Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime… is how the old proverb goes and for the last four or five fishing outing I have had I have been teaching relative new comers to fishing. From my father who taught me to fish but has never really used lures all the way down to my mother who has very little idea all the way to someone who had never even held a fish before yesterday.
It is a pleasurable thing, trying to teach someone to fish but I have learned from experience there are some things to do and some things to most definitely avoid.
The first and most important thing to avoid when taking someone new fishing is anything they can get hooked on other than fish. Coming from someone like me who loves fishing tight structure and making those challenging casts this was what caused the most frustration. Taking dad Bass fishing in a tight, snaggy creek, bad idea… Taking my girlfriend Barra fishing in the timber at Monduran… bad idea. I spent most of the time trying to unhook lures and I’m not just talking about “dang, I missed it by a couple of inches” but as Vicki puts it, “are you fishing for Koalas?” ten foot up in the tree and a long way in.
Casting and control tend to be the problems faced by newcomers. Needing to hit a small target area is a big no-no I’ve found. Try to pick a situation that will require opening the bail arm and casting with the wind. Control is the other hard part as noobs just don’t have it to begin with. Why does someone with less experience snag on the bottom so much more often than someone with lots? It’s the ability to know about where your lure is and what it’s doing. Is it on the bottom or running three feet under the water when the fish are at 25 feet?Open sand flats are perfect and the light really started to come on when I took my mother out fishing topwater for bream on a windy day. The fish weren’t huge but she, with little casting ability could turn what would be a 30ft cast on a calm day into the 120ft you need to catch fish. When Bream are switched on to topwater it can be pretty easy and I think mum caught more fish that one day than she ever had before.
The next breakthrough was trolling the main basin of Monduran rather than fishing the timber with my girlfriend of the time even though it kind of backfired since she caught a metre Barra before I did.
From there I’ve worked out what you can and cannot expect and try and pick the situation better based upon the limitations of person I’m fishing with. Deepwater Bass on blades are much easier than edge bites with TN60’s, Flathead are much easier than most other fish, casting towards bridges are easier than snags and if the fish are on the bottom make sure it’s not a snaggy one. Try and tailor the bite to suit them and you’ll have a lot more success.