Fish with Seasoned Veterans
One of the most helpful things any young fisherman (or old for that matter) can do is go fishing with someone who has been in the game for longer than they have. Granted, some fishermen don't want to give away any information they've learned over the years. We can be a secretive bunch. However, you'd be surprised how many love to teach others and share their passion for the sport.
With my position in the industry, I've had the opportunity to fish with several people who are much better than I am. Just last year, I was able to go fishing with Ned Kehde, the gentleman pictured in the photo. For those who don't know of his legacy, he's responsible for making popular something he calls "midwest finesse tactics". Everyone else likes to call it the “Ned Rig.”
Kehde is practically a walking encyclopedia of fishing knowledge. He has been fishing for longer than I've been alive, and it showed. I learned more from him in one outing than I could've learned in several months spent fishing by myself.
Fishing with folks like Kehde doesn't mean you have to go out and hire a guide. Joining a club, getting involved in an online fishing forum, or even hanging out at your local tackle shop can open up opportunities to get out on the water with people who know better than you do. Perhaps even more important than the knowledge you gain, you may end up with a new friend to share your hobby with.