10 Super-Simple, Crazy-Useful Fishing Tips

You’re going to be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

What’s the best method to organize your tackle box? How do you bait a salmon egg on a hook? What’s the most effective way to chum for carp? You’ll find the answers to those fishing questions, plus a few others, in this list of ingenious fishing tips—courtesy of Field & Stream readers. If you like these tricks and gear hacks, check out our best-ever list of reader camping tips.

Never Dig for Nightcrawlers Again

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Now you can find worms from either end of a coffee can.

When I fish with nightcrawlers, I store them the old-fashioned way, in a coffee can filled with soil. I remove both ends of the can, however, and cover each with a plastic lid. This way, the worms are always accessible, so I never have to go digging to the bottom. —Lowell Harner

Carry a Backpacking Boat Anchor

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This idea for a fishing anchor is a…slam dunk.

I portage my canoe a lot, so I know how much precious room a heavy folding anchor takes up in my pack. But I also don’t always want to drift-fish. Solution: a basketball net. Tie off the bottom with a short piece of rope. When you need it, fill with a few large rocks, and tie off the other end with a drop line. I use poly rope because it’s a good general-purpose rope for around camp. —Joe Doss

Craft Your Own Spool Dispenser

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This hack will keep your fishing line from spiraling off the spool.

Here’s how I turn my spools of line into handy dispensers: First, cut a strand of elastic that’s the width of the spool and long enough to stretch around it. Make a loop with the elastic by gluing each end along the sides of a plastic bead (available at any crafts store). Next, cut a piece of heat-shrink tubing a tad larger than the bead. Slide the tubing over the bead and shrink it with a blow-dryer. Finally, thread your line through the bead and cover the spool with the elastic. Now you can pull out line while keeping it wrapped tightly on the spool. —John J. Matousek

Chuck a Chum Bomb

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This’ll help you get some serious distance with your chum.

An effective way to chum for catfish, trout, and other species is to toss globs of chum with one of those “chuckers” designed to throw tennis balls for dogs. Just load up the cup—I use canned corn or cat food—and heave it. I can get chum out as far as 75 feet this way. —Mark Cerulli

Never Lose Another Fillet Knife

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A cork will keep your knife from sinking if it goes overboard. Field & Stream

I never have to worry about losing my knife if it falls in the water because I threaded rawhide through the handle, flattened the ends, and attached a large cork bobber. —Chuck Martel

Trap Loose Trash on Your Boat

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Because nobody wants to fish in a garbage heap.

To corral all the small trash that normally blows around the deck of your boat, use a large plastic coffee container as a trash receptacle. First, cut a 2-inch-diameter hole in the lid. Then, drill a small hole through the handle and the lid. Thread a piece of cord through the holes to serve as a lanyard. Now you won’t have to worry about used monofilament, candy wrappers, and other garbage blowing into the water. —John Slota

Keep Your Salmon Eggs on Your Hook With Salt

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A touch of salt will help secure an egg on your hook.

Have you ever wondered how to keep from losing your fresh salmon-egg bait to a strong current? Simply empty your jar of eggs on a saucer and sprinkle lightly with table salt. Return them to the jar and go fishing immediately. Your eggs will seem to have become “rubberized” and will stay on the hook. —John Minerly

Organize and Separate Fishing Hooks with Safety Pins

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Use safety pins to keep your different-size hooks from getting mixed together.

Use safety pins to keep the fishing hooks in your tackle box organized. I got tired of hooks getting mixed up, so now I use safety pins to keep them separated. Simply feed the point through the eye of the hooks. A lot of hooks fit on one pin, and it’s an easy way to keep the different kinds sorted. —Stephen Elliott

Improve Your Fly-Line Memory with a Coffee Can

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After flyfishing season, wrap your line around a large coffee can to minimize kinks.

If I know I won’t be flyfishing for a straight month or so, I wrap the first 40 feet of my fly line around a large coffee can. The diameter of the can prevents tight curls from forming in the line, which helps it lie straight on the water the next time I go fishing. —Stephen Miller

Keep a Spool Wrapped Inside a Koozie

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A Koozie will keep bigger spools of line from unraveling.

A beer Koozie isn’t just for keeping a cold one cool. To keep a large spool of mono fishing line from unraveling, I tuck it inside a Koozie. I leave a piece of line hanging out, so I can strip off as much as I need without making a mess of the spool. —Michael Willsher