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From the Spring 2010 Conservationist for Kids

Diagram of how to fly cast

Let's Go Fishing

By Joelle Ernst and Greg Kozlowski

Fishing Checklist

  • 5-6 foot spincasting rod and reel combo using 8 pound test line
  • Bobbers (1 inch)
  • Size # 8 "Aberdeen" or "circle" hooks
  • Bait (worms)
  • New York State Fishing Regulations Guide

Safety Checklist

  • Sunblock
  • Sunglasses (polarized work best for seeing into water)
  • Hat
  • Drinking water and snack
  • Take an adult along (They'll need a fishing license.)

You need a fishing license if you are 16 years old or older. For details, visit the Fishing Licenses page or see the Fishing Regulations Guide.

How do I get started?

Using a spincasting rod:

1. Press and hold down the reel's release button. Using wrist action (not the whole arm), slowly bring the rod straight up over your shoulder.
2. Next, gently sweep the rod forward, causing the rod to bend with the motion.
3. As the rod moves in front of you, reaching about the 10 o'clock position, release your thumb from the button.
The bend in the rod casts the bobber and bait out. You have just made a cast!

Use an improved clinch knot to attach your hook to the line.

Bait your hook as shown. You can use imitation baits if you don't want to use real worms.

Use a bobber and worm rig:

Change the depth of the bait by sliding the bobber up and down the line until you catch fish.


When the bobber goes under the water, you've hooked a fish! Give the line a quick jerk that's hard enough to move the bobber and set the hook in the fish's mouth, but not so hard that you send the hook, bait and/or fish flying over your shoulder. Now, reel in the line until you can pick up the fish with your hand or net.

To take a fish off the line, hold it firmly around the body. Watch out for sharp spines on some fish's fins. To remove the hook, push it down and turn it so it comes out the way it went in.

Also see Fishing Basics.