Fishing Tips for Beginners

(Tips from Seasoned Anglers)

Table of Contents

Lately, the fishing hobby has gained so much attention among the people of Malaysia. This relaxing and recreational activity is also a popular family activity to spend time together every week. But the learning curve of this hobby can be steep and there is so much to know before venturing into it in order to fully enjoy the experience.

Know Your Preferences

Each angler has his/her own interests and whims. A major fishing tips for beginners is to decide what to fish, where to fish, as well as to know your likes and dislikes before we start fishing. These factors are very important, there are many fishing environments such as the sea, beach, river, lake, pond or even rice fields, each with its own details and surprises.

The set of equipment you will buy and use also depends on those choices. For example, if an angler is prone to seasickness, then avoid boat fishing or trolling locations and products. Other anglers may wish to catch fish as soon as possible, then a spinning rod and spinning reel combo would be easier to learn and find early success. For those that prefer big fish, then you’ll need big lures and stronger set ups.

Not uncommon, some would focus on leisure and comfort fishing rather than prioritizing going to extremes to catch fish. This is to ensure the experience of your first fishing trip is enjoyable and that your learning is paced.

Choose A Fishing Style To learn

There are many fishing styles for new anglers to get into. A lot of fishing tips and innovations for each style are available online, picking up a fishing skill has never been easier. 

Each fishing style requires its own innovative techniques and has its own challenges and thrills. A patient and laid back angler would enjoy bottom fishing and waiting for fish bites. The angler with a hunter’s instinct might prefer bait casting that is always on the lookout for fishes and casting constantly.

The physical and strong saltwater angler might prefer jigging amidst strong currents and testing the ocean’s multitude of depths. Some common fishing styles are the following:

Find A Location

Choosing where to fish can involve many factors: the target fish of the angler, the weather and tide forecast, the active seasons of the target fish, but equally as important for new anglers is that it should also be a location that they would enjoy going to. 

Online research and all the forecast and analysis data online can help with maximizing fish catching. There are websites and apps like tide-forecast, navionics, and accuweather that provides forecast for tide, ocean depths, and weather respectively.

Some friendly tips are for motion sickness anglers is to avoid the boat and ocean fishing at the start. If you dislike insects, then heavy cover fishing at jungle and swamps may not be for you while saltwater fishing on a boat or at the docks may be more suitable. Also, many other anglers would wish to have sunscreen to survive sunny and open locations with its UV rays.

Freshwater Fishing tips

To fish for freshwater fish we have several options. The river or lake are the typical choices. Apart from that we can also choose swamps, marshes, paddy fields, and ponds. If the angler’s target is popular freshwater game fish like snakeheads and hampalas then the lake and marshes are the better choices.

Among the popular lakes in Malaysia are Tasik Kenyir, Tasik Banding, and Tasik Pedu. For snakehead fans, they can try their luck in paddy fields, canals, water lines or creeks.

Saltwater Fishing Tips

It is important to note that saltwater fishing is more challenging and involves relatively higher costs. Example of the costs to be incurred are like renting a boat and buying better and higher quality fishing gear to match the larger and gallant fish species compared to freshwater fishing.

The fishing tackle required are also more expensive due to their anti corrosion features. However, saltwater fishing can also be done in the river mouth area and also at the beach, although you may only be able to catch small fish. Seahawk has many quality saltwater reels like the Apex SWBarricade SW PlusLite Pro SW, and Xeon SW.

Research is Key

One of the most important thing to do before a fishing trip is research. An angler’s research can strongly determine his/her fishing experience, safety, enjoyment, and whether or not they go home empty-handed. Ideally, the angler researches what fish to catch, which location to catch those fishes, what bait attracts fish and that catch fish’s attention, the safety and dangers of the location, the presence of weed beds at that location, etc.

If we are not sensitive to this we will fail for example when we want to go fishing in Tuas Kedah which is known for its bigger mackerels, the wrong bait or too weak a fishing line weight would set anglers up for failure.

Similarly, when we arrange a trip to Tukun Perak which is famous for its aggressive giant trevallies and deeper waters, then our equipment must be heavy duty to match the strength of the species at that location, as well as have sufficient line capacity in cases where the fishes swim to deeper waters.

Typical popular fishing lures in lakes or rivers such as crickets, frogs, worms, caterpillars, oil palm fruit, fruits as well as lures for casting are good to know, but a better fishing tip is that the live bait and lures can vary significantly for a given species and its location.

The preparation of food and water supplies is also important to consider because some fishing trip locations requires cooking your own food. While other very important tools such as compass, flashlight, power bank and more should be brought.

One of the best ways to obtain reliable fishing tips and locate fish for beginners is by asking the boat captains and local residents of the location, and also experienced anglers, in addition to reading a lot in magazines, websites, and social media.

Learn About Fishing Product Basics

There is an abundance of fishing products on the market. As a new angler it can be intimidating to learn and choose which fishing products to buy. An angler needs to be smart in choosing products that are not just suitable for his/her next fishing trip but also for the future fishing trips to come.

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While there are always product recommendations for each situation and occasion, an important fishing tip for beginners is to identify the combinations that they would enjoy using most.

Therefore the knowledge of the basic fishing equipment is crucial to have and your local tackle shop would be a good place to start your enquiries. A soldier needs to know his/her “weapons” and “protection” well before entering the battlefield.

Fishing Rods

The body of your setup, the fishing rod is considered by many anglers the most important part of the rig. The right fishing rod for an angler for fishing at a specific location can vary slightly or drastically from other anglers. It is based on many factors. The important terms to know are rod blank, rod tip, rod length, power, and action.

A reliable fishing tips for beginners is to start with fibreglass rod blanks as they are strong and do not snap easily. Carbon blank rods are easier to snap and more suitable for experienced anglers that prioritizes sensitivity. Beginner anglers are advised to use moderate/medium action medium power rods with line weight from 8lb to 20lb with a length of 6’0” to 6’7”. These ratings and measurement are usually engraved on the rods.

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These fishing tips gives you an easy to use rod setup that can catch many different fish species that are commonly found in lakes and rivers. For example, Seahawk’s fishing rods are reliable and diverse rods that are very affordable.

Seahawk has many different entry-level rods for beginners as well as many premium rods for advanced and demanding anglers. Purchase a rod that suits the soul of the angler, and the feel and suitability of the fish target.

Here are the several rod actions, namely:

  • Extra Heavy – rod bends only at the end of the rod tip.
  • Heavy- rod bends at the last quarter of the rod length
  • Medium Heavy – rod bends at middle
  • Medium – rod bends at second quarter of rod length
  • Slow – rod bends at first quarter neat the handle

While beginners are recommended to use moderate actions rods, anglers should know that rod action plays a huge role in lure play and catching fish. A pro fishing tip is to choose a rod action that would enrich your own style of lure play.

Extra fast and fast action rods are commonly used to entice and attract fish using top water lure play. The more aggressive fishes like the largemouth bass and northern pike are more easily baited by fast action lures in shallow water that mimics a flopping fish. Whereas some bigger and slower fish in the deep ocean like groupers may prefer slower action that allows them to keep up.

Fishing Reels

The engine of your set up would be the fishing reel. While an anglers fishing technique and success is less dependent on the reel than the rod, it is still a vital fishing gear to take into account to catch your fish target or catch more fish.

Often, reel tips for beginners would be to start with spinning reels as they are much easier to cast and use. Casting reels are more advanced and expensive, beginners often find themselves in a tangle using casting reels. The reel needs to have sufficient max drag to be able to tussle with your target fishes. A larger fish would thus require a larger reel with a stronger max drag. Your reel should also have sufficient line capacity to fit the desired fishing line or risk running out of line to give when the fish pulls and retreats too deep.

As such, reliable fishing tips should encourage anglers to consider the size of the fish and the depths of water when choosing their reels. If an angler prefers to use monofilament line to prioritize strength, he/she may want to use fishing reels with shallow spools if the fish are in deeper water. For a more comprehensive reel read, click here. For a simpler guide, beginners should stick to reels that are:

  • Easy to use
  • Easily accessible
  • Easy to operate and maintain
  • Reasonably priced
  • Able to cast far distances

Fishing Lines

Currently, fishing lines are available in a variety of materials and diameters. A fishing line with a larger diameter is stronger than a line of a smaller diameter made of the same material. Fishing tips for beginners would be to choose the line whose size and weight can withstand the force of the fish, and that fits the the line capacity of the reel so that there is enough line to use.

The traditional line choice would be the monofilament line that is thicker, stronger, and has high abrasion resistance. There is also the increasingly popular braided line that are thin yet strong. An up and coming line is the “invisible” fluorocarbon line whose usage as a terminal tackle to showcase a more realistic floating bait fish has also created many successful angler.

Seahawk’s braided line series like the SOL 16X and the Gachiri 13X are the most popular and advanced in Malaysia and South East Asia. Aside from those series, Seahawk has a complete range of fishing lines with different price points for different needs.

Fishing Lures

Fishing lures are often the first thing professional anglers look at to catch their target fish and they do not have to be expensive lures. To make sure the the lure is of attractive size and can fit into the fish’s mouth are important fishing tips for beginners. The size and weight of the lure will then affect the fishing rod choice as the rod will need to be able to handle the lure weight.

For those anglers that prefer the bait casting and heavy cover fishing style, lures are heavily preferred over baits. There are several types of lures in the market to use and its important to bring a few types for each fishing trip. These lures or artificial baits come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and actions, an angler would need to test different lures on their targets. Two fish of the same species could each prefer different lures.

Nevertheless, this article will focus on common lures that have a high success rate for beginners:

Soft plastic bait

For dragon fish fishing, one of the most popular artificial baits is the soft plastic Mini Frogie and Jumper Soft Lure. For new anglers, this lure is effective in the location of rice fields and grassy swamps.

Another great soft plastic bait is the Seahawk Live Shrimp which is shaped like a live shrimp. It is ideal for sea bass fishing in the river mouth. Toss it then let it sink to the bottom and reel back slowly. Perform with different reel speeds and depths to determine the whereabout of the fish.

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Spinnerbait

The spinnerbait is a must have for many. This spinnerbait has been around for years because of its high effectiveness in getting a fish to strike. The ideal location to use it is when the water visibility is low. The rotating blades creates underwater vibrations that helps the hungry fish find this lure.

Spinnerbaits are considered to be one of the popular lures for channa type fishes, especially dragonflies. This lure will have a fan blade that will emit noise while in the water and has a colorful skirt. There are two types of fans that are most common, which are the “Colorado” and “Willow”, where usually the Colorado fan is shaped like a shell and produces a stronger vibration while the Willow is better at showcasing more elegance in the water.

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Popper

If your fish targets are usually near the water surface, the popper lure would be smart choice. Popper lures are known for their opened and wide mouths, which when pulled against the water surface create a water force that attract certain fishes. Among the most popular poppers are coast mini popper, gt popper, and whopper popper. They are considered to be easy to use. The idea is to cast the popper onto the hot fish zones, and reel in the popper in short intervals

For more info on lures and how to choose them, click here.

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Research Fishing Rigs Setup

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Learning how to set up your fishing rig is as important as choosing the right products to buy. Using the right rig for the right situation is one of the fishing skills that takes some time to master. The main players of a rig are the fishing line, hook, lures/bait, accessories, and terminal tackles.

For example to execute bottom fishing, an angler would need to use a sinker/weight. The sinker is pinched onto the line using swivels. Fly fishing for rainbow trout on the other hand, requires more accessories like fly lines, leaders, and of course the fly. The basic bobber rig is most commonly seen on tv shows and is used to float the wax worms baited hook near the water surface.

For all rigs, the angler would need to tie knots. There are some basic knots that beginners can learn to be successful early. Some important knots to be learned are the improved clinch knot, the palomar knot, and the uni knot.

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Improved Clinch Knot
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Palomar Knot
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Uni Knot

Apparels and Accessories

For anglers who prioritizes safety and comfort, choose the right set of clothing and apparels can make or break their fishing trip. There are various types of clothing available in the market that cater to the different tastes and needs of consumers.

T-shirts, pants, headwear, shoes, sleeves, and even neckwear (gaiter). Finding the right combination of comfort and safety is key to the convenience, enjoyment, and even the success of a fishing trip. Here are some key considerations to guide your choice of apparels:

  • moisture wicking / quick dry technology
  • cover from sunlight and insects
  • fabric quality and breathability
  • light weight and mobility
  • anti-odor
  • easy washing, cleaning, and drying
  • bright colors to reflect heat

In addition, there are accessories for fishing, convenience, and safety purposes. Bringing the right tackle box, which can hold enough lures that the angler needs is very important. An array of bigger and smaller lures and baits is needed for anglers to adapt to different fishes and situations. A tackle bag is needed to hold all your accessories, but anglers should bring a tackle bag that complements their fishing style.

There are even tackle bags/boxes that acts as a seat, which is nice to have example for bottom fishing anglers that are waiting for a fish bite throughout the day. There are also sling bags that allow for quick and dynamic rig and lures setting, which bait casters would highly appreciate. For other anglers that worry about falling into the water, a wader belt and life jacket provides buoyancy when in water.

Other accessories you may need are:

Other Quick Tips

The Captain and the Boat

Ask the captain for information before your trip. The captain would have a lot of information on the species, location, safety, and expectations. Fishing on boats usually bring better catch results because it allows anglers to access deeper waters and bigger fishes. So ask about the boat as well.

Live Bait

Your live baits are like your ammunitions. Saltwater fishes typically prefer fresh squid and fish. Freshwater species like the bream fish are more likely to go for worms. Unpeeled shrimps, and sliced raw chicken liver also popular freshwater bait options. Shrimps are cheap lures for beginners to try.

Water Temperature

Certain species’ behavior and feeding activity is influenced by the water temperature. For example, lobsters would feed less in colder temperatures and move towards warmer waters. Thus, it is important to research the species and know the location water temperatures in advance.

Water and Tide Level

Saltwater fishes are known to feed more in between peak and trough tide levels, so anglers should strive to fish during those times. Some fishes and crustaceans are also easier to catch during low tides.

During high tides, your lures and baits may not be able to reach fishes that hide under rocks and sunken trees and logs. There are many resources online that forecasts tide levels.

Practice Casting and Spooling

Practice casting before the trip. Not knowing how to cast can ruin a fishing trip, especially when fishing from the shore or dock. The popular techniques are overhead casting, side arm casting, and under hand casting. Also learn how to spool your line onto your reel.

Silence is Key

Sometimes the captain encourages silence when fishing and those fishing tips should be heeded. Noises, celebrations, and echoes can scare some fishes away.

Use Sharp Hooks

If you use cheap hooks that are not sharp, you are unlikely to hook onto any fish.

Fishing Regulations

Some countries require their anglers to have a proper fishing license to fish. Fishing licenses often need to be paid in fees depending on the fishing duration. A fishing charter can be issued by some captains which often comes with a creel limit and possession limit.

Start Simple

If you are given a simple and complex solution to a problem, choose the former. Beginners should keep their products and rigs simple at the start and gradually adjust and adapt however they see fit.

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