Set the drag on your reel so your line won't break when you have the big one on.
Always keep most of the slack out of your line so you can see and feel the line move.
When a fish bites it may feel like tapping, pulling, your line may suddenly slack, or you may see it happen. That's when you set the hook.
If you have a fish on always keep the line tight while reeling in so he won't throw the hook off.
I prefer to set the hook fairly quickly so as to not gut hook the fish. You may loose more small fish, but you will save more fish. If you do gut hook one don't try to get the hook out. Instead cut the line just above the hook. Stomach acid dissolves the hook in short time, and gives the fish the best chance of survival.
If you're shore fishing don't worry, there are plenty of fish down the shoreline in just a few feet of water, many times right in front of you. I spend a lot of time power fishing the shore line. If the fish don't bite after a certain period of time I move to the adjacent area. If you are fishing from shore you need to be more patient.
If you see a fish jump or swimming around cast there right away.
Find an isolated body of water with low fishing pressure. Don't discount a small pond. Hidden away ponds that are only a few acres in size can often hold large fish. Go out in a canoe to water that doesn't have a boat ramp. You'll be able to go to spots that don't get fished frequently.
Fish like to lurk around structure, cover, and breaklines. Fish there. If your weedless don't be in a hurry to get out of weeds or lily pads. That's where the fish are. Without heavier test line don't go in brush or deep in heavy pads.
Establish patterns. Remember what you did catching the last fish and repeat. Also remember where you caught fish on a particular body of water.
If your not catching fish change speeds, levels, locations, or lures.
When casting be ready to stop your line with your hand in case your cast is going into a tree.
Wear polarized sunglasses for eye protection, glare reduction, and to see better into the water.
Be careful with hooks. I set the hook up and off to the side so the lure doesn't launch into someone.
It is your right according to the Great Pond Law
to fish any pond over 10 acres.
In Massachusetts a fishing license is required by law if you are 15 years or older in freshwater, and 16 years or older in saltwater. This allows for 2 lures in the water, or 5 through hard water. Lead sinkers and jigs under 1 ounce are prohibited on inland waters. Your license fees and tax money go towards keeping the environment and its waters clean and stocked with fish.
Have respect for nature and enjoy the adventure.