Anglers love to say “The fish weren’t biting” when they come home empty handed, but the truth is the fish are almost always biting. The trick is to figure out where the fish are and what they are feeding on. To help you get started on learning how to find and catch fish, here are six tips on how to become a better fisherman:
1. Fish the Right Places at the Right Times
Fish move around in larger bodies of water in search of food and will change the depth of the water they hold in due to temperature changes. At first light fish will often prowl the shorelines and move into deeper water in the middle of the day.
2. Fish Where Others Don’t
Fish learn pretty quickly to lay off the fake stuff once they feel a hook a couple of times. Fishing in places that are a little more inaccessible usually means the fish haven’t gotten the same amount of education as the fish in places that are easy for anglers to reach. This includes backcountry lakes and more inaccessible spots in rivers and streams.
3. The Retrieve
Most anglers make a cast and then perform a steady retrieve. However, studies show the vast majority of strikes occur when the bait or lure is moving downward in the water. So, to increase the number of strikes, allow your presentation to fall as often as possible during the retrieve. Accomplish this by letting the lure drop for about seven seconds when it first hits the water and then give the rod a good yank as this will set the hook if a fish has taken the bait. Reel the line in just until the slack is taken up and then repeat the process for the entire retrieve.
4. Cover the Water
Sometimes you have to get the lure or bait right n front of the fish to get it to strike. The problem is you will most often times not know exactly where a fish may be. This problem can be solved by imagining the water in front of you as the face of a clock and mentally dividing it up into sections. Start at one side and cast to each section until you have covered the entire area. Repeat the pattern a second time and then move to the next area.
5. Keep Up the Pressure
Once you have a fish on the line it is imperative to maintain constant pressure on the hook by keeping the line taught. Hold the rod so the tip is elevated or to the side to keep the line tight, making it harder for the fish to shake the hook loose.
6. Match the Hatch
The good ole worm has probably caught more fish then all other types of baits and lures combined, however, there are times when fish will have a very selective appetite. If the fish are feeding heavily on a certain type of insect, it will dramatically improve your odds if you can show the fish something that most closely resembles what they are currently feeding on.
Keeping these six tips in mind will help you find and catch more fish. Just remember that it is called fishing, and not “catching,” for a reason. However, practicing these strategies will consistently increase your odds and help you become a better fisherman. Sign up for the All Rivers Guide Service’s newsletter to receive regular fishing reports, news and deals.