Body Lotion, Ketchup, & Other Stuff Not in Tackle Shops

I will never forget the first time I visited the marshes of Louisiana. Having never seen a tailing redfish before, watching a shoal of them pushing shrimp was an epic sight. But I won't forget the bugs either. Up until that day, I had never experienced no-see-ums as determined and plentiful. Of course, I was unprepared.

"You got a can off OFF laying around?," I asked my guide.

"Nope," he said. "Won't help you anyway. Try this." He handed me a near-empty bottle of Victoria's Secret Berry Kiss lotion. "I've tried strawberries and champagne and coconut," he said. "None work like berry." So I slathered it on and suddenly the gnats paid me no mind. I was bite-free and smelled like Gisele Bundchen...a win-win in my book.

Fish long enough with enough people and these little tricks get revealed. I'm not talking about ways to tweak a lure or tie a fly, I'm talking about the random uses for the seemingly unfishy.

I once met an old timer at a local lake who stressed the importance of shiny spinner blades. Before he started fishing, he'd pull a packet of ketchup and packet of lemon juice out of his tackle box and polish his blades with a dirty rag. "The smell doesn't bother the fish," he told me. "The acid in the mixture removes the tarnish and won't pollute the water." I still use that trick on occasion.

Then there was the guy at the marina where we kept our boat growing up that fished for flounder almost daily. He never took a minnow or squid strip out with him. Just a jar of orange Play-Doh. He caught more flatties than most.