MOUNT VERNON - The weather will cooperate for free fishing weekend in Ohio. On May 2 and 3rd, all Ohio residents are invited to experience Ohio's fantastic fishing without purchasing a fishing license. A free kids fishing event is scheduled at Mount Vernon's Ariel-Foundation Park.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers the following fishing tips.
The most important fishing equipment is the rod and reel. For beginners, spin-casting equipment is the easiest to operate and causes the fewest problems. A spin-casting reel spooled with 6 -, 8 - or 10 -pound test line and mounted on a light- to medium-action 5 1 /2 - to 6 -foot casting rod will work well for most types of Ohio fishing. Rod and reel combinations, already spooled with quality line, can be purchased pre-packaged. More experienced anglers may prefer spinning or baitcasting tackle.
Surface floats, or bobbers, are designed to keep a bait hook suspended at a specific depth. They also help to signal when a fish has taken the bait. Use a bobber that is large enough to suspend your bait and sinker, but keep in mind that smaller bobbers tend to be better. The amount of resistance a fish feels on the line when taking a bait is directly related to the size of the bobber.
Hooks come in a variety of sizes and styles. Small hooks in size 6, 8, or 10 are good for panfish. Sizes 4 through 2/0 are best for most bass and walleyes. Large hooks in sizes above 2/0 are used for catfish, large bass and muskie. Always handle fishing hooks with extreme caution, as they are sharp and can cause serious injury.
Fishing lines come in a variety of styles and strengths. For general purposes, monofilament in the 4 to 8 pound test range will work well. Anglers seeking large fish like flathead catfish and muskie may want to consider lines in the 20 to 30 pound test range.
Throw untangled or unused line in the trash. Loose line often presents a hazard to waterfowl and other wildlife.
Introducing children to fishing can be a rewarding experience. To ensure a positive experience, here are some simple tips to keep in mind:
- Have fun. Seeing your child enjoy reeling in their first fish is rewarding. (Take pictures!)
- Target areas with a high likelihood of success. Most kids are satisfied catching lots of smaller fish such as bluegills rather than catching fewer, bigger fish such as bass. Catching a few fish on the first few outings will peak children’s interest and make them look forward to the next trip.
- Use live bait to increase the chance of catching a fish. Live bait is also more interesting for children.
- Pick a place that is easy to get to, comfortable and safe.
- Bring snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent and first aid basics. This will make your trip comfortable for everyone.
- Provide them with simple tackle in working order. Nothing can be more discouraging to a child than complicated equipment or equipment that doesn't work. Consider giving the child their own fishing outfit. This gesture is practical because short rods are easier for kids to handle.
- Above all else, have patience. You will be unsnagging lines, baiting hooks and landing fish for them often. On your fishing trips with youngsters, they will get dirty, fall down or even get a little wet. By taking time to introduce children to fishing, you may end up with a fishing buddy for life.