Enhance Your Fishing

By Capt. Cefus McRae

Fishing is a lot like cooking. We use a variety of ingredients to enhance the flavor of what we’ve got on the stovetop. A clove of garlic, a dash of hot sauce, fresh herbs and of course, a pinch of salt. These enhancers need to be used strategically. Not enough, and the meal can be bland. Too much and their flavors can over-power the entrée to the point that it goes from tasty to the trash can.

The same is true for additions to your tackle. There are any number of items that can be added to a lure or live bait offering as enhancers to trigger a bite. In the most basic sense, a jig is really just a hook with a ball of lead toward the eye. While it is both simple and practical, it’s not very good at attracting a strike. But when you paint the head and tie on some bucktail, suddenly you’ve got a fish-catching machine. How about adding some mylar strips along the shank of the hook? The prismatic flash and bulkier profile mimics the silhouette of a baitfish. These are good enhancements.

Other enhancers include scents, rattles, spinning blades and even lights. For the most part, these enhancers are welcomed additions to an otherwise bland lure.

Fishing accoutrements aren’t limited to lures alone. There are also some fishing enhancers that make the experience more pleasurable and productive. Here’s a few essential ingredients I’ve found that add a lot more flavor to my fishing recipes.

Bean Bags – Those overstuffed cushions are probably one of the most fought-over items on the boat, especially when running back home from a long day offshore. Being comfortable and portable, I’ve caught a catnap in them many times.

Downriggers – Trolling lures will only go so deep. I think my deepest running lure will dive to about 35 feet. Oftentimes, the larger fish are 50, to 90 feet deep. If you don’t have a downrigger on your boat, you’re likely running over fish that might otherwise make it in the fish box.

Chum and Scent – When the bite slows down, the best way I’ve found to get it revved up is to spice up the water column with chum. I’ve got a Chum Churn on the boat with a port on the side to pack it with expired baitfish, fish carcasses, or even a couple cans of dog food. The blades macerate what’s inside and create a ‘cloud’ of scent and tasty tidbits that will usually put fish back in the feeding mode.

Cooling Cloths – This is probably the best thing since sliced bread. On a hot day, dip one of these in the water at the bottom of your cooler, snap it a couple times in the air and lay it on top of your head. The evaporating water immediately cools you down, and adds a little shade to your neck and face too. A word of caution: don’t dip these in salt water and expect the same results.

Lots of Pictures – Even if the fish you catch aren’t monsters, the memories you make on the water are what fishing is all about. The stories behind the pictures and the people you share your adventures with will appreciate some cool pics long after the day is over.

So give some thought on what you can do to enhance your next fishing trip. Adding just a little pinch of fishing ‘salt’ to your next outing can enhance the experience and transform that fishing hamburger into a fishing filet mignon.

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