On the morning of each fishing day, you select a lake to fish at, take your boat, visit the tackle shop for some lures, and go fishing. I've never actually taken a boat out into a lake to go fishing, but when I first played Reel Fish'n I got a pretty good impression of what it would be like. You can wander freely about the lake with your noisy outboard motor, or creep around with your slower, quiet electric motor. Look for a good spot among the lily pads, sticks, stumps and weeds. Once you find one, choose your lure and your reel, then cast off.
I can't really comment on the realism of this aspect of the game, but there's no doubting that it can get quite frantic for a fishing game. You have to be careful not to lose a fish once you've got one on your line, especially if it's a big one. Realistic or not, it's sweaty-palms time when you've hooked a twenty-pounder that's thrashing about in the water. It's a good idea to tire him out by wiggling your mouse around. There's a sense of relief when you finally raise the fat fish and he's safely in your live well, where he could earn you up to $5000 for that new boat or depthfinder. Make sure you consult the Fishing section of the manual before casting, or you may find yourself losing all of your fish.
The idea of participating in tournaments so you can buy better equipment extends Reel Fish'n's re-playability. And if a fishing game can appeal to impatient non-fishers like me, it must have something going for it.