Archive for the ‘Fishing Tips’ Category

Fishing tip: break out of the location rut

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

When you get a chance to fish, the temptation exists to visit a spot popular among other anglers, or where you’ve experienced success in the past. Understandable. But if you really want to up your game, change things up and try an all new stretch of water. This approach will not only make the outing more challenging, it’s also a wonderful way to discover new hot spots. When fishing “virgin” water, you’ll find yourself more alert, and braving the odds created by an unfamiliar setting adds an exciting wrinkle to the experience. Exploration and discovery is at the heart of fishing, and you won’t be a truly capable angler until you can find and catch fish in areas you’ve never visited before.

Fishing Tip: fish face the current

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Always keep in mind the fact that fish tend to face into current. Water flow carries along the stuff they eat, be it larvae and flies for trout in freshwater streams, or crabs, shrimp and baitfish for flats’ denizens like redfish, snook and bonefish. Fish will, of course, swim with a current when moving from one feeding station to another, but once they set up shop, they’ll generally face the direction the groceries are coming from. This is why freshwater trout anglers prefer to cast upstream, so that their flies drift naturally back along the current toward waiting fish, logic which works by extension in the salt where water flow is strong, such as in a pass or inlet. And even where water flow is weaker—such as a long, weak run on a river or on a saltwater flat or mud bar—knowing which way it is moving can help you place casts with greater effect.

Fishing Tip: catch fish in windy weather

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

For many anglers, wind is the most hated impediment to a good day on the water. A brisk breeze can make for a choppy surface, creates a challenge when casting and can literally ruin any chance at sight fishing in shallow water. What’s often overlooked is the fact that fish go right on feeding despite a ruffled surface. To catch them, simply adjust. Provided the wind in question is not at dangerous levels, simply fish the leeward (downwind) side of whatever structure you can find, switch to slightly larger (spin cast) or smaller (fly) presentations, keep your presentations lively so they stand out and fish with the confidence that game fish can see items below or on the surface a lot better than you can see through it.

Fishing Tip: don’t fight the flow

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

upstreamWhen fishing moving water, remember that predatory fish generally face into the flow, as the current acts as a conveyer belt that ushers food their way. This rule of thumb applies fairly universally, whether you’re drifting wet flies to brown trout in coldwater streams, bouncing jigs for stripers in deeper inlets or working twitchbaits in backwater eddies for snook. Send your casts “upstream”, and (depending on your offering) let it either flow back naturally, or retrieve so it moves along at the same rate as the flow. If you drag a dry fly against the current or pull a lure against a strong tide, more often than not your offering will be ignored by savvy game fish.

Fishing Tip: make your topwater plugs slicker and safer

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

one-hook-plugLove to fish topwater lures? Obsessed with using plugs that have a lively action? Then try this simple trick: remove all treble hooks save those on the back of the lure. By doing so, you immediately make things much safer on your quarry, since multiple treble hooks can wreak havoc on a struggling fish. In most cases, you’ll also make the lure much more effective. Hanging hooks create drag, and drag limits lure action. A topwater plug without lots of extra hooks is slick and very buoyant, resulting in a much more lively presentation. This trick works especially well with cylinder-shaped plugs. Note that you may need to leave the hardware that connects the missing hooks on the plug to 1) close any holes that would lead to a waterlogged lure and 2) add some weight so the lure will right itself once it settles. Will you lose more fish this way? Well, yes. But not as many as you’d think, and the trade-off is a good one, both in terms of fish welfare and more strikes.

Fishing Tip: unkink twisted fishing line

Monday, January 11th, 2010

reel-tangleLures that tend to tumble or spin when cast or retrieved (jigs, softbaits, etc) can put a lot of unwanted twist in your line, which in turn leads to tangles, birds-nests, and lots of colorful language. Using a swivel (the smallest version possible for a stealthy profile) when attaching your leader line will minimize the problem. But if your line does end up all kinked and springy, here’s the cure: simply snip off the lure and feed line from your reel while your boat is underway. Feed out about 75 yards of line, let is unwind for a minute or so, then reel it back in. If you’re land-bound, try tying your line to a fixed object, feed line from the reel as you walk away, untie the line and “snap” the rod as you refill the spool to work out the kinks. Voila: straightened, smoother-casting line.

Fishing Tip: find fish in cold weather

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

dark-bayIn winter months “down south”, cold weather, wind gusts and low tides can make shallow-water angling a real challenge. But, as with most things in life, you can find a silver lining if you look hard enough. In Florida specifically, redfish and especially snook will move inland as the thermometer drops, and they can often be found “sunning” in protected bays, especially those with dark mud bottoms that soak up and hold the sun’s heat. Move into such areas slowly, use a good set of glasses to look for moving or stationary fish and slow down the presentation of your lure or fly.

Fishing Tip: soften up your cast net for better spreads

Monday, November 9th, 2009

cast-netterAt Shallowfish we tend to cater to anglers who fish artificial lures and flies, but we hold no deep bias against bait anglers. In fact, here’s a tip for that crowd: Be sure to wash your cast nets out with fresh water after each use. Yes, they’re made out of durable stuff, but saltwater is about as forgiving as a boarding school nun. Beyond a good rinse, drop it in a 5-gallon bucket in a mix of water and 1/4 cup or so of fabric softener. Let it soak for about an hour, then rinse it off and hang it with the leads just touching the ground (which will straighten any kinks but not put undue pressure on the mesh). This will make a brand new net supple enough for great “pancake” quality spreads, and can be repeated on and off throughout the life of the net.

Fishing Tip: do the stingray shuffle

Monday, October 5th, 2009

stingrayIf you plan on wading southern shallows for redfish, snook, trout, and other game fish, don’t overlook the presence of sting rays. Ask any Emergency Room nurse of doctor who works near coastal areas “down south”, and they’ll tell you stories that will curl your hair. While “rays” aren’t aggressive by nature, they will defend themselves by jabbing a poisonous barb into the foot, ankle or calf of the hapless person who steps on them, often with shocking force. The best way to avoid the pain? Move slowly and shuffle your feet, which will spook rays off the bottom and send them on their way. If you do get barbed, soak your foot in the hottest water you can stand for instant relief, then get to a hospital.

Fishing Tip: use the sun when sight-fishing

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

When sight-fishing in shallow water, try to keep the sun behind you (or at least at your side) if at all possible. This will give you a better view of the bottom, your lure or fly, and any fish in the area. A bonus? A bright sun in a fish’s eyes makes you tougher to see, so you can get closer before you place your cast. This simple tip can do wonders for your sight-fishing success.