How Long Does It Take to Learn to Fish?

Grumpy old fisherman

Fishing is a fun hobby for many people, but it takes time to perfect your angling skills as with any other activity.

If you’re wondering exactly how long it takes to learn to fish, there is no standard timeline for becoming a successful fisherman.

While you may catch fish occasionally while learning, you should expect it to take at least a couple of years to be consistently successful at catching fish. It takes time to study the habits of various fish species and practice different fishing techniques to become a good angler.

Is It Difficult To Learn To Fish?

On the surface, fishing may seem like a straightforward sport that takes little time to learn. However, it involves much more than just casting a line and expecting to hook a big one every time. Getting lucky occasionally is not the same as being a successful fisherman and hooking a fish on nearly every excursion.

Realistically, fishing requires a little luck in addition to skill. Even the best fishermen occasionally have days when they don’t catch any fish. However, if you spend a lot of time learning about angling and honing your skills, you can drastically increase your chances of having a successful excursion every time you go fishing.

Expect it to take at least a few tries before you catch your first fish. It may be two years or longer before you start to catch fish consistently, and you can call yourself a successful fisherman.

Fishing isn’t hard to learn, but you need to spend time practicing. The more time you spend on the water, the faster you can hone your skills. The most successful fishermen also spend time studying various techniques, environments, and types of bait to gain more knowledge on angling.

Different Fishing Techniques

Fly fishers in the lake

There are several types of fishing, including pole, spear, and net fishing. The most common type of fishing is pole fishing. It is also the easiest and quickest method to learn. Net and spearfishing require more refined skills and techniques to master, and they may not even be allowed in your area.

Within the broad category of pole fishing, or angling, there are several techniques. Each one is most suitable for hooking certain fish species in specific environments. While you can master one technique if you don’t want to increase your overall skill level, the most accomplished fishermen try various fishing types to learn new tricks consistently.

You can choose from any of the following common techniques to start your journey to becoming a fisherman:

  • Spinning
  • Baitcasting
  • Trolling
  • Fly fishing
  • Bait fishing

Of these five common techniques, bait fishing is the most popular. It involves attaching a  small piece of bait, live or artificial, to a hook and casting a line in one spot. The bait attracts fish, and you can reel them in when they get caught on the hook. You can become a proficient bait fisherman within a year if your practice a lot.

The other four common fishing methods take a little more time to master. In general, you can have consistently successful fishing excursions within two years of trying a new technique.

There is no right or wrong method to use as a beginner fisherman. Once you master the basics of one fishing technique, you can move on to learn a different method and expand your skillset.

Various Fishing Environments

Fishing in various environments requires slightly different skillsets. Although the basics are the same, weather conditions and available species of fish affect the success of your excursion. Deep-sea fishing is vastly different from fishing in a small pond because you will be dealing with different fish species.

It’s also essential to learn about the habits of fish during various weather conditions. Most fish species dive deep during the day’s heat, so they are harder to catch outside of dawn and dusk. Other species tend to emerge at night.

If you’re looking for a certain species of fish, you need to learn about its habits before you can catch it consistently.

Different Types of Bait

There are different types of bait that appeal to various species of fish. You can fish with live bait, such as insects or minnow. Or you can fish with artificial bait created to resemble food or prey fish. It doesn’t matter which type of bait you use, but you need to select a lure or piece of live bait that will appeal to the species of fish you want to catch.

Learning about the food preferences of various fish species is an excellent way to expand your knowledge as a fisherman.

How Can You Reduce the Time It Takes To Learn To Fish?

Happy fisherman with big pike fish

Becoming a successful fisherman is a lifelong endeavor. Whether you’re a recreational, commercial, or sports fisherman, you should constantly expand your knowledge to increase your skill.

There are so many types of fish and fishing techniques that you will never know everything about the topic, but you can expect to become a decent fisherman within two years of first picking up a pole.

Learning the skill by yourself can be rewarding but takes longer. You can cut the time it takes to learn to fish by finding a mentor. Partner with a fisherman who has years of experience with the sport and is willing to share tips and tricks to help you master the skill more quickly.

It’s also a good idea to invest in the right equipment before you start fishing. Do some research to find the best rod and reel for your skill level and make sure you know how to use it properly.

Practice, Practice, Practice

People learn how to fish on various timelines. There is no concrete answer to the question of how long it will take before you learn to fish. Practicing different bait and techniques is the best way to hone your skills as an angler.

If you want to become a successful fisherman, spend plenty of time on the water learning the craft. With a lot of practice and dedication, you can become a skilled angler who catches fish consistently within a couple of years.

Related: Reasons Fishing Makes You a Healthier, Happier Person