Archive for the ‘Fishing Tips’ Category

Fishing Tip: be still

Monday, March 30th, 2009

One of my favorite verses from the Good Book is: “Be still and know that I am God.” It’s a clear directive, one that asks us to set aside the distractions of daily life to ponder the wonders that surround us, ultimately attributing them not to some serendipitous series of cosmic events, but to a Divine mind. Regardless of your beliefs, as an angler there is wisdom in taking moments of silence to reflect on your surroundings. Too often we attack fishing spots without pause, overlooking telling signs and clues…not to mention natural beauty. On a recent trip with a friend we took a quiet and thoughtful approach, drifting slowly across an open bay before sighting (and ultimate hooking) a 100+ lb. tarpon…a fish we never would have seen had we attacked the spot aggressively as we normally do. Point is, there is wisdom in taking the time to stop, observe and think. The best anglers are the most attentive anglers, and to be attentive you must be still.

Fishing Tip: simplify your fly fishing leaders

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Descending leaders are wonderful when tied correctly, and a well-crafted one will turn over beautifully. But tying a leader that features differing line weights in various lengths can be a time-consuming and even frustrating process. If you’re just concerned with catching fish – instead of setting records or pitching perfect casts – skip the complicated knots and mathematical calculations. In the shallow salt, use an eight to 12-foot section of straight 20-30 lb. leader and you’ll catch plenty of fish. I realize that purists will gasp at this suggestion…and that’s half the fun.

Fishing Tip: silence your anchor with a towel

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

When fishing shallows in a skiff, it pays to keep your anchor—tied to a cleat with a short length of free line—on the casting deck. When you hook up, simply drop the anchor over the side to stop your drift, preventing you from floating across potentially productive water as you fight and land the fish. The downside of this approach is that an anchor can make a lot of noise as it clunks around on the deck. A simple solution: put an old towel underneath it. This approach not only deadens sound, it also serves to keep the deck dry.

Fishing Tip: remove an imbedded hook

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
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This unlucky soul was impaled by a ridiculously large treble hook, though the way he’s sloshing back the Maker’s Mark, he likely doesn’t care. I’m not posting this video for shock value – I’m adding it because the gentleman who gets the hook out does a good job using a technique that might prove very useful to one of our readers down the line. Press down on the hook shank, wrap heavy line around the bend of the hook, clear the path the dislodged hook will follow and give it a quick and forceful yank. Of course, barbless hooks aren’t just fish friendly – they also make this gut-churning process far less painful.

Fishing Tip: keep your skiff tracking straight

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

When using a trolling motor or (especially) when poling a shallow-water skiff, trim up your main motor but leave the skeg in the water. By getting most of the motor’s lower unit above the waterline, you’ll greatly reduce drag, making the skiff much easier to push along. In addition, the skeg will act as a rudder, and will keep the boat tracking relatively straight.

Fishing Tip: choosing the right cast net

Monday, November 17th, 2008

If you plan on using live bait to catch game fish, a cast net is a must. And when selecting a net, two basic rules apply: 1) use smaller mesh for smaller fish and 2) the smaller the mesh, the slower the sink rate. So, it follows that you’ll want to use a smallish mesh for baits like pilchards and finger mullet that are usually in four feet or less of water, and a larger mesh for baits like big mullet or beefy menheden that are often found in deeper water. Most shallow-water anglers prefer a 3/8 or 1/2-inch mesh. Contact manufacturers for their advice when selecting a net, and be sure to do some research on state and/or local diameter restrictions.

Fishing Tip: use monofilament behind braided line

Monday, November 10th, 2008

By now most spin and baitcast anglers have learned the virtues of braided line, including its memory-free makeup and the distance it adds to the average cast. But “braid” takes some getting used to, and must be in a different manner than monofilament line. One tip that makes a big difference: instead of adding braid directly to your spool, start with 50 yards or so of mono. This “backing” offers several advantages: 1) it’s easier to tie to the spool, since slick braid makes knot-tying a challenge, 2) it limits the amount of expensive braid you’ll use with each re-spool and 3) it prevents line that’s under pressure from slipping on the spool. For best results, use a uni-knot to attach the two lines.

Fishing Tip: maintain a consistent distance

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

old-caster.jpgTo efficiently work a shoreline from a kayak or skiff, establish a distance close enough that you can control the placement of the fly every time, but far enough that you can comfortably shoot line without feeling cramped. Try to maintain that same distance as you move along. You’ll use the same amount of line on each cast, which will limit loose line and tangles; you’ll develop a rhythm conducive to accurate presentations; and your casts will consistently fall within the strike zone. And don’t forget to work the water along the shoreline from a distance before moving in closer.

Fishing Tip: downsize flies when fishing under lights

Monday, March 17th, 2008

petenight.jpg In many coastal areas, game fish congregate under lights after dark, capitalizing on the congregations of bait fish that gather there. Along the Gulf coast, spin and (especially) fly anglers target snook, sea trout, redfish and juvenile tarpon in this manner, and — given that fish can sometimes be found in great numbers under residential dock lights, especially in the cooler months — it can be a highly productive affair. Most of the bait fish and shrimp that are found under such lights are on the small side, though, so “match the hatch” with small flies (hook size 2 to 6 or so). Work the edges of the light, and use weighted versions to get down to fish that are reluctant to rise to your offerings.

Fishing Tip: walk your skiff to fish

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

drag-skiff.jpgThe next time you find yourself in fishy shallows with a dead trolling motor, try this: sit on the front deck with your legs dangling and your feet on the bottom, then slowly “walk” the boat along, casting as you go. Though the low vantage point makes it tougher to spot fish, it also makes it easier to sneak up on them. (Ask any kayak angler). An alternative: tie a line to the front cleat and wade fish, pulling the boat silently behind you as you go. Note that the “drag the boat” method is most effective when you can find hard bottom, whereas the “walk the boat” method can be used on muddy bottoms that won’t bear your full weight. Both work best with lightweight, low-sided skiffs, of course, and both require patience and effort. Regardless, they’re an alternative for lone anglers who are faced with fishing skinny water without a trolling motor or push pole.