The way I see it, there are 5 types of Anglers in this world. Now I’m not referring to species-specific anglers. Your choice of fishing method is far more indicative of the type of angler you will be than the species of fish you target.
First, and this is how most of us started in fishing, there’s the bank fishing crowd.
Generally, they have a specific species of fish they are going for, anything from an elaborate gear setup to a relatively simple fishing pack, and they (to a large degree) have a deep-seated distaste for boat anglers. You’ll find them on piers, along the banks, and walking trails that line city parks. They can be found sitting along dams or other water structures. These are also the anglers that will frequently have kids with them in the hopes their offspring will learn to enjoy the recreation like them.
You will find bank fishermen targeting bluegill, crappie, bass, catfish, gar, perch, and just about any other species you can imagine. Even a surf angler can fall into this category with their shark, sheepshead, and manta ray catches. Bank fishing isn’t specific to freshwater. It is, however, specific to those who keep their feet on solid ground.
Second, are the boat anglers.
If you surveyed them, I’d be willing to bet that you’d discover about 75-85% of them are bass fishing. Now, there’s nothing wrong with bass fishing. I’ve caught quite a few and have had fun in the process, but I still believe they envelop a very disproportionate segment of the boating community. That being said, you don’t have to fish for bass to be in a boat and I can assure you, there’s plenty of fun to be had for almost all anglers.
There are local, regional, and national tournaments to be challenged should you develop enough interest in the boat fishing endeavor. Tournament or recreation, you can find freshwater fishing techniques popular among boaters for bass, crappie, catfish, carp, perch, and more. Saltwater fishing opens a whole new world to the angler with the vast array of species you will discover.
Guides can be found for nearly every species of fish imaginable when you’re interested in boat fishing opportunities. Many marinas have kayaks and/or boats available for rent if you’re interested in boat fishing without involving a guide. While the cost can vary depending on guide costs, rental fees, or maintenance should you have your own vessel; the cost of boat fishing tends to be the most expensive form of fishing an angler can pursue.
Third, are the specialty anglers.
When I say specialty anglers I’m talking about true, single style, specialty fishing. Flyfishing, bowfishing, spearfishing, and the list can go on. These anglers may pick up a different pole or “weapon” from time to time when a buddy suggests a day on the water, but it’ll be more of a social–grab a beer–affair than a fishing adventure.
When it comes to a specialized fishing style like fly fishing or bow fishing; these are the people to ask. They’ll know the tricks and techniques that you can’t find in books or standard teaching programs. Guides in this category can be some of the most knowledgeable and intricate instructors you may ever find. They can take you on bank fishing or boat fishing adventures depending on the area and your interests. Depending on the specialty in mind, these adventures can be somewhat basic or exceptionally complicated and in-depth.
There’s a certain mystique around the notion of flyfishing.
The rules of etiquette and fair practice are widely different from the standards adhered to by most rod and reel anglers. Terminology is different. Lures are wildly different. And, the true aficionados, have an affinity for making their own lures which is a trait rarely picked up by “regular” fishing enthusiasts. If you’re interested in learning to fly fish, start out with some of these sites. They’ll open a whole new world of fishing for you.
A more rambunctious group that has a certain appeal to many anglers would be the bowfishing fanatics. Every state has different regulations and rules that have to be followed which can significantly limit your opportunities, but the pay off can be incredible. These are anglers that typically have a dynamic array of gear that can include specialized boats and unique bows. The sport can be pursued day or night. Most, however, have a propensity for the night activities. To dip your toes in these exciting waters, check out these sites.
Forth, is the kayak angler.
Fishing from a kayak is a very unique and exhilarating sport. Fishing opportunities are opened exponentially to these anglers who can access waterways obstructed from standard boat anglers and can bank fish areas not typically accessible to anglers on foot. This ability to go virtually anywhere, fish just about anything, and have all your necessary resources at hand makes kayak fishing almost universal.
The growing popularity of the sport has even lead to a wider recognition of the tournament circuit surrounding this unique fishing style. Specialized equipment and supplies have been developed to accommodate the unique demands of kayakers. You can even find equipment particularly suited for ocean versus freshwater fishing or combination equipment that will allow you to fish in either type of waterway.
The sport of kayak fishing will always have a special place in my heart.
I quite literally live to fish and never feel more in tune with my fish than when I am on one of my kayaks. Just the choice of kayak is a journey for experienced anglers. It can be down right overwhelming for new kayakers. The best advice I can give you is to pick 3-5 things you feel will benefit you when kayak fishing.
YouTube is an excellent place to watch kayak anglers. You can see what things they use in and on their kayaks. You’ll quickly notice what kayak traits get in their way. When you decide, pick something in your price range that has those desired options. Just remember that you are picking you’re first kayak, not your only kayak. I have yet to meet a kayak angler that has fished her entire life with the first kayak she bought. And I have no doubt that it will be the same for you.
My first kayak wasn’t even meant for fishing.
My second kayak had almost everything I could possibly want in a fishing kayak. And once I added my own extras, that kayak was a beast. I loved fishing from it no matter if I was in a shallow creek or wide open lake. Had I lived closer to the ocean, I probably would have been taking it out to the ocean as well. The only problem I had was not having a system for transporting and moving it around conveniently due to its weight.
As I got older, I had to accept that I needed a lighter kayak and my “needs” list began to change. Just like I discuss in “the Golden Rule of Fishing” kayak fishing will be no different for you. Your skills will change over time, your needs will change from year to year, and your choice of vessels will change as well. To get some insight into the options available for you, start with a few of these manufacturers. They may have what you want, or give you ideas for other manufacturers that will be more suited to your wishes.
Fifth, is a group of anglers who follow a more rounded approach to fishing.
You could call this type of person a Universal Angler. These are the anglers that will do everything above just to ensure they have the best fishing experience possible. These are anglers who typically fish year-round and rarely limit themselves to just one species of fish. Some will be exclusively freshwater but others fish saltwater as well. They are not typically an “expert” at any of the fishing methods, but they will usually be well versed in all or most aspects of fishing.
These are what I believe are the truest sampling of the outdoors adventurer. They have a quest to experience, to learn, and to do that can not be satisfied with one activity. If you have not picked a specialty and are willing to explore all your options, you just might find yourself settling into this category. It can significantly benefit your fishing skills as well as your overall confidence in life if you keep yourself open to new adventures and challenges like this style of limitless fishing can provide.