LINCOLN – Consider your motivations for enjoying fishing. Is it to grab a meal, compete for the biggest fish, escape the stresses of life, or be with friends?
To faithfully mentor a new fisherman, whether young or old, you probably have to start by asking why the fisherman wants to fish. The fisherman may have some experience but is always looking to learn. From there, add the time, location, and equipment needed to have enjoyable fishing trips together.
Keep it simple. The first tries in any new hobby should be learning the basics. With fishing, that means keeping equipment simple and efficient. Novelty gear and gear tend to require a touch of experience and can be intimidating to learn. The first experiences must be comfortable and successful. Your friend’s memory of a beautiful sunset and any caught fish will hook them fishing for life.
Plan the location of the fishing trip for comfort and success. If the person is new to fishing, a short fishing trip in a park-like setting is perfect. City Park Ponds are found throughout Nebraska and feature groomed shores, toilets, and nearby services, most of which contain plenty of crappie, bass, and catfish.
The Public Fishing Areas section of the Nebraska Fishing Guide lists these special places as family-friendly lakes. If your mentee is a bit more experienced and wants to learn fly fishing, for example, the manicured banks of the park’s ponds are ideal places to practice casting, and the bluegill is very susceptible to many types of artificial flies. .
It is important that the fishing equipment you present to your friend is of good quality and complements the fishing experience. If a novice angler has trouble with a bad fishing rod and a bad reel, he will be frustrated. The friend will not know if it is an equipment or a technical failure. It is the same if the equipment is complicated to use. Start a novice angler with a push-button spinning spinning reel and move more experienced anglers to spinning reels when appropriate. Bait casting reels are too complicated and frustrating unless you are mentoring an experienced bass fisherman.
Hopefully newbies have a chance to catch a trophy fish, but make an effort to catch any fish so that the new angler is encouraged to continue. Sunfish, like bluegill, green sunfish, and crappie, are plentiful throughout the state, easy to catch, and can be made into a wonderful meal to give a second reward of a fishing trip.
The Channel Catfish offers the possibility of catching a larger fish with slightly more advanced techniques. Catfish are found statewide, but you can teach your mentee how to find a good spot by showing them the annual fishing forecast, published by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Bass and walleye generally require a bit more experience and are excellent fish for learning new equipment such as lures and spinning rods and reels.
Experienced anglers know that watching the success of others is often the key to our own success. Encourage novice anglers to observe and ask questions. The information is widely available. Online resources include blogs, forums, videos, and print media. Game and Parks website (exit
portenebraska.org) includes all of this with links on where and how to fish. The Going Fishing book (outdoornebraska.gov/howtofish) is available free to help you and your mentee with suggestions and details you may have overlooked.
And don’t forget their fishing license, which can be purchased online and viewed on a mobile device.