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Related Advancement and Awards
- Tenderfoot requirement 1b
- Second Class requirements 1a and 4
- First Class requirements 1a, 6b, and 10
- Fishing, Fly-Fishing, and Fish and Wildlife Management merit badges
- Complete Angler recognition
Where to Fish – To identify good fishing locations, visit a local tackle store, or talk with fishermen you know. You can also find destinations through the TakeMeFishing website. Just look for the “Places to Boat and Fish” section.
Fishing Gear – The gear you will use depends on where you
choose to fish, the type of fish you want to catch, and the kind of equipment you can get. To get recommendations, contact local fish and wildlife agencies, tackle stores, and talk to friends or neighbors who fish. Your Scout camp may offer equipment, but it may be incomplete, so rechecking and repairing may be needed. Many families own fishing gear you might be able to borrow, and some state and local agencies have equipment they will loan. Just be sure to return gear in better shape than you receive it.
How to Detect a Strike and Set the Hook – If you are using live bait such as worms or artificial bait like Gulp or PowerBait, cast your line into the water, let the bait sink, and wait for the fish to take it. When you see the line move unnaturally (not with the current), a fish is taking the bait. Raise the rod tip sharply with a short tug. You should also feel the strike in the rod and see the rod tip bend, if only slightly. Set the hook in the same manner, and then the fight begins.
If you are using a lure that imitates a minnow, leach, frog, or other similar bait, you must cast it out and make the lure swim. You will retrieve the line by reeling it back toward you. This can be done slowly, somewhat intermittently, or rather fast. Different fish respond differently to the retrieve; some study and practice will reveal the best method.
How to Play and Land a Fish – The object is to bring the fish to you as quickly and efficiently as possible without having it break your
line or unhook itself. It is important not to allow too much slack. The fish will determine how you need to play it. Keep the rod tip high as the flexibility of the rod will absorb the bursts of pressure the fish brings. If the fish is strong enough to take the line out, set the reel’s drag system to keep tension but still let the line go off the reel without breaking. As the fish tires a bit, begin to reel it in until it makes another run. This is called playing the fish. Once you have control, either net it or bring it on the bank.
How to Remove the Hook and Release a Fish Safely – To handle a fish you wish to release, first wet your hand. Hold the fish gently, remove the hook, and get the fish back into the water quickly. You may need to hold the fish in the water facing forward and into the current, and move it back and forth gently to force water through its gills. It will then swim from your hand.
Staying Safe While Fishing
- Always use the buddy system.
- Let others know where you are fishing and when you will meet or return.
- Dress appropriately for the weather.
- Be observant to ensure that no one is in harm’s way while you are casting.
- Watch for steep inclines at the water’s edge and for rocks and stumps while wading.
- If someone is hooked, all parties must stop and not move. Remove the hook only if it is on the surface of the skin or on the clothing; otherwise, seek help for proper hook removal.
- Safety glasses or sunglasses are highly recommended.
- A large-brim hat is advisable to prevent overheating, reduce glare, and fend off any stray hooks coming your way.
- Be sure to have ample drinking water to avoid dehydration.
- Review the standard safety procedures concerning cuts, scratches, and other wounds.
- Understand that hypothermia can be a risk even during the summer months, and be sure you know how to prevent and treat heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
- A fishing rod can become a lightning rod. During thunderstorms, set your rod down until the weather clears.
Fishing Knots – A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and a fishing line is only as strong as its knots. It’s sad to lose a nice fish because of a poorly tied knot. In fishing, several knots serve specific purposes; several other knot options serve the same purpose. Click here for some useful knots you should know.
Fishing Tackle Checklist
- Tackle box
- Fishing rods, reels, and line
- Appropriate live bait and cool storage
- Assorted lures, hooks, and flies
- Bobbers, snap swivels, and sinkers
- Nail clippers, pliers, and forceps
- Backup monofilament line and leaders
- Landing net and measuring device
- Fish identification booklet
- Stringer for keeping fish
- Fish-cleaning knife and cooking equipment
- Fishing regulations and license (if required)
- First-aid kit
- Proper shoes and spare socks
- Sunscreen (with an SPF of at least 15) and insect repellant
- For comfort, safety, and being prepared for the weather conditions, consider rain gear, a bandanna, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
|Fishing||Information||Troop Meetings||Main Event