The Sunday Guide to (Maybe) Catching Fish

Jason Donahoe/June 15, 2014

While it’s only just begun, summer always seems to slip away so quickly. Before you can say “heatwave,” the backyard barbecues, ballgames, and outdoor concerts have come and and gone. But fret not: there’s nothing quite like fishing for making those summer days last (and last).

So, here’s our Sunday guide to kicking back, slowing down, and (maybe) catching some fish. Here’s what you’ll need: A rod, bait, a float, a lead weight, a hook, and a (big) cooler full of your favorite beer.

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Rods
Fishing rods come in a variety of sizes and functions. For bang-for-your-buck simplicity and sheer Mark Twain-level flair, a cane pole (bamboo, fiberglass, or—shoot—even a stick) with some line knotted at the end will do you just fine. For something a little bit more sophisticated, but still low commitment, a spin casting rod, either pistol-gripped or straight handled, is your next step up. Literally, push down the trigger, cast, and wait.

There are other types of rods, of course: spinning rods, bait casters, and saltwater rods. If you’re ready for those, you probably don’t need to be reading this guide. Let’s not even get started on fly fishing…

Once you’ve picked out the right rod for you, it’s a good idea to give it a nice name (The Crud Catcher, The One Liner, The Pole-ish Terror, Fish Stick) and then congratulate yourself with a cold beer.

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Bait
Science has given us many wonderful things over the years: electricity, modern medicine, the internet, and “power baits” (the pillowy florescent artificial baits that smell like the real thing). If you fancy yourself a sophisticate, there are a slew of other doodads and whizzbangs, called lures, that can grab a fish’s attention with movement, vibration, flash, and color. And while they certainly work great, sometimes it’s nice to just keep things natural. Grasshoppers, shrimp, chicken livers, minnows, bacon, salmon eggs. All will do. But we much prefer the old standby: worms. You can grab the night crawlers from your local angling shop, or roll up your sleeves and scour that compost heap for a dozen or so. Once you’ve gathered your bait, congratulate yourself with a cold beer.

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Choosing A Spot
While seasoned anglers may know the best lakeside nook for catching walleye, or the preferred swampland sanctum for snagging Flounder and perch, we are of the opinion that the best fishing spots are those easily accessible with a cooler in hand, preferably shaded, and particularly conducive to radio reception. Spend a few minutes poking around, and once you’ve found yourself the perfect spot, congratulate yourself with a cold beer.

Catching Fish
Now the term “fishing” can sometimes be a dubious one. Does it still count as “fishing” if you don’t actually end up catching any fish? In a deeper sense, fishing is means of reconnecting with our ancient past, indulging the human instinct to hunt, gather, and provide by combined use of our wits and ingenuity. In a more literal sense, it’s a damn good excuse to stand next to a body of water for a few hours and slow things down. Whether you catch anything or not, congratulate yourself with a cold beer.

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