Last updated on October 11th, 2023
Ultimate Guide to 11 Different Types of Fishing
The great outdoors provides many opportunities to connect with nature. You could go hiking, bird-watching and hunting. Or, you could get outside and do one of America’s favorite pastimes — fishing.
What’s better than the peace of a lake or river while waiting to catch a beautiful trout? There are many ways to fish and this ultimate guide will outline 11 popular methods used worldwide.
Who says you need a rod, reel or any device to catch fish? Sometimes all you need is your bare hands, like in the popular method for catching fish called noodling. This tactic is specific to catfish. Noodling requires you to stick your hand inside a catfish hole. You’ll put your entire arm inside the catfish’s mouth and pull it out of the water. Ensure you grab the catfish by its gill cover so it can’t bite you as easily during a struggle.
Though it can be a fun method, noodling presents safety risks. You can only practice this type of fishing in particular states. Most states in the Southeast permit noodling, but you aren’t allowed to do it in Florida. The reason many states outlaw this practice is because it can be very dangerous for the wildlife and you. You might accidentally catch a protected species, disturb nearby eggs that can lead to a catfish population decline or severely injure yourself.
2. Fly Fishing
Fly fishing is a popular type for anglers in the United States and worldwide. This method uses a lure or an artificial fly. You’ll throw the bait on top of the water or just below it. The objective is to trick the fish into thinking it’s a bug. Fly fishing is popular because you can do it in freshwater and saltwater bodies, but it can be challenging because it requires a lot of patience.
One thing that makes fly fishing unique is you can do it while standing in the water. You’ll also need special equipment for this strategy, like a fly rod. This rod is lighter than the one you’d use for spin fishing. The most lightweight rods are ideal for catching small fish like bass and brook trout. Your heaviest fly rods are best for capturing salmon or striped bass. [amazon link=”B09F4S95Q8″ link_icon=”amazon” /]
Catching one fish is a fun achievement, but what if you hauled multiple fish at once? Trolling allows you to capture various fish from your boat. This method requires a boat, canoe or some watercraft. Instead of sitting idle, your boat moves around the water at different speeds while trolling. The speed of your watercraft depends on what fish you’re looking for — for example, 2 to 3 mph is the best speed for catching salmon.
There are two standard methods when trolling — a downrigger or a flatline. A downrigger is a device you mount on your boat, sending the lure into deep waters. Typically, the lures can go down 20 feet or more with this approach. The flatline strategy only requires your rod and bait. You’ll cast your lure behind your boat and it’ll be closer to the water’s surface. [amazon link=”B078Y72748″ link_icon=”amazon” /]
4. Spin Fishing
One of the easiest ways to pick up fishing as a hobby is with spin fishing. When you picture fishing, this method is likely the one you have in mind. All you need is a rod, a reel and a lure. Spin fishing gets its name from the reel because it spins as you bring your line back in. The spinning reel is ideal for beginners because it’s easy to use.
When you go spin fishing, you can use the spinning reel on most fish and use this method in multiple types of water. Though, you’ll likely have the best luck spin fishing on large areas of water — it’ll help you catch fish that like to sit in the deep depths of water. [amazon link=”B07D6NH8TR” link_icon=”amazon” /]
Another type of fishing for beginners is jigging. The name jigging comes from the jig, a weighted fishing lure. Jigs are popular because they jerk around in what looks like a jumping motion. The movement in the water attracts fish more so than a typical spinnerbait or a swimbait would. You can use a jig in saltwater and freshwater and it’s excellent for catching fish that typically live in deep waters.
Jigging is an accessible form of fishing because you don’t need much equipment. A dock or a pier is a suitable place for trying out this style because you can control the depth of your lure and stay in one spot. You can also do jigging from a boat or while standing on a shore or a bank. [amazon link=”B0B93F9LD3″ link_icon=”amazon” /]
6. Ice Fishing
As the name suggests, ice fishing calls for catching fish through openings in the ice through to the water underneath. Ice fishing is accessible in regions with cold winters and fresh water. Some of the most popular places in the United States to go ice fishing are Devil’s Lake in North Dakota, Lake Champlain in Vermont and Higgins Lake in Michigan. Ice fishing is an excellent way to scratch your fishing itch in the winter when you wouldn’t usually go.
One limiting factor for ice fishing is it requires specialized equipment. For example, you’ll need an ice saw or an ice auger to cut a hole in the ice if there isn’t already one. You’ll also need a specialized rod because its design allows for a line to go straight down a hole. Another helpful tool is a skimmer or an ice scoop — you use this to remove ice and slush when you drill a hole, aiding your ability to cast a line and pull it back up. [amazon link=”B0B93F9LD3″ link_icon=”amazon” /]
7. Drone Fishing
Fishing technology has taken leaps forward since primitive times. Nowadays, you have underwater cameras, boat-based electronics and other devices to make fishing easier. What if you could use a gadget to locate and catch the fish for you? You can if you try drone fishing.
Drone fishing helps anglers who want to shorten the process of finding and catching fish. This method is similar to kite or balloon fishing, except you’re using a drone. While in the air, you can watch the drone’s camera and scan the water for fish. Once you see a fish, you can drop the bait. One advantage of drone fishing is you can be more discreet — your boat may scare fish away, but the drone allows you to fish from a distance.
Like noodling, drone fishing is legal in some states but banned in others. North Carolina has banned drone fishing in any form and state legislatures in Michigan and Oregon have outlawed drone fishing and hunting. Conservationists are concerned with drone fishers illegally capturing endangered species — South Africa banned the practice after it found people using drones to catch dusky sharks. Check the laws in your state before operating a drone. [amazon link=”B08BB73CM3″ link_icon=”amazon” /]
8. Kite Fishing
Another fun form of aerial angling is kite fishing. This approach calls for a kite that drops a line attached to your bait. You’ll fly a kite over the water and the lure will sit there until a fish grabs it. When the fish hooks on, your kite will drop and alert you that you’ve caught something. Then, you can haul your fish back.
A significant advantage of kite fishing is the element of stealth — you can fish from as far away as your kite can go. The long distance from the kite allows fishing in places you usually would have difficulty accessing. Or, if you’re on a boat, you can use kite fishing in shallow waters or coral reefs. This method is ideal for catching large pelagic fish, such as tuna, mackerel and swordfish. [amazon link=”B07VFBMPTS” link_icon=”amazon” /]
Do you ever get the urge to channel your ancestors and live the way they did hundreds upon thousands of years ago? One of the most primitive forms of fishing you can do is spearfishing. This method involves a spear or harpoon. You don’t need bait to spearfish — all it requires is your straight-pointed object to impale the fish. Human civilizations have been using this as far back as the paleolithic days.
Spearfishing is legal in most places in the United States. However, there are some limitations. Florida permits spearfishing in saltwater but bans it in freshwater. In Michigan, you can spearfish in freshwater, but you need to be mindful of the rules on your spear, which can vary by jurisdiction.
In pop culture, spearfishing is popular on the TV show “Survivor,” where contestants can earn a spear to provide their tribe with fish. You can channel your inner Rupert Boneham or Ozzy Lusth by heading into the ocean with your spear. [amazon link=”B08TZSM9KL” link_icon=”amazon” /]
Do you like hunting or fishing more? With bowfishing, you can have the best of both worlds. This fishing technique uses a bow or crossbow to shoot the fish. It’s an unconventional form of fishing many people enjoy and is a great way to get in touch with your inner archer. After all, you’ve likely watched Legolas or Katniss Everdeen enough to get a good start.
If you’ve been bow hunting before, you can use some of the same ideas for bowfishing. Accuracy is the most critical part of a successful bowfish outing. You’ll need a good eye to determine how far away you are from the fish and how deep it is in the water. For best results, you’ll want to be about 10 feet away from the fish. Also, consider the refraction in the water and aim below the fish. A good rule of thumb is to aim for the fish’s stomach. [amazon link=”B09SMSN7W2″ link_icon=”amazon” /]
11. Wade Fishing
Most fishers elect to rest in a boat, stand on the shore or sit on a dock while fishing. But have you ever tried immersing yourself in the water with the fish? Wade fishing allows you to take on a challenging form of fishing. It may seem tricky, but the fish you catch will feel rewarding.
Wade fishing is ideal for those who don’t have a boat, canoe, kayak or another form of transportation. All you need is your rod, reel and bait. It’s a unique challenge for fishers because you have to carry all your equipment with you, promoting self-sufficiency. If you forget something, you’ll have to head back to shore. Also, you’ll need to prepare your clothing. A wader is best to protect yourself from unwanted bites or stings. [amazon link=”B01MQJ5BK8″ link_icon=”amazon” /]
Fishing — A Sport for the Calm and Collected
Fishing is a terrific activity for those who want to be alone while absorbing the peace and tranquility of nature. Or, you could make it a bonding experience with friends and family. If you’re interested in fishing, use one of these 11 types to see which one you like the most.