How To Be A Better Angler Top 3 Ways

Better Angler Top 3 Secrets To Catching More Fish

fishing preparation

Whether fishing for fun, for your child’s first fish, for your charter client’s trophy, for your dinner, or the big-money tournament win, each fishing trip has a lot riding on it.

kids fishing

The level of effort put into each trip is often a pre-cursor to the level of success that is enjoyed. I’m in no way saying that they will always be biting if you’re prepared. My point is that if the fish are not biting, then we must have been prepared to make the most of the few bites we did get.

offshore bottom fishing

These three aspects of fishing will also payoff when they are biting, allowing you to capitalize the maximum potential of each fishing encounter.

sharpening hooks

1. Sharp Hooks

The number one starting place in my mind is to always be using sharp hooks. While this is so basic in theory, I see it so often overlooked. A sharp hook does the obvious; it helps drive the hook into the fish’s mouth. The more subtle benefit is when a sticky-sharp hook tends to keep the hook in place on bone or bill until the line can get tight and apply enough pressure to drive home. A dull hook will tend to slide off and a missed bite is the result.

Many manufacturers are paying more attention to this requirement and have made great strides in making hooks that come out of the package sharp. Don’t assume which you have, just give it a quick test on the back of a fingernail. If it sticks, you are good and if it slides off, you need to give it a quick touch-up with a file or stone.

Sharp hooks get dull with usage, so if you hang up or catch a fish, re-check your hook point to ensure that it is still sharp.

trout fishing - Better Angler

This includes lures. I’ve been throwing topwater for seatrout lately and after catching many fish on my Rapala Skiterwalk, I noticed I was starting to miss more bites than I had been. I checked the trebles on my thumbnail and was surprised at how dull they had become in just one trip. I switched to a new Skiterwalk and the improvement was immediate.

Here is a tip on the specifics of sharpening hooks and another on how to treat the bare metal to prevent rust after sharpening.

2. Fresh Line

Number two is another crucial aspect and another that is often put off or overlooked. Keeping fresh line on your reels is imperative.

You can’t just say, I change my line once a year and I’m good.

It totally depends on how much you are using the line, the care you give the outfit when not in use and keeping track of abuses incurred during a day of fishing.

fishing tips

Quality, fresh line may be the most important aspect in fishing period. You could have the best lures, sharpest hooks, incredible rods and reels fished from the finest of custom boats, but the only thing connecting you to the fish is the line. If your line is old or abused or of poor quality, you will often loose the prize despite your other preparations.

Now with the modernization of lines, especially with the introduction of braided lines, the frequency of changing line has been stretched out. Still any line is subject to frays and wear from tangles, hang-ups and touches on the boat. Being very aware of the condition of your line is crucial. If one of your rods get involved in a big tangle and the line is stressed, mark that rod with electrical tape or a rubber band. Take it out of service until you can peel off line to a fresh layer or respool the reel.

rigging tips

Here is a quick tip related to that. We’ve all had a line get frayed while a length of line is still out in the water. You need to peel off the bad section, but you still need to reel in the bait first. Take the line at the bad spot and tie a knot. Now reel over it and take off your leader and bait/lure. Now when you are stripping the line, the bad spot will be obvious when the knot comes off the reel. Otherwise much time can be spent trying to find the bad spot and you’re not quite sure if you peeled enough line off the spool.

spooling reels

While braided lines last longer than monofilament, they still need replacing when they get fuzzy or worn. Nothing last forever.

Here are a few tips to help you respool your reels properly and more easily. The easier you can make the process, the less you will put it off and risk losing the big one. Remember that a spinning reel is spooled differently than a conventional one.

3. Get Organized

Number three goes to “getting organized”. There are many aspects to this, but collectively it will make you a much more consistent angler. Whether it is your tackle, fishing tools or the spare parts for you boat, getting them organized will help you be prepared and efficient in any given situation.

tackle tips

Having your tackle set up in a system will help you make the most out of a bite and get you back in the game before it is over.

The bite never lasts forever.

tackle organizing - Better Angler

Protecting your gear from the corrosive elements will also show benefits in the fish box. For example, if you take the time to sharpen your hooks, but then they all get rusty, they are no longer at optimum performance.

Develop a system to minimize the exposure of your tackle stash to salt water or spray. Don’t put salty tackle back in your tackle tray, as this will seed the rusting of all your new tackle. Check out this tip for a simple way to quarantine salty tackle until it can be cleaned and dried.

boat outfitters - Better Angler

Keeping your tools organized will increase your fishing performance and boat safety. Having spare parts that you may need will get you back to fishing or at least limp home with your catch. While you may not be able to cover every situation you can dream up, you can prepare for the most likely.

While some may shrug off the need for this effort and attention to details, I truly believe, based on my experience, that these tips are essential to making the most of your fishing effort and becoming a more consistent angler.

I’m not saying you won’t catch fish the other way, I’m saying you might catch one more, or the only one that bites, or the one that will win the tournament.

Capt. Scott Goodwin
Capt. Scott Goodwin started fishing in the lakes of Kentucky where he grew up. A move to Florida, however, brought him into a whole new realm of fishing. After receiving a bachelor's degree in biology from Eckerd College, he decided that he liked catching fish more than studying them and thus began ...