Angling is simultaneously one of the world’s greatest, most frustrating, and most rewarding puzzles out there. Figuring out what a species of fish is doing at any given moment amongst the seemingly endless list of variables is key to consistently putting fish in the boat. And here’s some tips to help master the art of solving those puzzles.
KEEP A FISHING LOG – A log or journal can be the single most powerful tool an angler can have. Record every outing in every detail. Sun, moon phases, water level or river flow rate, season, water temperature, air temperature, wind speed and direction are all important conditions to take note of. Also make notes on what was working (or not). What spinning or casting reels, in what color, and at what depth needs to be noted. Once you start getting a good amount of entries in your journal, you’ll easily be able to look back on fishing in similar conditions and either replicate what worked well, or change up what didn’t work.
DON’T GET FRUSTRATED – Just had a bad outing and got skunked or caught a lot less than normal? Well, don’t get angry or flustered over it, because you just learned something. Whether it was the wrong lure or fly choice, the wrong color, retrieve, or whatever, you did something the fish didn’t want, so it’s time to figure out what they did want. Find out what had changed between your last successful outing and this not so successful one. Learn what those changes actually do to the fish, and it will help you better prepare for the next time conditions change.
TRY SOMETHING NEW – You’d be surprised by how much learning a new skill set can improve existing ones. Whether it’s just a new technique, a new baitcasting reel, or a completely different discipline, learning something new won’t only just broaden your skillset, it can help sharpen your existing one. A fisherman who normally only fishes conventional gear may become a better caster by learning how to fly fish, as well as learn more about the actual food sources of his targets. One who normally pitches big jigs with heavy gear may learn how to better detect subtle strikes by trying a light finesse spin rig.
Beyond just skillsets, it’s important not to become too stuck in our “old ways”. Fishing is just like anything else, it evolves over time. Fishing rods and fishing reels get better, line gets better, lures and techniques do too. And unless you try these new things, you’ll never know what you may miss that can put more fish on the end of your line.
Author - Jason Lighthall from Sparks, NV