I recently was talking to Pat McCarty (the editor of this magazine) about some of the emails we receive concerning fishing. We both get a good bit of email from people who are beginners or have never fished and they want to know where to fish, how to fish, and so on. Normally in my column I am discussing topics that will broaden the horizons of a very experienced angler and its usually cutting edge information that I have learned and in the process of developing further. In fact most professional fishermen that write articles are writing them on high tech topics. Well if you are an experienced fishermen this article may not be for you but it is your duty to the sport you love to give it to someone who is a beginner or to a youngster so that they can use this article to learn more ways to fish and more places to fish. If you are a beginner fisherperson or a youngster and are looking to learn more about fishing you have everything in your favor. There are a great many opportunities for you. There are numerous magazines about fishing, TV fishing shows, articles in the newspapers, internet fishing sites, internet fishing chat rooms, internet fishing reports and local guides a phone call away. One of the biggest questions for a beginner is where do I go to fish? There are many answers to this question: Farm ponds, golf course ponds, creeks, and reservoirs. You may not have a boat so the first three are going to apply to you more than the reservoirs will. Farm ponds and golf course ponds. Maybe you don’t know someone with a farm pond or someone who can give you permission to fish a golf course pond. You have to ask permission. The worst they can do is tell you no and more than likely they will grant you permission. If they grant you permission make sure not to leave area clean and you will probably be able and come back again. Ponds and creeks usually have bass, bream, and catfish. Some of them even have strong populations of crappie(white perch). If you are going to fish for bass, fish with small baits. There are usually more small bass than big bass no matter where you go and if you are a beginner you want to catch as many fish as you can to gain the most experience from each outing. Small baits catch small bass but the chance to catch big bass is always there no matter what you are throwing. When I say small bass I mean fish less than 2 pounds, when I say small baits I mean small spinnerbaits like beatlespins 1/8 and 1/4oz sizes, Stanley Baby Wedge spinnerbaits, small plastic worms(4 inch), and small crankbaits 1/4oz sizes. Bass live around cover: stumps, logs, aquatic vegetation, bushes, or any object in the water. Cast your baits to these types of cover for bass. The easiest way to catch bream or perch is to use a small long shanked bream hook, put a small spiltshot two inches above the hook(about 1/16oz) and a small cork about a foot and half up. Bait the hook with a cricket, grasshopper, pinch of earthworm, piece of shrimp, or small doughballs. Always make sure the hook points is covered, you will get more bites if you do. Cast the cork and bait out and let it sit. If there is a stump or log in the water cast nearby. Catfish are bottom feeders. They can be caught in just about any body of freshwater. Rig up a hook and about a ¼ ounce weight and bait the hook with prepared dough bait, chicken liver, shrimp, an earthworm, a junebug, or a minnow and cast it out and let it sit on the bottom. If you let it sit there long enough a catfish will smell it and come bite it. Your local sporting goods store clerk can help you with selecting some of the baits mentioned and can also give you tips on fishing them. They are there to help you and are usually fishermen themselves. If you have already experienced pond and creek fishing and you want to move on, you may want to join a bass club. You don’t even have to own a boat to be in a bass club. One or two weekends a month the club meets at a lake, the club members with boats bring their boats and the non-boaters fish with them. Joining a bass club is one of the quickest ways to learn about bass fishing, you usually fish with different fishermen and you will see many different techniques and approaches to the water. Always share the expense of the fuel with the boat-owner and maybe a little extra for oil and you will be a welcomed partner anytime. These are some very inexpensive ways that you can enjoy the sport of fishing. Now is a perfect time of year to get out and fish. Good luck fishing. Bill Cannan Professional Fishing Guide