Think about fishing trips that could have been great, but certain little
things happened to prevent you from filling the limit or getting that giant
trophy to bite. To make the most out of your time spent on the water, it's
important to pay attention to the details. Even the tiniest
details. So here are some tips that will help you enjoy more success
Get There Yesterday
How many times have you heard your buddy or the guy at
the bait shop say "oh you should have been here yesterday!"? Seems like it never fails. But there's a good way to avoid
this, and that's by keeping your finger on the pulse of what's happening in the
lakes and rivers around your area.
Pay attention to local chatter. Ask questions among your fishing friends and
at the bait shop. Believe me, the local tackle store
WANTS to keep you informed because if a bite is on, that means they'll sell
Also, stay tuned to the fishing forums online to get the area reports for
different lakes and species. Even secretive fishermen can find it hard to keep
their mouths shut about a hot day/lake/bait that they've experienced.
When you hear about fish that have gone active, be prepared to get up and
go. I know this can be more easily said than done -- since people have
schedules to keep and obligations to meet. But if you can remain fairly
flexible about the exact day that you're going to hook up the boat and go, then
you can improve your odds of being the guy who says "you should have been
Think Clean Thoughts
Never underestimate a fish's ability to smell or
taste. They do both quite well. Their sense of smell operates through two small
holes that may look like nostrils, but are called "nares."
The nares open up into a chamber lined with sensory
pads. Fish rely upon their sense of smell for two reasons: to detect food and
danger. So, if an underwater smell is completely unnatural, they can and will
stay clear of that area or go into a negative, cautious mood.
Fish detect tastes with receptors inside their mouths and on the outside of
their skin. Their "taste buds" are very sensitive and can distinguish
the difference between sweet, sour, salty, and bitter flavors.
With these two facts in mind, it's critical for a successful angler to keep
their hands clean when handling lures, line and bait. The good news is that
there's finally a cleaner called Reel Clean that completely eradicates any
odors on your hands, including the foulest smelling fuels, lower-unit lube or
any odor mankind can encounter. It even takes out skunk! Keep your hands
scent-free with Reel Clean when you go fishing and I promise you will catch
Hold The Line
When it comes to equipment, the thing I stress most to anglers is the
importance of having fresh line (and the right line) on your rod/reel. Old,
brittle, coiled monofilament will cost you a lot of fish in terms of break-offs
and bites (since baits on coiled line don't swim as naturally).
So re-spool every year. And even though it costs more up front, try spooling
up with a high-quality braided line. The strength-to-diameter ratio is
dynamite; today's braids are very supple and easy to handle; plus it won't go
bad like mono and you can use it season after season.
Visualize More Bites
Having proper focus is important in any sport, from
baseball to bass fishing. Great athletes visualize the action before it
happens, and successful fishermen do the same thing. Here's an example of what
Let's say you're fishing for bass on a weed line with a rubber worm. You're
hopping it along the bottom in and around cover. Keep your eyes fixed on your
rod tip and the line coming off of it. This focus will visually alert you if
you get a strike (a rod twitch on a hard bite; or a line twitch on a soft
As you work the bait, imagine what your bait must look like down at the
bottom. Visualize the action in your mind as you hop it, swim it and drag it.
Also visualize a giant bass right behind it -- following every movement you
impart to the worm. By visualizing it, you heighten your senses for
"feel." Dedicating yourself to visualization will keep you more alert
and improve your reflexes -- so when the imaginary bass actually becomes a real
bass biting your lure, you'll react quickly and improve your chances for a
Shop for a fine assortment of
Babe Winkelman hosts "Good Fishing" and "Outdoor
Secrets," the most-watched fishing and hunting programs on television.
Tune in on NBC Sports Network, Destination America, Velocity, Time Warner
Sports Texas & New York and many local broadcast channels.
Visit Winkelman.com for air times and more information.