I always assumed fishing was a sport of old salty sea dogs, who napped on piers with a fishing wire tied to their toe like Huckleberry Finn. Or, drove super fancy boats, packed with expensive fishing equipment and things called lures.

But let me tell you, fishing is a sport that anyone can do. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. It’s sometimes a little gruesome. Don’t bother reading this if you know how to cast off; your skills already beat mine. But you can take a beer bottle and turn it into a fishing rod — that actually catches fish — in five easy steps.

  1. Buy a local fishing license.
  2. Drink your beverage of choice (beer bottles worked well for our fishing crew, but I’m sure any other beverage in a glass bottle would do).
  3. Go to a bait shop. Every seaside town has a least one, even if it’s the petrol station. Buy fishing wire, hooks, sinkers and bait. Ask the locals what the best bait is for pier fishing. Total cost should be around $10.
  4. Just tie a simple knot around the beer bottle with the fishing line. Wrap a few metres of line around the bottle.
  5. Tie on the hook and sinker. Put some bait on the hook. You will probably need less bait than you think; you don’t need the whole tiny fish or prawn, just a chunk will do.

And voila! Fishing rod made. Just throw the line over a pier or into a river — hold on to the bottle, obviously — and lie back, maybe finishing off another beverage for another “fishing rod”.

When something tugs on it, pull it up. Sure, there is some skill involved there, but you can learn that along the way. If you catch something, check it’s over the legal length for its species. If not, just chuck it back in after a Rex Hunt-style kiss and a delicate removal of the hook. Obviously gutting is a whole different ballgame, so make sure one of your friends can do it.

Alternatively, if you don’t catch any fish for dinner — or none that are bigger enough to keep — head down to a fishing competition weigh-in. In most of these the fishermen and women catch 10-15 fish each, but since they are amateurs they can’t legally sell them. So make some friends and enjoy their fresh-caught fish (preferably baked in the oven, with lots of lemon).