Top Ten Fishing Tips

Catching fish encompasses a two-pronged approach. You have to locate your quarry and then convince it to eat. Here’s my list of ten essential factors that should help tilt the odds in your favor:

  1. Neither too hot or too cold
    Researchers insist that water temperature is the single most significant factor in finding fish, yet most anglers never even stick a hand in the water. Make sure the temperature is within the tolerance limits of the species you seek. Look for temperature edges and work either side of them. And remember that fish become sluggish as water temperatures drop.
  2. Go with the flow
    Saltwater species rely on the movement of water to carry food to them or they use moving water to set up search patterns for food. Make it a rule to note the phase of the tide when you do find fish and be sure to check spots out on both incoming and outgoing water.
  3. Stick to structure
    Think of structure as features that differ from their surroundings. Some structure is obvious like bridges, jetties, rocks, points, pockets, potholes, wrecks and reefs. Flotsam on the surface is structure. And be sure to look for channels and cuts that drain a larger body of water. I call them the neck of a funnel.
  4. Stay on the cutting edge
    An edge describes a transitional zone where some type of change is taking place. Animals (including fish) tend to orient to edges and follow them. Dropoffs, bottom changes (grass to sand, etc.), ocean currents, water color, water temperature, and so on are all edges.
  5. Satisfy the senses
    Fish depend on sight, sound, and smell to find food. They react to movement, low frequency sound, distress vibrations of bait fish, and the scent of a bait. That’s why chumming with live or dead bait can be very effective. The sight and sound of a lure moving through the water also rings the dinner bell.
  6. Reading the menu
    Try to use the most common bait for the area and the species you are targeting. If you can obtain more than one bait, that’s even better. Offering your quarry a choice often pays off.
  7. Pick a color… any color
    Chartreuse ranks at the top of a fish’s spectrum with reds being the first to fade with depth or distance. Blues and greens are at the other end of the scale and the last to fade other than white. I use two colors—dark and light. If one doesn’t work, I switch to the other without worrying about subtle shades.
  8. Make it look appetizing
    Bait must look natural, appealing, and appetizing. You want a fish to see, smell, or hear your offering, but you also don’t want the fish to spook from it. Whether you are casting or trolling or just drifting, make sure you work a pattern to present bait effectively.
  9. Gearing up
    Based on your own skill and the conditions where you are fishing, use the finest diameter line you deem practical and the lightest leader commensurate with the task. Minimize the size of swivels, snaps, and sinkers, and eliminate any of these you can.
  10. To hit or not to hit
    A tight line holds the key to a successful hookset. With circle hooks, hold the rod steady and let the fish hook itself. Even with J-hooks, there is no reason to rear back on the strike. And, once the fish has a bait or lure in its mouth, that’s the time to come tight. Don’t wait.
  11. And finally…
    Leading anglers are observant on the water, looking for signs of life constantly. They vary their technique if nothing is happening. They already know that perhaps only one or two minor adjustments will turn a nice try into a nice fish.
Fishing Magazine, Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine is your leading source for freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing videos, fishing photos, saltwater fishing.
Send this to a friend