Where to go.
Your state’s department of natural resources (DNR) is a great starting point. You’ll likely need a fishing license (age requirements vary by state), and the tool below can help you get one online. Also, be sure to check out our Where to Fish page, so you know where you’re going.
What to bring.
Again, less is more in the gear department. Limit yourself to one rod and reel combo and a small tackle tray that’s right for the kind of fish you’re after. Zebco has everything from ultralight gear for panfish to heavyweight rods for catfish and other river monsters. You can find more tips on what gear to bring along with our Adventure Checklist for General Fishing. And your DNR or local bait shops should be able to tell you what they’re biting on.
City lakes, rivers and ponds tend to see more than their share of anglers, swimmers and traffic. Which means the fish can get pretty spooked. So don’t just walk right up to shore and start casting. Keep a low profile and make a few casts parallel to the bank from a short distance away first. Big fish are often hanging out right by the bank under trees or other shoreline cover. If you come up empty, then start making longer casts to deeper water.