part of enjoying these places is to enter, experience and not destroy. Encourage others to be stewards of the land. Lead by example. It is devastating to these locations when people show up and leave their trash.
Besides the point that leaving your trash turns an otherwise natural environment into an unsightly litter box, it passes on a terrible lesson to the next generation of outdoorsmen. It also harms wildlife. If two out of 10 people leave their trash, and 500 people visit the area, it equals a lot of nasty waste left in the outdoors. There are many wild animals that rely on our state’s limited water sources that might consume or become entrapped in leftover trash. These animals die from such negative overlaps in culture. Think of them. Think of the people who look up to you.
Lead by example and take the easy steps to haul your trash back to the city to dispose of it. Do it for your own outdoors enjoyment and the sake of everything in our great outdoors.
Learn more about Leave No Trace here.
If you have personal tips and tricks that you would like to share with your fellow anglers as we wait out the current restrictions, please email Dustin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social distancing is a challenge for all anglers; the itch to go fishing just keeps growing. But this is a time for all New Mexicans to pull together for the overall health of all our citizens and stay home. The Department reminds anglers it is their responsibility to be aware of closures and contact land managers for properties of interest when restrictions are lifted.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – https://www.blm.gov/new-mexico
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) – https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/covid19-updates
New Mexico State Lands – https://www.nmstatelands.org/resources/recreational-access/
New Mexico State Parks – http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/
New Mexico Open Gate Properties – http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/hunting/maps/open-gate-program/
New Mexico Wildlife Management Areas – http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/conservation/state-game-commission-lands/
Angler and outdoor recreationists should consult their local government’s website for information regarding specific city and town fishing access.