The Only 3 Things A Mitten Angler Needs To Get Started

The Only 3 Things A Mitten Angler Needs To Get Started

So you’ve seen the fishing pictures, and you’ve been hearing about how our lakes are full of beautiful bass, walleye and salmon, but you don’t know where to start? Look no further! Even the most unaccustomed angler can get started with just a few basics.

Regardless of experience, every angler needs the right equipment. Being surrounded by fresh water, no matter where you are in the mitten, means you probably have several options for where to shop. Large stores like Bass Pro Shops are plentiful with a broad selection, while smaller stores like D&R Sports Center in Kalamazoo or Fish on Bait & Tackle in Nunica can offer a personalized experience.

Even knowing where to start can be extremely overwhelming, so let’s go over a couple of first-timer basics. As a beginner in any sport, you’re going to want to start with the simple stuff.

A selection of fishing poles at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. Photo by Michele Eichstead
A selection of fishing poles at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. Photo by Michele Eichstead

So what will you fish with? A rod and reel are typically what one would chose, which you might have thought was just a stick and string, yet there are so many options! For the beginning angler, a rod and reel with a spinning combo and medium to heavy action will allow you to learn your casting technique and give you control over your rod and lure.

Lure? Yes, the second thing you’ll need is bait. We need something to get those fish to bite! There are so many more options than just worms, such as soft plastics that are easy to use and replicate live bait.

A variety of Senko lures in a "Tournament Series" starter set. Photo by Michele Eichstead
A variety of Senko lures in a “Tournament Series” starter set. Photo by Michele Eichstead

When starting out, one trade secret is to learn how to adjust the color bait based on watercolor and weather. Bass, crappie, pike and other species will be attracted to colors they are familiar with. For instance, a bass may run close to a weedy shoreline, so a watermelon or green pumpkin lure may give you the most luck. Often, a variety or starter pack can be the best way to start the self-learning process.

Crankbaits, jerkbaits, topwater and spinnerbaits are some more advanced hard bait options you can rotate in as you get comfortable with your angler skills. And of course live bait is always a classic: worms, wax worms, minnows and hotdogs are all good choices to get started.

The most important piece of equipment - the tackle box! Photo by Michele Eichstead
The most important piece of equipment – the tackle box! Photo by Michele Eichstead

Now that you have the equipment to get started, the third thing you’ll need is somewhere to keep it. Tackle boxes are great for bait storage and organization, and they’re easy to carry around the fishing docks or to and from the boat. Your tackle box can also hold your fishing license and your favorite snacks.

That’s all it takes to start your adventure as angler, and all you need now is the confidence to go fishing. You’re bound to catch something – good luck!

Don’t forget to share your catches! Our weather will be warming up here soon, and we’d love to see you on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #FishOn and #MittenLove.