More Fishing Tips

When fishing for species on which length limits apply, put a band of tape at the appropriate distance from your rod butt and use the mark as a reference for measuring fish. You will always have a means of determining whether or not a fish is of legal size. Click for more tips

Hinting Heron
A heron standing still at the edge of deep water is a reliable sign that baitfish are within its sight. Assume that the baitfish are either being kept in place by larger fish or that larger fish will soon come along and discover them. Make careful casts with a sinking lure in the heron's vicinity. There's a good chance that a predatory fish lurking nearby will perceive your lure as an escaping baitfish.

Hose Knows
When night crawlers and worms retreat deep into the earth during hot, dry weather, you can bring them to the surface by letting a hose run on the ground for about 20 minutes in the evening. Good fishing worms will emerge from the surface within a few minutes.

Hotspots
When scouting for fishing hotspots in lakes or ocean locations, look for places where the bottom changes from mud or sand to rock. Rocks provide a better environment for crustaceans, aquatic insects, and baitfish, and nearby gamefish will concentrate there.

Check the Sun
When flyfishing, note the position of the sun in relation to the fish. If the fish must look into the sun to see the approaching fly, a dark pattern that presents a clear silhouette will be most noticeable. If the sun is behind the fish, a bright, glittery pattern will show up best. When the sun is overhead or obscured by clouds, choose a fly with subdued, natural colors.

Baitfish Clue
When you see schools of baitfish jumping in shallow water, it's certain they are being driven by predators. Rather than casting your lure in among the leaping baitfish, try casting 10 to 20 feet away from them in deeper water. Often they are being chased by smaller predator fish, while the bigger predators stay in deeper water, ready to grab any escaping bait.

Fishing Shallow Flats
Fish are easily spooked in shallow flats where they can be seen. To fish the flats successfully requires stealth. Wear muted colors, keep a low profile, and hold your rod low when casting. Stand still for long periods and wait for fish to move to you rather than disturb them by moving around.

Big Fish
When big fish move from deep water to the water's edge, they are most likely to be found where the deepest water meets the shore. These spots can be identified by checking the shoreline slope. Where the slope is steep, the drop-off is also steep and big fish are most likely to linger there before they move into shallow, flatter areas.

Don't Litter
Plastic bags, six-pack ring-pulls, and discarded fishing line cause the entanglement and death of countless fish and wildlife each year. Be sure to carry a waste disposal container on board your boat and use it. Don't throw anything in the water that did not come out of it.

A Whopper
When fishing for species on which length limits apply, put a band of tape at the appropriate distance from your rod butt and use the mark as a reference for measuring fish. You will always have a means of determining whether or not a fish is of legal size. Lures & Live Bait

Spoon Tricks
Spoons are universally effective fishing lures, yet some attract fish more than others. Better action is usually the reason. You can vary how a spoon moves through the water by making small adjustments with needle-nose pliers. Bending the spoon to increase the curve causes it to run closer to the surface and wobble more. Flattening the curve makes it sink deeper and run straighter. Bend the eye up to make the spoon run with its nose down; bend it down to make it run nose up.

Wash Your Lures
Tackle boxes restrict air movement, so rust can spread throughout the box when lures are put away wet. Carry a small bucket on your boat to put lures in when you finish using them. Add detergent and water to the bucket at the end of the day to wash the lures, then pour the sudsy water down a drain. Rinse the lures in fresh water, and lay them out to dry before putting them back in your tackle box. Your lures will last much longer.

Always Keep Retrieve Slow
When fish aren't biting there is a natural tendency to reel lures faster so you can cast more frequently and cover more area. That's a mistake. It is more effective to limit casting to the fishiest-looking water, cover it methodically, and slow down your retrieve. Even a fish with a bad case of lockjaw will usually bite when an attractive bait passes very close at a speed that makes it easy to catch.

Stone Sharpness
You don't have to fish with dull hooks just because you forgot your hook-sharpening file. Almost any stone along the shore of your fishing waters will suffice to touch up hook sharpness. Pick a smooth, palm-sized stone, hold it tight, and stroke the hook point flat against the stone. A few strokes is all it takes.

Boil Your Leader
You can eliminate kinks and stiffness from heavy leader material by boiling it briefly. Cut leaders to the required length, then drop them in boiling water for a few seconds. They will emerge limp and straight, without a tendency to curl. Flies and light lures will swim straighter as a result. Skim the Weeds
When flyfishing for trout in a pond or lake, use a nymph or wet fly and count how long you have to let it sink before you start pulling up weeds on your retrieve. By subtracting 5 seconds before you retrieve your next cast, you will be causing your fly to skim the weed tops. Trout often swim through weeds to dislodge insect life, then move toward the surface to catch the escaping insects. The band of water just above the weed tops is a prime feeding area.

Grasshopper Seine
A minnow seine can be used to catch grasshoppers for bait. Mount 6-foot poles at each end of the seine and have two people hold the net upright and fully extended as they move across a grassy field. When enough grasshoppers are clinging to the netting, bunch the net up to trap them, then carefully unfold it, removing the hoppers as you come to them.

Look for Mud
Wind-driven waves create a band of muddy water where they crash ashore, and baitfish tend to feed in those murky areas on the debris and insects that are carried there by the wind. When bigger predator fish move in to feed on the concentration of baitfish, these mudlines can offer exceptional fishing opportunities.

Presenting the Fly
Fish often break loose when they take a fly that is presented directly downstream because they get hooked in the weak skin of the lips. Once you have zeroed in on a fish's location, position yourself so that you can present the fly from a position slightly sideways to the fish. When the fish takes the fly and turns to go back to its lair, the hook will be pulled back into the hinge of the fish's jaw, where the flesh is strongest.

Screening for Hellgrammites
Hellgrammites, the pincered larvae of the dobsonfly, grow more than 3 inches long and are a favorite food of bass and big trout. Catch them for bait by tacking a 3-foot-square piece of 1/4-inch mesh screening between two 4-foot poles. Hold the screen in the current in 1 to 2 feet of fast-running water while your par When flyfishing for trout in a pond or lake, use a nymph or wet fly and count how long you have to let it sink before you start pulling up weeds on your retrieve. By subtracting 5 seconds before you retrieve your next cast, you will be causing your fly to skim the weed tops. Trout often swim through weeds to dislodge insect life, then move toward the surface to catch the escaping insects. The band of water just above the weed tops is a prime feeding area.

Grasshopper Seine
A minnow seine can be used to catch grasshoppers for bait. Mount 6-foot poles at each end of the seine and have two people hold the net upright and fully extended as they move across a grassy field. When enough grasshoppers are clinging to the netting, bunch the net up to trap them, then carefully unfold it, removing the hoppers as you come to them.

Look for Mud
Wind-driven waves create a band of muddy water where they crash ashore, and baitfish tend to feed in those murky areas on the debris and insects that are carried there by the wind. When bigger predator fish move in to feed on the concentration of baitfish, these mudlines can offer exceptional fishing opportunities.

Presenting the Fly
Fish often break loose when they take a fly that is presented directly downstream because they get hooked in the weak skin of the lips. Once you have zeroed in on a fish's location, position yourself so that you can present the fly from a position slightly sideways to the fish. When the fish takes the fly and turns to go back to its lair, the hook will be pulled back into the hinge of the fish's jaw, where the flesh is strongest.

Screening for Hellgrammites
Hellgrammites, the pincered larvae of the dobsonfly, grow more than 3 inches long and are a favorite food of bass and big trout. Catch them for bait by tacking a 3-foot-square piece of 1/4-inch mesh screening between two 4-foot poles. Hold the screen in the current in 1 to 2 feet of fast-running water while your par