Tag Archives: ocean

Tips on Learning How to Fish

Spring fishing season has arrived! If you are an inexperienced angler and would like to try fishing for the first time, follow these few tips for your preparation. Even if you are an experienced angler, these tips will refresh your memory for your fishing adventures.

Fishing License

A fishing license is one of the most important things that you will need in order to go fishing. Each state has their own rules and regulations, so it is important that you read up on them before heading out. All fishing rules and regulations will be under Fishing > Rules and Regulations in your Fishing and Wildlife Pocket Ranger® Guide. Licenses can be purchased online. Some states require you to be 18 years or older in order to obtain a fishing license.


Man fishing on a pier alone

Image: www.active.com

Choosing a place to fish can vary. Some people choose locations where they often see people fishing or local places where they may want to start. If you are a beginner and feel shy fishing in front of a heavy crowd, you may want to opt for a quiet fishing area.

You can go freshwater fishing in lakes, ponds, streams or rivers. Or you can choose saltwater fishing such as surf fishing, fishing by boat (party boat or charter boat) or bay fishing.

Time of Day During Spring Season

Two men fishing on a boat during sunset with his catch

Image: jimolive.photoshelter.com

  • Early Morning – Fish do not bite during this time because the water is cold and doesn’t heat up due to the sun being low which makes the rays bounce off the water.
  • Late Morning/Early Afternoon – Fish are biting on and off during this time because the sun’s rays start to penetrate the water. During this time, you should fish towards the downwind shoreline because the wind pushes the warmer surface water into that area.
  • Afternoon/Early Evening – There are a lot of fish eating during this time because their metabolism and digestion are high. The water is also warmer because the sun is directly above.

Fish Species

Images of different fish species

Image: pixshark.com

Focusing on fishing for a particular fish for a beginner may be too difficult, but it’s a worth a try! Here is a list of popular fish to help you choose one to catch:

  • Bass – a southeastern sport fish
  • Striped Bass – you will most likely need a boat to catch these
  • Sunfish – best catch for a beginner angler
  • Walleye and Pike – northern, cold-water lake fish
  • Catfish – vary from small to large

For a complete list of freshwater and saltwater fish, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® Fish and Wildlife Guide.


Man surf fishing pulling in his catch, clear blue water

Image: www.rancholeonero.com

Fishing in a lake from shore – Sit and wait with a bobber and bait. For this type of method, you can use inexpensive equipment.

Surf fishing from a beach – This requires heavy tackle that costs a little bit more. Catches vary day to day with this method.

Pond Fishing – Fishing at a pond can be simple, especially for beginners. It allows you to manage your skills and you may even catch a pan fish for dinner.

Boat Fishing on an Ocean – There are many boating options that are available for fishing. You can pay to go on a party boat for a half day or full day and you can use equipment and bait that is provided to you. Depending on the type of boating you choose and how big the crowd is, you can have assistance such as hooking your bait, casting and landing a fish.

Suggested Gear: 

  • Fishing Rod/Fly Rod
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Check out more fishing gear at our Pocket Ranger Gear Store.

Visit Acadia National Park This Year!

Rocky shoreline and girl walking in forest at Acadia National Park [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

Whether on the water or in the woods, there’s so much to see at Acadia National Park! [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

The state of Maine is affectionately known as “Vacationland.” Drive quite a-ways up I-95 North and you’ll reach the crown jewel of Vacationland: Acadia National Park. Acadia’s rugged beauty of craggy mountaintops, rocky beaches, and dense coniferous forest makes it an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Here are a few must-see destinations within the park and some tips that’ll make your next visit to Acadia perfectly align with Maine’s state slogan, “The Way Life Should Be.”

Acadia was the first eastern national park, making it the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River. With so many granite peaks tucked inside the park, hiking is an immensely popular activity. A favorite hike is the short, but thrilling ascent to the top of The Beehive, which overlooks Sand Beach. To summit The Beehive, hikers scale exposed cliffs using iron rungs drilled into the rockface. Once at the top (and after you’ve caught your breath), set your camera to the panoramic setting so you can capture the far-reaching landscape of forest, ocean and mountains in all its glory.

Girl boulders up to the summit of Beehive at Acadia [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

Scramble up The Beehive for a thrilling adventure. [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

The park is also home to Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast and one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise each day. To catch the sunrise and beat the crowds, make sure to set your alarm so you get there early. If you’re looking for a longer day hike, we recommend taking on the Bubbles, which offer arguably the most famous views in Acadia. Rising 700-800 feet above sea level, North and South Bubble overlook the picturesque Jordan Pond. On South Bubble, make sure to check out the Bubble Rock, a spherical, glacial erratic perfectly balanced on the summit’s edge.

See Acadia National Park from a sea kayak! [Image Credit: Tiffany Feldman]

See Acadia National Park from a sea kayak! [Image Credit: Tiffany Feldman]

With a number of well-established bike paths, biking is another excellent option for taking in the sights at Acadia. There are many options for affordable bike rentals in nearby Bar Harbor. The bike loop around Eagle Lake is mostly through forest, offering respite on those hot, sunny days. That being said, mosquitos and black flies tend to congregate in the shade, so wear bug spray in the spring and summer months. There are a few pull-offs along the route, perfect for snapping photos of the lake. If you’d rather be on the water, bring along a sea kayak or go through one of Bar Harbor’s kayaking outfitters. Acadia is just as beautiful off-shore, and kayakers get a unique perspective of the landscape. Out on the water, kayakers may catch glimpses of marine animals, such as seals.

In the summertime, head to Sand Beach, one of Maine’s most scenic beaches. It may be only 300 yards in length, but Sand Beach delivers enormous, southern views of the ocean. Just make sure to pack a sweatshirt. In New England, the Atlantic Ocean is notoriously chilly all summer long, and after that initial plunge, you may be scrambling back to shore to get warm.

Sandy beach at Acadia Maine with mountain [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

Don’t forget your camera! Here’s a shot of Sand Beach taken with a Holga camera. [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

The park can also be seen from the comfort of your car or truck. Carriage Road loops around the entire park, giving visitors access to scenic pullovers. If you’re strapped for time, this is the best way to see Acadia. We recommend pulling over at the legendary natural wonder, Thunder Hole. Depending on the tide and weather, massive waves and thunderous sound erupt from this tiny inlet. Take the walkway to the edge of Thunder Hole to see and hear for yourself! This pullover also offers great views of Otter Cliff, Sand Beach and Great Head.

Most of Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island, but portions of the park are scattered across Isle au Haut and parts of Baker Island, making them accessible only by boat. Since Acadia is a popular destination for summer tourism, those looking for more secluded camping spots should arrive at the national park’s campgrounds early. For early birds, quieter tent sites near the water may be available.

From your picnic table, take in the view of Jordan pond [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

From your picnic table, take in the view of Jordan Pond. [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

For good eats, we heartily recommend heading to the Jordan Pond House for a lunch out on the lawn. Taking its name from the pond it overlooks, this magnificent estate has been a dining tradition since the late 1800s. Start off your lunch with tea & popovers, followed by a bowl of the seafood chowder and a lobster. And don’t forget dessert! Since you’re in Maine, we recommend the Maine Wild Blueberry Sorbet. After lunch, stroll down to the lake or through the handsome gardens kept on the property.

A large schooner sails out of the harbor at Acadia National Park [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

A large schooner sails out of the harbor at Acadia National Park. [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

Acadia National Park is a favorite escape for many summer tourists. If you’re looking for more tranquility, consider visiting the park closer to the off-seasons, such as late spring. And don’t forget to pack a camera! Photo opportunities abound within the park. Share your pics of Acadia with us on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

Stay tuned for the upcoming release of our new, free Pocket Ranger® National Parks Passport app!

3, 2, 1 Launch

Contributed by Alex Vail, The Flying Kayak

Whether you’re paddling a fishing kayak or taking the family out on a canoe trip, the launch can define how the entire trip goes. Though often overlooked, the how, when, and where of launching your paddlecraft is a vitally important part of planning any excursion. Proper planning and execution can mean the difference between a fun day on the water or a downright miserable (and possibly dangerous) time.

A beached yellow kayak in a harbor [Image Credit: Alex Vail]

Image Credit: Alex Vail

It seems simple enough, right? You put the kayak or canoe in the water and off you go. But there’s often much more to it than that. Many places that you may wish to launch at don’t actually have easy access for paddlecraft. I recently visited a nearby park that overlooked a lake and discovered that access wasn’t as easy as I had initially expected. The bank was littered with jagged rocks and areas that didn’t have rocks presented the challenge of a steep cliff face. As much fun as it would have been to slide off the bluff and plummet to the water 8 feet below in my fully loaded kayak, I was forced to change up my plans. Careful scouting of any launch is important. Eventually, I found an area of rocks that weren’t too difficult to navigate across and was able to launch, but it was less than ideal. One slip would have cut me up terribly.

Man pulls kayak off beach and into water [Image Credit: Alex Vail]

Image Credit: Alex Vail

When launching in saltwater, another thing to consider is the tide. In areas that are affected heavily by tidal flow, it is entirely possible to have a nice easy launch, only to come back hours later to discover a hundred-yard mud flat between you and dry land. Be sure to research the area and check tide tables before launching to avoid a long, muddy drag to shore.

Finally, there’s ocean launching. This is what I consider to be the most dangerous type of launch. If conditions aren’t perfect, your day can go horribly wrong very quickly. Ideally, the surf is minimal to flat on launch, but keep in mind that you’ll eventually have to come back to shore. Check the weather and surf report to ensure you don’t launch in an area where the seas will build while your offshore. Riding a wave back to shore can certainly be exciting, but dangerous for you and your gear.

Two kayaks on a sandy beach at sunset [Image Credit: Alex Vail]

Image Credit: Alex Vail

And speaking of gear, it’s vitally important to plan how gear is stored when launching your paddlecraft. If launching in the surf, make sure anything you don’t want to lose has been strapped down or is safely below deck. Regardless of craft type, flipping in the surf is a very real danger, and no one enjoys cleaning up a yard sale when their gear gets strewn across the beach.

In calmer areas, it’s important to consider the day ahead when placing gear in the craft at launch. Will you be able to get out and stand at some point? Or is it an area where you’ll be stuck in your seat all day? If you cannot get out of your kayak, what good is your food, water, or camera going to do you when you can’t actually reach it? All of these things are important to take into account when deciding how you go about your launch.

So, the next time you gear up to launch the kayak or canoe, take a minute to consider how you’ll be getting into and out of the water. Above all else, safety is the most important thing. If you ever feel unsafe or unsure about the launch, don’t do it. Trying to push your luck in the surf or on the rocks isn’t worth the lost gear or bodily harm.

Learn How to Swim

Bald Eagle State Park beach by the lake

Image: commons.wikimedia.org

Swimming is an aerobic workout, but unlike other types of physical exercise, it works the body without harsh impact on the joints. There are pools, lakes and even the ocean where you can go swimming while being in a state park. Check out these steps to learn how to swim before summer is over!

Step 1: Let Go of Fear

Swimming in pool with lifeguard

Image: www.pritish-sehzpaul.blogspot.com

You might be afraid of drowning, which is a natural feeling, so don’t try swimming alone. Always go swimming with another person who knows how to swim such as a lifeguard on duty.

Step 2: Get Used to Floating

Woman holding on to pool wall, kicking

Image: www.feelforthewater.com

Start out in the shallow end. While in the water, hold on to the side of the pool or dock, allowing your legs to float behind you. Practice floating on your stomach and back like this until you become accustomed to floating in the water. When you feel you are ready, let go of what ever you are holding onto. To remain stable, put out your arms at a right angle so that your body is in a “T” shape. Remaining in the shallow end allows you to stand up if you feel unsafe. In time, you will get used to water being around your ears, nose and mouth. As you progress, move towards the deeper end to attempt floating from there.

Step 3: Practice Exhaling Underwater

Take a deep breath and put your face underwater. Slowly exhale out of your nose until you’re out of breath and then come back up. If you are uncomfortable exhaling through your nose, you can hold it closed or wear a nose plug and exhale through your mouth while swimming.

Step 4: Swim with a Kickboard

Swimming with kick board in pool

Image: background-pictures.vidzshare.net

Use a flotation device in this step. It’s better not to use arm support or anything around your waist because it may interfere with your swimming. Hold the kickboard or noodle in front of you with straight arms. Push off from the wall and scissor kick with your legs straight out behind you. Rotate your head to the side to breathe.

Step 5: Laps Using Arms

Continue doing step 4, but now lift one arm off the kickboard, pulling down through the water and lifting, and then returning your arm to its starting position. Switch arms and repeat. Rest and repeat.

Step 6: Letting Go of Kickboard

One person swimming laps

Image: www.active.com

If you are ready and confident enough, push the flotation device out in front of you and start swimming towards it. Begin your freestyle stroke, scissor kicking, straight arms in front of you and side breathing. Practice this for a few times. The more practice you have, the better you will be able to swim.


  • If you are swimming in the ocean and get caught in a riptide, swim sideways, parallel to the shore. Swim with the longest stroke, allowing plenty of room to breathe. Keep swimming until you are out of the riptide and call out for help if you can.
  • It is important to know how to get out of a river current. Aim to swim diagonally toward the shoreline that goes with the current.
  • Try to eat an hour before you go swimming.
  • Use a floating device or life jacket if you are nervous about the water.
  • Swimming goggles can be useful if you want to swim underwater.
People swimming in lake with trees in background

Image: www.openwaterpacific.org

To find a state park with a pool or a swimming area close to home, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app and use the “Nearest Me” feature.

Suggested Gear List:

  • Sunscreen
  • Swimwear
  • Life Jacket

Check out Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and so much more!

How to go Crabbing

Ready for your next adventure? If so, then let’s go crabbing! Crabbing is different from regular fishing. You need different catching gear and there’s tons of information you need to know before you try this activity. Here is a simple guide to help you get started.

Blue crab near water and trees in the background

Image: www.floridabeachproperties.us

Important Tips:

  1. Crabs have sharp claws that will pinch you if you’re not careful! If this happens, don’t panic. All you have to do is pull the crab away from you with your other hand.
  2. There are size limits that change annually for crabs, so make sure you read the Rules and Regulations in your state’s Fish and Wildlife Pocket Ranger® app.
  3. The law requires you to release a crab if it has an egg sac.
  4. If the crab dies before it is cleaned, do not eat it. When the crab is no longer alive, a poison is released throughout the crab’s body that ruins the meat.


Crabbing Equipment with grass

Image: indulgeinspireimbibe.blogspot.com

Here is a list of equipment that you will need:

  • A cooler with ice
  • Fold up chair
  • Crab trap
  • Junk knife for bait
  • Thick gloves
  • A net if you are using a hand line
  • Buy bait, preferably anything that is meat

Choosing a location:

Crabs being pulled in a net from water

Image: www.surfingbears.com

After you have chosen a state park that offers crabbing from your state’s Fish and Wildlife Pocket Ranger® app, here are a few steps to follow.

  1. Find a nice spot on the pier or dock that is facing the water.
  2. Make sure that your traps are two feet away from someone else who is also crabbing or fishing. If you don’t follow this step, your lines and traps will get tangled together.
  3.  Make sure your bait is secure inside of your trap.
  4. Crabs are usually found in saltwater marshes, bays, inlets and the ocean. They are usually under docks and bridges.

Your Catch

holding a crab from the back

Image: americantugnews.blogspot.com

In order to avoid getting pinched, follow these steps on how to hold a crab.

  1. Put your foot on the crab to keep it from moving.
  2. With one hand, grab the flipper, which is the last leg, located at its back.
  3. Take your foot off the crab and lift it up.
  4. You can also hold the crab from the bottom.

Remember to read up on the Rules and Regulations and licenses in your state’s Fish and Wildlife Pocket Ranger® app before you lower your first crab pot into the water. And be sure to check out our Gear store for some of the crabbing accessories mentioned above!

Related articles

Top Reasons to Experience Boating

19th Century boating

Image: 1812now.blogspot.com

Boating has been around for many years. Whether it is kayaking, canoeing, or being on a speedboat, it is something that you must experience to cool off from this summer heat. Here are a few reasons why you should experience boating.

Stress Reducer

Boat moving in water

Image: www.debberanproperties.com

School, work or errands can be stressful, but when you are out in the open water, it consumes all your attention. Stress can eventually take a toll on your body and it is important to stay healthy. The fresh air and Vitamin D will make you a happy boater!


Boating and water skiing

Image: www.pinedaleonline.com

If you are feeling that you have no time to work out because you’re busy with your daily life, then boating is just the thing for you. Boating provides great exercise. Once you are on a boat, there are other activities you can do, such as swimming, fishing or waterskiing. You are also doing aerobics while canoeing, paddling or even kayaking. Boating releases natural endorphins, which are great for your health.

Bonding Time

Kids Jumping off boat into water

Image: www.citylifemagazine.ca

Recreational boating can bring your family together, away from the television and video games. Boating creates an atmosphere where you can create wonderful memories. It will also teach your family how to work in teams while docking and cruising.

Easy to Learn

Park Ranger Boating

Image: www.independentmail.com

Learning how to boat takes time and practice, but with the right motivation, anything is possible. There are many things you have to learn about boating including how to tie different types of rope knots. There are many park rangers at state parks that are willing to help and with your Pocket Ranger® app, you will be a boating expert in no time.

Water Access

Boat Ramp in state park

Image: www.lake-lewisville.org

Water Access is closer than you think. There are many state parks that have places to dock and that provide boat rentals of your choice. With a short drive, you can enjoy your mini vacation. With the “Nearest Me” feature in your state’s Pocket Ranger® app, you can easily search for boat ramps that are close to home.

The View

Boating scenery with boat

Image: www.seaturtlespacecoast.org

No matter which state park you choose to go boating at, there will always be a spectacular view. If you choose a route with all water, trees or mountains, you will be fascinated. You will also have the opportunity to see other boaters, water skiers and even jet skiers. Boating is a great way to meet new people and introduce you and your family to other great water sports. You may also have the chance to see wildlife.

Pontoon Boat Fun

Image: www.newportpontoonssales.com

Many state parks offer boating, but to find one closest to you, download your state’s Pocket Ranger® app. Our app offers GPS maps and boating descriptions to help you decide which type of boating fits you best. And remember to check out the Rules and Regulations for boating in your state park.  

Suggested Gear List: 

  • Kayak
  • Life Vests
  • Sunscreen

Check out our Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items and more!

Related articles