Top Fishing Mistakes New Anglers Should Avoid

As a new angler, things can be a bit daunting at times. There are tons of places to fish, and lures in every color of the rainbow – where do you start? Here are three fishing mistakes that I think new anglers should avoid.


Bad Etiquette

I am using this as a catch-all for general bad behavior on the water. Here are some examples:

  • Fishing too close to others: If you have to ask, “Am I too close?”, you’re too close. The ocean/bay/river or wherever it is you’re fishing is a big place, go find your own spot.
  • Leaving trash: Pick up after yourself, and pick up trash in general. Try to leave your spot nicer than you found it.
  • Disregard for regulations: Regulations on the harvest of certain species are in place for a reason, follow the law.
  • Poor fish handling: Take one or two photos and get it back in the water, don’t stick your hands into gills, and don’t use dry hands, rags, or gloves to handle fish (this can remove their protective slime coat leaving them vulnerable to disease). Read my proper fish-handling tips here.
  • Disrespect for the environment: Running your motor in no motor zones, carving up the bottom by running in too shallow of water, throwing a wake in a no-wake zone. Don’t be a Qualified Captain. 


Stomach supported one pick and then back in the drink (if you look closely, you see that he’s still dripping).


Lack of Time on the Water 

While the fishing mistakes that I listed above relate to others and what’s around you, this is all about making yourself a better angler. You simply can’t go fishing once every two weeks and expect to consistently catch fish or become a better angler. You have to put the time in on the water and work hard to become a better fisherman. If it’s windy, hot, cold, or rainy (within reason, don’t fish in a lightning storm), just go – you can’t catch from the couch! Here’s how you can become a better cold-weather angler.


A sheepshead caught during a February wade fishing trip. I am wearing waders in this picture, the water temp was in the 50s, yet we had a killer day.


Giving Up on a Cast

You just never know where a fish will eat. My very first snook ate a topwater right at the shore, feet from me – I was half a second from pulling it out of the water! Since then I have had trout, bass, tarpon and many others come out of nowhere nearly jumping onto dry land to eat. In that same vein, sometimes that perfect cast goes arie and you’re a little short of the target – fish it anyway, you never know what could happen! Don’t give up on your casts.




That’s a Wrap!

Mistakes are an every-trip occurrence when you’re just starting out – don’t sweat it. Even when you’re very experienced, you’ll still make plenty of fishing mistakes. There are two very important points I want to end with, the first is that you learn from your mistakes and end up better for it. The second is the importance of etiquette, I made it the first point in this article for a reason – pay attention to it.

Until next time, tight lines.

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