All anglers have areas to improve. There are items often not thought about that can lead to better fishing. Tips to become a better angler will cover all aspects of fishing. The techniques, tackle, and maintenance of equipment are all factors. That will help catch more fish when using better practices.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 20 seconds. Contains 1467 words
Table of Contents
- Maintain Tackle to Become a Better Angler
- Fish New Places to Become a Better Angler
- Fish for Other Species
- Research and Learn About the Species of Fish
- Study the Waters You Fish
- Learn New Techniques to Become a Better Angler
Take the challenge of leaving your comfort zone. Anglers become comfortable with the waters, techniques, and brands of equipment they use. There are times a change helps catch more fish. Changing the way you fish challenges you to think and try other options. These often help in other situations. It is the same as changing color or the type of lure to get more strikes.
The tackle is important for an angler. One part of the set-up being improperly cared for leads to lost fish. The line will snap if old, dull hooks will not penetrate well, and dirty reels have poorly working drags.
The line needs changing once a year at least. The water and sunlight make the line deteriorate. It becomes weak. Lures and fish are lost due to the old-line making it cost-effective to change the line. It only costs 6-8 dollars to spool most reels. The cost of one lure or some live bait.
A dull hook does not work. They do not penetrate easily or to full depth when you set the hook. You must set the hook harder. Leading to pulling the hook out instead of setting the hook. Sharpen or replace dull or damaged hooks as needed. As terminal tackle, hooks are disposable items costing a few cents each.
Clean the reel and rod often. Dirt on the rod scratches guides and the blank. The scratches on guides will ruin the line. On the blank, they are removing the clear coat. The clear coat protects the fibers and resins that make up the rod blank. Water can creep into the fibers leading to failure.
On a reel, dirt will get inside and damage gears and bearings. The reel becomes unusable in a short time after the gears or bearing becomes damaged. Clean the outside after every outing and do a complete teardown once a year. Anglers fishing more often may need to do a complete cleaning several times a year. As a result, equipment lasts longer and performs better.
Anglers tend to fish the same waters or spots regularly. It becomes a habit. Venturing out and discovering more waters allows more options. The different waters may need anglers to learn new techniques. Lakes and rivers have differences. Rivers are always changing from high water. Some lakes stay the same. The exception is reservoirs near the dam where silt builds up.
Fishing rivers mean finding cover that moves. The brush and trees wash downstream. The land under the water erodes and builds up in slack water areas. The contour is changing every time the water rises from heavy rains.
Lakes have other changes happening throughout the year. The temperature rises in the shallows in the spring before the deep water. During the summer sections of lakes can become too warm and lack oxygen. Fish will move to other areas.
Lakes with a lot of vegetation tend to have a decaying matter on the bottom. This adds to the low oxygen problem. The fish suspend at a specific depth in these lakes. Fish suspending are tougher to catch. It requires presenting the bait or lure at a controlled depth.
The differences in lakes and rivers make anglers look at a waterway in different ways. Learning these differences adds knowledge of how to find fish. Plus, the different presentations work in either waterway. An example is trolling, common on lakes but rarely done on rivers. But is effective on both types of water.
Anglers targeting a species tend to get tunnel vision. They miss the complete picture. A bass angler will become better by adding panfish to the list of targeted species. Learning the panfish’s movements and tendencies will show where the bigger bass hunt. Large bass target panfish as a food source. Know the prey to catch bigger fish.
Targeting additional species teaches new techniques. Fishing for walleye an angler needs good jigging skills. These skills work on many species of fish. Bass anglers use finesse techniques. These presentations work well on any pressured fish. Learning to catch other species adds to an angler’s toolbox of skills.
Fish are creatures of habit. Their focus in life is survival, making them predictable. Each species has a time and place to spawn, feed, and rest. Knowing when and why they use an area leads to understanding the fishes’ movements.
Some species prefer gravel or rocky areas in the water, others like sandy or weedy sections. Understanding the fish’s habitat helps in finding them on any waterway.
Fish tend to prefer certain prey over other foods. A small-mouth will gorge on crayfish or hellgrammites when present. This is an area to use jigs with a creature type of soft plastic. The lure mimics the prey or is known as matching the hatch. Knowing the food is key to catching more fish.
A fish’s behavior changes throughout the year. In the spring, fish spawn and move into the areas best for the purpose. Afterward, they move to other structures or depths of water. In the fall many fish return to shallow water to feed heavily before winter. In winter, fish find deeper stable water with little or no current. Understanding the seasonal movements keeps an angler on the fish all year.
Anglers that know the waters catch more fish. The fish use structure and cover. Locating the structure and cover takes time but is a proven technique to catch fish. Fish use the structure as paths or roadways to move throughout the water. A flat area offers nowhere to hide for protection or ambushing prey.
The cover is the same in that regard. The cover is rock piles, fall downs, and weed beds to name a few. These places are where fish congregate to find food or protection. Small fish use weeds and brush to hide from predators. The predators use the places to ambush prey. These are the only places fish will be in the waterways.
Learn about structure and cover. Then find the areas on the waters you fish. This element of fishing is overlooked by many beginner or novice anglers. An experienced angler knows 75-90% of the water has few or no fish. These anglers target the structure and cover. Along with the seasonal movements to find fish.
Fishing requires many techniques to be productive all the time. Bass anglers often use soft plastics and fail to learn other lures. There are times and places for all the lures. The conditions of the water, temperature, and depth of the fish, influence the lure presentation. Plus, the clarity of water affects the color of the lure.
The activity level of the fish often determines the best lure to use. When fish are aggressively feeding reaction lures are better. These lures move faster and get fish to hit them hard. If fish are inactive or pressured a finesse technique is the better approach. These fish will hesitate before striking. The lure has to stay close to them for a longer time.
Colder water slows down a fish’s activity. A slower presentation is needed in this situation also. A jerk bait with a long pause or jigs works in colder waters. An Angler needs to match the speed to a fish’s activity level.
Color is debated constantly among anglers. The color must provide a good silhouette for the fish to see the lure. As the lure goes deeper some colors are not visible. In clear shallow water, the bright colors may spook fish. In water with low visibility, the sound is more important.
Fish will not see a lure in heavily stained or muddy water. A lure with rattles or vibration alerts a fish to the presence of the lure. These are a few factors related to choosing a lure color.
Every aspect of fishing has nuances that need attention. Proper maintenance of tackle prevents problems on the water. Trying new places to fish adds more options for where to catch fish. Targeting other species an angler has to learn information about fish behaviors. Learning about the species allows a better understanding of seasonal movements and other habits.
Learning the waters you fish makes finding fish easier. Locate the structure and cover to find more fish. Use various techniques when fishing. Adjust the techniques to fish activity, water clarity, and weather conditions. Understanding and adjusting to situations makes the difference. Between an average angler and the better anglers.