Fishing tips that help me, whether in application or mindset.
This tip is for when you are finesse fishing a Jig, a Shakeyhead, a Tube, a Dart, a Neko, or basically fishing on the bottom. I love the feeling of that bite, after working my bait on the bottom, and even better the feeling of driving that hook home. What I hate is reeling down to take up the slack line to set the hook and the fish already dropped it, so you swing and miss, you’re too late.
Most of the time, the reason for the miss was the amount of time it took for you to take up the slack line. What I’ve learned is this tip. The tip is when working on the bottom moving your bait along, don’t pull your rod tip up any higher to where you can’t see it in your peripheral vision. Your peripheral vision is not just left and right, it’s up and down as well.
If you pull your rod tip up to almost vertical, like 12 o’clock, even with the fastest reels today, you can’t take up enough slack line fast enough to properly drive that hook home,when you get that bite. So only lift the rod tip up to about the 1 or 2 o’clock position, or whatever one is within your upper peripheral vision and it will only take about 2 turns of the reel handle to take up the slack, which brings your rod tip down to about the 3 o’clock position and from that position you can set the hook properly.
Have a plan, but have a plan B. I recently learned this the hard way in a tournament last year. We consistently put 25-27 lbs in the boat during practice the week before (I won’t say where, what or when, still competing), but come game day the weather changed to a freak rainstorm and caught us all off guard. That whole week was 90 degrees and a slight breeze, wearing shorts and flops. We showed up at blast off, with all the others, in shirts and flops. Within the hour the storm came in, high 30 – 40 mph winds and pouring rain. We were soaked and cold! Our productive water, which depended on calm seas, was now in 5 footers. The whole area was totally non flishable, for the apixation we were going to use, and we were dumb enough not to have a backup plan, thinking we had this wired. As a result we weighed in ⅓ the weight we were getting. So have a plan B!
This one is simple, when you find the fish in practice, leave them alone and leave that area. You know they are there because you and your partner just missed several good hits. Missed? Yeah, I try to make it a habit of not winning prefish, especially the day before the tournament, by throwing baits with no hooks or with taped up hooks. All I really want is to know they are there, so I can come back for them later.
In a tournament, fish to your strengths, not someone’s else’s and don’t give up! What I mean by this is don’t listen to dock talk and start throwing something you have never thrown before, or use a technique you haven’t tried before. Stick to what you know and have been successful for you. The time to throw new stuff or try new techniques is when you are recreational fishing. When you are fishing and can’t get bit, try everything you know how to, stick with it, changing lures, presentations and colors, most times it pays off. Everyone gets down when you can’t figure the bite out, but don’t give up. I’ve fished several times when I’ve gone 9 straight hours in the day and got my teeth kicked in, with not even one single bite, and I was throwing the same baits as those anglers that were catching a few fish. Disheartening? Yes! Frustrated beyond shouting? Oh heck ya! Did it stop me from throwing and trying, as mentally exhausting as that is? No! Perseverance, as in throwing 1500 cast that day, or more, it becomes a learning experience! Tuck it away because it will happen again, just learn from it. Hang tough for the next trip! Every angler goes through it.
Good luck, and put some fun back into fishing!