I've been around long enough at this point to be able to note certain questionable habits on the part of so many of my fellow anglers , even some fellow veterans that should have been open-minded enough to make adjustments long ago. I was initially inclined to title this submission " common mistakes" but that seemed a bit over-the-top in that some of the following suggestions are just that , closer to matters of opinion than hard and fast commandments of some kind.
Still, I hope that at least some of these will help at least some of you to make some fundamental improvements....
- get rid of any of those cheap, brass " snap-swivels " that currently reside anywhere near any of your fishing gear. They have no discernable value to any angling application known to man. These trinkets are " useful" only to bargain-basement types averse to using quality snaps or ball -bearing swivels , or learning how to tie a proper knot. It is particular disheartening to see these action-killers used to affix crankbaits, thereby rendering the bait particularly useless, as the swivels work against themselves.
SOLUtION : learn to tie a proper slipknot or use a snap by itself.
-throwing your inline spinners ( Mepps, Roostertails, Panther Martins ) by themselves. Will you occasionally blunder into some fish ? Sure.
SOLUTION : use appropriately-sized ball-bearing swivels . Attaching this important tool will 1) add precious casting weight , 2) enable greater blade action at slower speeds, and 3) minimize line twist.
- so many people ,-particularly walleye trollers- get hung up on bait colors. I've learned that if I see a fisherman doing well and I have time to ask him just two questions, I'll ask at what depth he's fishing and at what speed. With those two important variables covered you can hand me about any color available.
SOLUTION : purchase your favorite baits in multiples of a few basic, productive colors rather than try to accumulate all of your prized lures colors. Remember, tackle makers sell to you, not the fish.
-fishing when it's " nice out ", rather than when the fish are more likely to be biting. Fact is, fishing for about all species is better when it is a "low-ceiling " day, threatening occasional rain. This is a light years' better option than sunny, warmer , clear-sky days.
SOLUTION: if possible, key as best you can on low-light conditions ; early and late in the day, and/or overcast days.
-the current trend in angling is to wildly overrate the practicality and wisdom of turning a kayak into a comically over-optioned absurdity. Hey, I too have lived in some apartments in my life with little room to store a proper fishing craft. I understand. Yet, when I see TV programs and tournament series' dedicated to this practice, I'm as mystified as so many others.
SOLUTION : with what some of these anglers spend tricking out their kayak to such ridiculous levels , they could have easily purchased a safe, comfortable, conventional fishing boat and a unit in which to store it. And a lot easier to get insurance on...
-I really miss the old, true cork bobbers of yesteryear. Few fishing items are less practical than plastic floats, which break on their first contact with any hard rock or limb.
SOLUTION: pay a little extra and opt for the long and colorful pencil-type bobbers, which are far more sensitive and resistant to breakage. Not as durable as the old corks, but the best there is nowadays.
-a little lesson in catfishing methodology ; learn to forego the wide range of different stinkbaits, cutbaits, creatures and other erratic options. You'll catch just enough to make you think you've got your pattern down.
SOLUTION : take a live minnow or shiner and attach it to an appropriate-sized floating jighead.Now take your knife and cut the fish's underside just enough to release scent into the water without killing it. Your leader of 12-24'' should end at a small swivel, there to keep the sinker sliding above it from advancing down the line. No bait works nearly as consistently, and what we on the Cuyahoga used to call a "River Rig" keeps the bait off the bottom and lets the baitfish move freely.
Remember, you heard it here !
Jack Kiser is the host of " Buckeye Angler " and long-time Outdoors Columnist for the Record-Courier and "Midwest Outdoors ", "Ohio Valley Outdoors " and "Angler " magazines, as well as host on PBS and ONN TV and WNIR and Fox Sports radio. You may reach him at the buckeye Angler Facebook site.