What makes a good fisherman? There are many factors that contribute to someone earning that title. Different species of fish require distinct techniques, but there’s something every fisherman can do to become a better angler. Here’s how you can set yourself up to catch fish.
Cast Where The Fish Are
This one is obvious, but worth stating. You won’t catch anything if you’re not putting your lure near fish. Finding fish can be one of the most challenging parts of the sport, but by fishing High Percentage Areas you’ll increase the odds. Pinpointing High Percentage Areas takes time, research and preparation. There are three factors that make up High Percentage Areas.
1. Season- High Percentage Areas change throughout the year. Spawning bass move onto beds in the shallows in the spring, but in the heat of summer you’ll often find them suspended over deeper water.
2. Local Patterns- Read local fishing reports to see what is happening on a particular body of water. It’s not that the same thing that worked yesterday will necessarily work today, but it gives a point of reference.
3. Historical Patterns- What has happened on similar bodies of water during this season in years passed?
By analyzing the three factors above you can increase your odds of casting to fish, and if you’re casting to fish you have a better chance of catching them.
Keep Your Lure In The Strike Zone
I learned this lesson as a kid bass fishing with my younger brother. He was tired and was taking a break. I told him he wouldn’t catch anything if his Rebel Pop-R wasn’t in the water. He begrudgingly made a cast to the bank. After a minute of not paying attention he couldn’t see where his popper had gone. He reeled in the slack line and set the hook on the first big bass either of us had seen.
The longer your lure is in the strike zone, the more likely a fish will see your offering. Every angler should consider this when they’re on the water. In fly fishing there’s the drag free drift. For bass fisherman pitching jigs to cover, consider a high speed reel that gets recovers line quicker so you can get your jig back in front of the bass. When fishing for Northern Pike, reel all the way up to the boat and do a figure 8.
There’s nothing worse than getting to your fishing hole and realizing you forgot something. Just forgetting a small piece of tackle can affect your attitude toward the day and start a downward spiral for your outing. If you are heading out in the morning, go through your gear the night before and set it by the door. Rig up your rods that are stowed in the boat. Pack your cooler. You want to get as much prep work as possible done the day before a trip so you can concentrate on catching fish instead of worrying about gear.
Be Mentally Focused
The mental aspect of fishing is something bass pros talk about frequently. It’s especially important to them because they’re fishing 4-5 days a week, and rely on catching fish to earn a paycheck. You may not have that kind of pressure to put fish in the boat, but an angler that understands and utilizes mental focus can be more productive. Some ways to increase mental focus are getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and physical fitness.
Sometimes things happen that are out of your control. Maybe water levels are at an extreme. Maybe it’s raining, or windy. It could be that someone else is in your honey hole. Other times you make a mistake like forgetting a rod or tackle box. When these things occur, you have to adapt. Your options are to make a correction, find a new solution, or be miserable. Don’t be miserable. It’s hard to catch fish when you’re miserable.