15 Tips for Successful Angling

Whatever species of fish you’re angling for, or if you fish in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba — there are things to remember each and every trip that will increase the odds of catching some fish and reduce the chances that the outing will be ruined by misfortune

1 Get Organized
I make lists for almost every trip I take, particularly at the beginning of a new season. I’ve also found it’s a good idea to pack smaller bags with tackle dedicated to a limited range of species. I don’t claim to have the most exotic collection of hardware on the planet, but I do take care to dedicate rod and reel combinations to different species so that there’s a minimum of time needed to prepare for a trip and match my combos to a specific species’ behaviour or profile while on the water.

2 Read/Watch/Study/Listen

Learning from others is the fastest way to increase your angling prowess. I regularly zoom in on fishing shows that have an instructional element in preference to the ones where the host is fishing with a guide at some northern outpost catching one fish after another.

3 Buy Maps & Study Them

Hydrographic maps of systems you intend on angling are one of the most valuable tools available to an angler. They open the door to angling hot spots in new waters and allow for safe exploration of these areas.

4 Hooks Catch Fish

Ensuring that the hooks you are using are top quality, sized properly and sticky sharp only makes good sense. Spending a little extra (and it is a little, compared to everything else an angler uses) to replace run-of-the-mill hooks with appropriately sized top-quality hooks will increase angling success.

5 Know Your Angling Knots

If I could only learn three they’d be the double uni-knot used to join two lines, the Palomar knot which works well in all applications but is particularly useful when tying on braided line and the improved clinch knot.

6 See Red
I’ve certainly witnessed the impact of the colour red on the fish I’m angling after. For instance, red tinsel on a perch-colored Rapala X-Rap has resulted in hit after hit; while a similar X-Rap attracted little attention. Red trout hooks with a bit of worm, and the hits just kept on coming!

7, 8 & 9 Match Line to Tackle, Angling Presentation & Species

Tip 7: Make sure you are buying top quality line, and if it’s monofilament, test it out of the box before taking it to the checkout counter. If you’re using braided line, switch the line on the spool so that for the next season you’re using the part that was buried on the reel.
Tip 8: Match your line to the species you’re after and the depth you’ll be fishing.
Tip 9: A light braided line (two- to four-pound-test) is ideal for ice fishing for crappie, whitefish, tulibee, perch and even walleye because it increases the sensitivity to light strikes.

10 Invest in Some Electronics
For the boat, a basic locator may be all you need. The most important information you need from the boat is depth and structure and you can obtain pretty reliable information even with fairly inexpensive units. For hard water applications, a flasher unit is a must.

11 Match Your Rod to the Fishing Situation

For freshwater angling, I feel I need at least three rods with me on the water. One will be a 6’ 6” to 7’ medium action graphite, which will be just fine for walleye, trout or smallmouth. The second will be a light-action graphite in the 6’ range, for crappie, perch or other pan fish species. The third will have some heft in the 7’ to 8’ range for pike.

12 Slow Down When the Bite is Tough

This tip is particularly applicable to cold front conditions that can turn fish off in a hurry. In situations like this, a slow drift may produce better than trolling and baits with less movement should come out of the box.

13 Find Structure

Fish love structure, because it can offer refuge from predators, ambush locations for feeding, current breaks for resting and temperature control when necessary.

14 Vary Jigging Techniques

There are a couple of jigging techniques that I’ve tried with success in various situations. One employs a three-way swivel to that is attached to a couple of three-foot leaders. One leader has a traditional lead jig on it, which will be bounced along the bottom. The other has a floating jig head that will present bait several feet up from the bottom.

15 Try New Things
Expanding one’s arsenal of angling techniques is always a good idea, so getting out there and trying new baits or presentations will make you a better angler. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. Rather, set some realistic goals for your season and thoroughly explore the new territory until you feel comfortable with it. Then move on to the next goal.

Interested in this and other similar articles? Subscribe to Western Sportsman today! Back issues are also available!

Like This Article? Join Us On Facebook!

This entry was posted in Fishing, General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.