We all make mistakes in life. People making common mistakes while fishing often do not know they are making a mistake. This results in catching fewer fish. Have you fished near someone catching a lot of fish? Yet, you only catch a few. You are doing something wrong. The fish are in the area and you are not catching them. If you were doing the right techniques and actions. You would catch a lot of fish also.
- Fishing Line
- Use the Right Knot
- Setting the Drag
- Using the Right Fishing Rod
- Using the Correct Hook Set
- Presenting a Lure Correctly
- Choosing the Correct Hooks
- Choosing the Proper Weight
Estimated reading time: 21 minutes, 28 seconds. Contains 4295 words
People beginning to fish or lacking experience have a one size fits all attitude towards fishing. What you fish for in a species, how you fish, and sometimes where you fish have dramatic influences on tackle and techniques. There is not a single line or rod that does it all. Plus, fishing rivers, streams, and lakes all have nuances you need to learn.
The way to solve most of the problems is to find an experienced angler. Social media is good for finding a place to fish and a few other tidbits of information. It is not a good source for finding out what rod, reel, or line is best for you. People have preferences and habits developed over years. They recommend based on their experiences, preferences, and habits. You will likely experience different situations when fishing.
Experienced anglers have faced many situations. As a result, they have learned the techniques, tackle, and nuances to be successful. The majority of keyboard experts lack good fishing skills. Experienced anglers spend their time fishing, not on social media.
Common Mistakes with Tackle While Fishing
People will claim any rod can catch fish. This is true but the correct rod for the targeted species catches more fish. Add in the correct line choice. The lines and rods are designed for specific uses in fishing. The rod and lines today have features improving performance for certain situations.
People run into problems with line due to three main reasons. They use the wrong type or strength of the line. The line is incorrectly placed on the reel. A low-quality is line bought with expectations of good performance. In many cases, people commit all three mistakes with a fishing line. If your line is becoming tangled or loops a lot it is likely at least two of the mistakes are involved.
The low-quality lines have attractive low costs. These lines also have more memory if fluoro or monofilament. The low-cost braids do not meet strength standards and tend to unravel faster. These characteristics with the low-cost lines do affect how many fish you will catch. You will have shorter casts, tangled lines, and break off more frequently. The lines tend to be stiffer and have less sensitivity. You want sensitivity to feel bites and cheap lines do not provide the feature.
People use a line heavier than needed for the species or style of fishing. Plus a few anglers use a high-strength monofilament instead of a braided line. This creates poor casting performance. A lighter or thinner line casts farther and has less resistance in the water. The line type and strength must match the fishing situation.
Choosing Line Based On the Situation
Using the right line allows you to feel the bite. What factors into the right line for feeling a bite? The distance you are casting out and current affect the feel. Short casts in calm water make keeping tension easy. You will feel a bite. Some rigs or lures do produce slack. In this case, watch the line for movement to the side or tightening up. The high visibility lines help with the line-watching method.
The braided fishing line has no or very little stretch. This line offers the best sensitivity to feel bites or what a lure is doing in the water. Fluorocarbon is number two in sensitivity with a good feel and better abrasion resistance. Monofilament will stretch limiting sensitivity. It does have abrasion resistance and shock strength. Shock strength is a line’s ability to withstand a thrashing or hard-charging fish. Think of the line acting like a bungee cord.
The diameter of the line causes resistance in current. A large diameter will have a constant pull on the line. In these cases, a thinner line is better suited. If you need a high strength above 10-12 lb. line use a braided line. A 30 lb. braid has a diameter of most 8 lb. monofilament lines. Casting longer distances the thicker diameter causes a loss of distance. Use a braid for longer casts if needed.
Choosing a Line
People make common mistakes while choosing the fishing line. Choose the line on your needs, not what others recommend. They likely fish in different conditions. An exception is an experienced angler, that knows where you are fishing. Beginners are better off with monofilament in almost all instances. If you fish weedy lakes use a braided fishing line as a beginner.
In stained or muddy waters line color is rarely an issue. Yet, in clear streams or lakes fish will see lines. Use a fluorocarbon leader in clear water situations. Trout fishing using 4-6 lb. test fluorocarbon as the mainline is fine. Understand heavier fluorocarbon lines above 8 lbs. have a tendency to loop or coil due to memory. Using line strengths above 8 lbs. use a braided mainline with fluorocarbon leaders.
The cover makes the line choice important. Fishing in weeds, the braided line is superior. In areas with rocks and gravel that scrape your line, use a monofilament. Monofilament has abrasion resistance that is better than braided line. If you need a braid for casting distance or strength. Use a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader in rocky areas.
Match the line strength to the rod power. Using lighter lines leads to the breaking of the line. A line too strong will break a rod. Using braid makes this a common issue. You need to set the drag based on the rod strength and not the line strength in this case.
Common Mistakes While Spooling Fishing Line
One of the common mistakes while fishing is incorrectly spooled line. Line put on a reel wrong will cause problems. Go to a tackle shop or spool the line with the correct method.
Spooling fishing line needs to be done correctly. Using poor techniques or habits leads to most fishing line problems. Spinning reels bring the line off the bottom of the refill spool. On a baitcasting reel, the line comes off the top of the refill spool. Monofilament or Fluorocarbon being used as a mainline will have memory. Soaking the refill spool in a bucket or bowl of warm water loosens the memory.
All lines need proper tension when being put on a reel spool. Pinching the line between your finger and thumb does not provide even tension. Plus you hold the line too close to the reel. This results in uneven line lay or poor tension on the spool. Go to a tackle shop and have them spool your reel. If this is not an option, buy a fishing line tensioning tool.
These hold the refill spool of the line and allow you to run the line through the guides on the rod. As a result, you will have a properly tensioned line with an even line lay on the reel spool. Using this method will reduce or eliminate loops, wind knots, and backlashing while casting.
The number one question about the fishing line is what knot to use? The knot choice is made by line type. Using monofilament the clinch or Palomar knots are the best choice. A properly tied clinch is stronger, but it is harder to tie. Regardless, any knot must be tied correctly for good strength. A knot failure is one of the leading causes of losing fish.
Using braided lines some makers recommend a knot. Use the recommended knot for the line. If a knot is not specified use a Palomar or Uni-knot with a braided line. These knots do not slip or slide becoming untied under a load. Using other knots with braid tends to fail under light loads.
Fluorocarbon is given a bad rap because of knot failures. This line is unforgiving if a bad knot is used. The popular choice is a Palomar knot. You need to tie the knot correctly. The Uni-knot is good also. It is used for connecting fluorocarbons to braids for leader use. Learning both knots is the best option if using fluorocarbon.
Using a Leader
Anglers using braid as a mainline will often need a leader. The knots to tie on a leader vary between anglers. The Alberto and J-knot tend to be the strongest for braid to fluoro connections. The Uni-knot is considered easier to tie but is not as strong. Uni-knots get weaker as lines get different in diameter. Anglers with experience, like the Alberto knot for the strength and small size. It allows a longer leader to be used, the knot passes through the rod guides easily
An easy method for a leader is to use a swivel. It will make a shorter leader a requirement. Usually, a 2-3 feet leader is fine. You can tie the swivel to the mainline and attach the leader with your preferred knots. Be aware that the swivel cannot hit the tip-top guide with this method. A swivel is likely to damage the guide so use caution.
Anglers using jerkbaits and a few other lures need a loop knot option also. These are slightly more complex to tie. The knot forms a loop at the attachment point to the lure. The loop allows the lure to achieve full action. Also, a knot tied tight to a line tie can affect the action with these lures.
All the knots mentioned are illustrated in this article. Learn the 2-3 knots you will need and practice tying the knots. A little time at home practicing will eliminate problems while fishing. The wrong or poorly tied knot is the most common cause of line failures.
A drag is critical to landing a fish. Once a fish is hooked it will fight to get off. Drags set incorrect accounts for the most lost fish once hooked. The line will break, hooks will straighten out, or pull out of the fish. Set the drag based on the rod’s line rating, line strength, and hook strength. Some hooks are thin wire and will straighten out causing a lost fish. The line strength may exceed the rod’s rating if using a braided line.
Using braided lines use the rod’s line rating. This allows the rod to perform correctly. You want the rod compensating during the fish fighting. When a fish pulls harder, is when the drag does the work by allowing the line to come off. This should happen when the rod approaches or hits its full load.
An example of setting the drag right is as follows. take the line strength or rod rating, the lower of the two. Divide the pound rating by 4. Find a weight equal to the answer. An 8lb. line / 4 = 2 pound weight. This is how much pressure it should take to pull the line off the reel. If the line comes too easy tighten the drag. The line does not come off, loosen the drag.
Setting the drag properly will save you from breaking your tackle and losing fish. An incorrect set drag is one of the biggest common mistakes while fishing. Take the time to set your drag properly.
Note: When a fish pulls line off the reel the drag makes an audible sound. Do not reel when the line is being taken off the reel. This is a mistake many inexperienced anglers make.
People going fishing occasionally likely do not need to get specific rods for species. A medium power fast action rod is the general choice for these people. When fishing for a species as your primary target requires the right rod. Having a rod made for the species will perform at a higher level.
The rod controls the fish while fighting. A rod too stiff will not bend, absorbing the fish’s fight. Using a rod too flexible stays bent not allowing any give on a hard run. A rod needs to flex when the fish pulls hard and relax some when not fighting as hard. This is how the hooks stay stuck in the fish. Using the wrong rod a hook can be thrown or pulled out.
Trout or panfish use an ultra-light or light power rod. One of these rods allows you to feel the bites and flex easier. Lighter power rods work well with smaller fish. Anglers going after larger fish need a stronger rod. This may be a medium-heavy or heavy power rod. These powers are common in catfish and musky fishing. Feeling a bite is usually not a concern with large fish.
Understand Rod Materials
You need to understand the difference between graphite and fiberglass rods also. A graphite rod has good sensitivity to feel bites and what a lure is doing in the water. Fiberglass rods lack sensitivity but are more durable. Graphite rods are best for lure fishing, trout, bass, and other species of gamefish. Going for catfish, carp, and other hard-fighting fish, a fiberglass rod is better most of the time.
You will find differences in rods for specific species. A medium-heavy for bass, catfish and musky are all different strength rods. When in doubt look at the lure rating of the rod. It is the best indicator of rod strength.
Choosing the Right Fishing Rod
The right rod varies on the fish and technique used. The chart shows general recommendations of which rod to use.
|Bass||Spinning||Live Bait||7′ to 7’6″||Med||Moderate to Fast|
|Bass||Spinning||Lures||7′ to 7’6″||Med.-Light, Med., or Med-Heavy||Fast|
|Bass||Baitcast||Soft Plastics||6’6″ to 8’6″||Med.or Med-Heavy||Fast|
|Bass||Baitcast||Reaction Lures||6’6″ to 8’6″||Med.or Med-Heavy||Moderate-fast|
|Walleye||Spinning||Live Bait||6’6″ to 7’6″||Medium||Fast|
|Walleye||Spinning||Jigging||6’6″ to 7’6″||Medium||Extra-Fast|
|Walleye||Spinning||Crankbaits||6’6″ to 7’6″||Med-Heavy||Moderate|
|Panfish||Spinning||Any||5′ to 7′||Ultra-Lite or Lite||Fast|
|Trout||Spinning||Any||6′ to 7 1/2||Light||Fast|
|Catfish||Baitcast||Live Bait||7′ to 8’6″||Med-Heavy||Moderate|
|Musky||Baitcast||Lures||7’6″ to 9’6″||Heavy or above||Fast|
|General||Spinning||Any||6’6″ to 7’6″||Medium||Fast|
If you have a friend that is an experienced angler look at what they use for fishing. Ask to try out a few rods. This will help you decide what is best for you. Using a rod of the wrong power results in losing fish.
Common Mistakes While Fishing Using Rods
A fishing rod will break if used incorrectly. Setting the drag was covered under fishing line issues. There are a few more common mistakes while fishing that break fishing rods. Using poor techniques to get out snags and high sticking. These are the two mistakes resulting in many broken rods.
I see people lifting rods high while fighting fish, break free of a snag, or lifting a fish out of the water. A rod is meant to be at 45 degrees upwards angle. Once the rod is lifted past 45 degrees the load transfers more to the tip.
When you set the hook the lure is usually farther out. The line angle to the rod will be less than 45 degrees. Reeling in the angle gets steeper quickly. This is when high sticking occurs. Watch your rod when retrieving lures or fish. Check the line angle in relation to the rod. If tighter than 45 degrees you risk breaking the rod.
Approaching 80-90 degrees the last few inches of the rod takes the full load. The rod at 90 degrees can break with 2 pounds of pressure. You want the load spread throughout the entire shaft.
Freeing a Snag
When a lure or rig is snagged do not jerk to break the lure or rig free. This results in a broken rod or making the hooks dig into the snag. Plus all the force is absorbed by the rod and reel. Instead, point the rod tip toward the snag. Reel up the slackline and pluck the line. Use a motion similar to drawing a bow. This will make the rig or lure “bounce back” often out of a snag.
In cases where the method does not work. Pull-on the line to break the lure free or snap the line. Use caution since some lines will cut through the skin easily. Wrap the line around an object without sharp edges to pull the line. A piece of a twig or similar item will work. Sharp edges cause the line to break at that point. using a rounded object makes the knot at the lure or rig fail most of the time.
Common Technique Mistakes While Fishing
Using poor techniques or methods while fishing is another mistake made by inexperienced anglers. The hook set is one action people tend to go overboard or lack enough force. On fishing shows, you see people jerking hard and arching their back. This is showing off and not needed. Your arms and wrists will get the hook set, it is a pointed object!
Inexperienced people use lures wrong most of the time. Each lure has specific retrieves to achieve the best results. These will vary with the conditions of the water and temperature.
Setting a hook is a learned skill. Jerking too hard or easy, plus too soon or late ends up with poor results. Anglers pull hooks out of the fish’s mouth with too hard or soon of a hook set. Using a hook set too easy and the fish gets off, the hook does not penetrate. Waiting too long usually results in a swallowed hook.
A few basic guidelines will help with a hookset. First, you need to feel the fish pulling. Fish will nip at lures or bait, you need to wait sometimes to feel them pull the lure or bait. An exception is when watching a slackline. If it is moving due to a fish, set the hook.
Using lighter tackle, line, or thin wire hooks a rapid sweeping motion works well. A hard hook set will rip the hook out of the lip or may snap the line. In contrast, using heavy tackle and heavier wire gauge hooks you need more force to set the hook. Use your arms and wrists with a solid jerking motion. The thicker and bigger hooks need more force to penetrate.
Add in the species you are targeting. Many fish have a soft mouth and others have hard boney mouths. Examples of the soft mouth include many panfish, carp, catfish, and a few others. Members of the pike family, walleye, and largemouth bass have hard mouths due to bone and cartilage. A fish with a soft mouth needs far less force to set a hook, than a fish with a hard mouth.
A poor hook set is one of the common mistakes while fishing. Learn about the fish you target and your tackle. This will help you learn and decide on how to set the hook better.
What is the correct method of using a lure? It depends on the lure. The types of lures fall into different categories. Some use finesse and others are reactionary in getting a strike. A few of the names explain how to use them. Each type has situations where they perform better than the others. This requires starting with the basics of each lure and getting experience. That said, some are easily learned and a few take some time.
The easy-to-learn and use lures are the reaction types. These are spinners, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jerkbaits, plus a few top water lures. The finesse lures take some time to learn and are soft plastic rigs, jigs, walk the dog, topwater, and glide baits. The latter takes having a feel or technique acquired to be successful.
The common mistakes while fishing inexperienced anglers make is choosing too many lure types. Using a couple to start and learn to use them effectively is best. Once you have learned 2-3 types, add another type of lure to use. It is recommended to have two types of reaction lures, a finesse, and maybe easy-to-use topwater to start.
What Lures to Use
The choices for soft plastics or finesse baits are different for regions and types of fish. In the South, fishing for largemouth bass, a Texas rig is the go-to lure. Yet, an angler in the Northeast, fishing for smallmouth will find a tube jig more effective. You will need to decide which soft plastic is best in your region. The type of waters you fish in affects lure choice also. Jigs are better in rivers and streams, while rigged worms are used on lakes and ponds.
Regardless of the lure choices, learn the correct techniques for each. This is more important than the color choice most of the time. In the area of color choice, a dark, bright, and baitfish pattern are all you need. Look at the green pumpkin or chartreuse for bright colors, black or dark blue as the dark choices, and perch, crayfish, or bluegill as baitfish patterns. Do not overthink colors. If the lure creates a good silhouette in the water it will work.
Beginner or novice angler often make common mistakes while fishing with lure choices. Buy a few lures and try them in the places you fish. Take the time to learn the lure. You will be able to judge your future purchases on success instead of the color or appeal at the store.
Common Mistakes While Fishing with Terminal Tackle
Using the wrong hook or size of the hook is common also. There are many bass anglers using an EWG hook all the time. In many cases, a standard offset worm hook is a better choice. The correct weight is important also. The style or type, plus the amount it weighs does matter. A poor choice in the weight leads to snags, unnatural presentation, and poor casting at times.
Hooks for fishing are specialized. An angler needs to know what hook to use in a situation. Using live bait a baitholder, circle, or live bait hook is recommended. Fishing soft plastics you will use an offset, EWG, or wacky rig hook. Each hook is designed for a specific purpose.
A baitholder is for worms, nightcrawlers, and soft baits. A live bait hook is the best for minnows and other small aquatic baitfish. Anglers going for catfish prefer the circle hook. It has more strength and prevents swallowed hooks. The choice of bait influences the hook choice. In some cases, the species affects the choice.
Rigging soft plastics uses different hooks. Throwing a Texas rig the offset hook is better. Creature baits such as lizards and other thick-bodied plastics need an EWG hook (extra wide gap). Using the wacky, Ned, or Neko rig a wacky rig hook is what needs to be used. A wacky hook is the same as live bait hooks.
The bends and gaps on these hooks are designed to get penetration of the hook point. Inexperienced anglers will need to gain the experience of where and when each hook is best. This includes learning the correct size also.
|Smallmouth||1/0 – 6||1/0 – 6||3/0 – 1||3/0 – 1||1/0 – 4|
|Largemouth||4/0 – 1||4/0 – 1||4/0 – 1||4/0 – 1/0||1/0 – 2|
|Channel Catfish||2/0 – 4||2/0 – 4||2/0 – 4|
|Flathead Catfish||4/0 – 2||4/0 – 2||7/0 – 1/0|
|Blue Catfish||4/0 – 2||4/0 – 2||7/0 – 1/0|
As shown in the chart, hook sizes and types vary for each species. The chart is a starting point for inexperienced anglers. As you gain experience some adjustments will be likely in your choices. The size of the fish determines hook size along with the species. Some fish have smaller mouths while a few have rather large mouths. Plus a few hooks lack the strength for a few species.
Choosing a weight for fishing goes beyond how heavy. The shapes are for different bottom compositions, casting distance, or to eliminate hanging up in weeds. An understanding of what type of sinker to use is important. You do need to look at the casting distance with all sinkers.
Yet, some are designed to keep a bait in place. While others are for bouncing along the bottom. A few sinkers allow the line to pass-through for certain presentations.
A few suggestions in sinkers are the following. Split shots are ideal for drifting bait in current. The bullet sinker is best for weeds with rigged soft plastics. In rivers, a coin weight will hold in place since it cannot roll. Looking for distance, find a casting sinker. There are sinkers for every situation.
The correct sinker will improve your fishing success and reduce the loss of terminal tackle. A few sinkers will cross over and work in many situations. Once you have experience using the many sinkers. The selection of the best to use will become easy.
The majority of mistakes are with knots, lines, hooks, and other pieces of tackle. Take the time to learn what tackle is suited for the species targeted. Properly spool line and tie knots. They are two of the most common mistake areas. Use a hookset based on the species and tackle. Learn how to properly use lures. Understand the differences in all the terminal tackle.
All of the common mistakes while fishing occur in the basics. Using poor habits or techniques will lead to many problems. Learn the basics of all your tackle and how to properly use the tackle.