Every angler has their own private mental list of the best fishing tips and tricks. Some they’re willing to share. Others, like the location of their favorite fishing spots, are jealously-guarded secrets. We’ve complied seven of our best fishing tips to help you next time you’re on or by the water.
Controlling Snaps and Swivels
Snaps and swivels are to tackle bags what socks are to washing machines. You’d swear you put them in there, but they disappear like magic. Instead of digging through a tackle bag for the elusive little devils, corral them. Take a large snap and thread smaller snaps and swivels onto it. Connect the snap to a lanyard, and you’ve got all your snaps and swivels securely in one location.
Sharpen Your Hooks
If you only follow one of our fishing tricks, make it this one. Fish have a better chance of wriggling off a dull hook, and you’ll miss more strikes. To sharpen a hook, use the “Triangle Method:”
- Hold the hook firmly
- Draw a file across the barb to the point. Do this several times, holding the file at a consistent angle.
- Repeat on the other side of the hook
- Use the file to add a few final strokes on the bottom of the point.
Get Crafty with Soft Baits
This is one of our favorite fishing tips for youngsters, as it combines fishing and crafts. Use a sharpie to draw eyes, gills, and scale patterns on soft plastic bait. You’re making the bait look more natural, which can only make it more appetizing to predators. As a bonus, as the ink fades and runs, it just makes the bait look even more interesting.
Stop Using Stringers
Rope stringers interfere with a fish’s ability to breath, causing it unnecessary suffering. Lip stringing’s also painful, and soft-lipped fish can tear free of the string. Using a string also encourages predators to make off with your hard-won catch. Switch to fish baskets, live-wells, or coolers.
Prevent Bait Theft
Small mouthed fish are consummate bait thieves, using their small bite size to seize the end of large pieces of bait and pull the whole thing right off the hook. Switching to a long-shanked Aberdeen hook solves this problem. The length of the shaft, coupled with the small hook gap, allows you to thread nightcrawlers or squid strips completely onto the hook so it can’t be pulled off by brazen little bait burglars.
Slowing Your Bait
Live baitfish can sometimes be a little too lively, staying out of the reach of slow, cold water predators, especially if you’re ice fishing. Give your prey a better chance to latch onto the hook by clipping the baitfish’s tail with a pair of scissors.
Own a Hand Reel
Hand reels are simply a reel and hook system that can be cast by hand, with no rod. While not part of your regular fishing gear, a hand reel is recommended for any emergency survival kit. Being able to fish can provide you with fresh food in a survival situation, allowing you to conserve nonperishable supplies for when you really need them.