Here's the secret to being a better fisherman.
It's hard to not watch a televised professional bass fishing tournament without hearing the announcers describing how talented the fisherman are. Yes, talent is required in casting and specific presentations, but there are easier ways to be a better fisherman. For example, these following 10 practices will make you a better fisherman almost immediately, and they require no skill at all. Sometimes, the best changes are in the smaller details.
1. Fish the right times
This is almost a no brainer, however, many would be fisherman decide to sleep in or only fish on sunny days. If this sounds like you, excellent fishing times are passing you by. Being on the water before everyone else or fishing through the last light of the day can pay off dividends. At the very least fish sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset.
2. Put in the effort
Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Some of the best fisherman I know just simply outcast everyone else. There is no magic to what they are doing, they are just simply presenting more lures to more fish because their bait is in the water more often during a day. Every time your aren't actively fishing while on the water, you are actively not going to catch fish.
3. Going through the motions
Good casting techniques directly relate to the likelihood you are going to catch a fish. If you aren't putting forth the effort to make a good cast, or work your bait properly, then your overall presentation is going to suffer, thus resulting in fewer fish.
4. High energy level
Keeping your tempo up keeps everything else up as well. Your reaction time to a strike will increase. You may see a flash at a school of fish out of the corner of your eye you may have otherwise missed. That extra twitch on your bait might be what generates the strike. None of that is accomplished without positive energy.
5. Positive attitude
If you don't believe every cast is going to catch a fish, then pack up and go home. Keeping a positive attitude is paramount in catching more fish. I've fished with clients that have ho-hummed their way through a day and caught nothing. The ones that believe they can, normally do.
6. Love of the fish
Passion is all there is to fishing. It's what keep you going. It's the engine behind the drive shaft that powers every cast and fuels every hookset. If the passion isn't there, mediocre is about the best you can hope for.
7. Be a student
This one is simple. You have to read magazines, read books, talk with other fisherman, learn from their mistakes, and from their success. Fishing is extremely repeatable. When similar situations line up, then success isn't far behind. Knowing when those situations are near is when all that book time is going to pay off.
8. Go the extra mile
You have to be willing to fish where others aren't. This means walking farther, driving farther, wading a little farther down the river, or just covering more water than normal. Most of my fishing is done in the run-and-gun style. I'm always looking for the active fish, and that means covering a lot of water. Sitting in one spot just doesn't get the job done.
9. Always be prepared
What are you going to do if the wind picks up? What about if a storm comes in? Is your line in good shape as well as your rods, reels, and lures? Expecting the unexpected while on the water is key to being adaptable and finding the fish.
10. Keep a journal
This is one that is very hard for a lot of fisherman, but is the single greatest factor of success to most great fisherman that you know. Do you remember that one day you caught all those fish last year? Well, those conditions are repeatable. If you wrote down the weather conditions, water temp, type of lures, and depth, as well as any other pertinent information, you will simply catch more fish when those conditions repeat. It's your own private pocket guide!
Trust me, if you implement just a few of these changes this coming fishing season, you will reap the rewards and all your friends will be asking how you became a better fisherman.
All images by Brad Smith