The old saying, “have you been fishing or have you been catching?” rings loud in the ears of folks learning how to fish. Catching is fun, it's what fishing is all about, right? But catching is a process, so the better you fish the more you catch.
- Rig them right. There are two reasons why rigging is important. First, a strong, well-tied fishing knot doesn't break when you set the hook. And second, certain knots swim your fly or lure in a way similar to naturals. Use the correct fishing knot for your lures. For fly fishing, a Turle Knot is a great fixed knot that makes your dry flies drift properly.
A loop left open like a Uni Knot makes streamers and nymphs look realistic in current. When the fish hits the Uni Knot seats for strength. A Texas-rigged soft plastic goes up and down in the water column while a Carolina rig suspends the soft plastic just off the bottom. Texas rigs excel in heavy cover while Carolina rigs are better for searching in open water. Knowing different ways to rig your lures means you'll fish them properly....which leads to more catching.
- Swim your lure properly. Think of how your bait naturally moves through the water and mimic it with your rod tip and reel speed. Pull up on your rod tip and reel down to gather the slack while keeping in contact with your lure. If you simply cast and reel as fast as you can your lure will not look like a natural, and you'll be lucky if you get a tug. Swim your lure as the fishing spot dictates and you'll have more takes.
- Change depths. No doubt, top water is fun. If it's not going on, go deep to find where the fish are. Add or subtract weight when bait fishing, go to a sink tip or sinking line when fly fishing, use a jig or a spoon, or a metal-lipped jerk bait. If you're not having top water action go deep until you find where the fish are.
- Change locations. If you're varying lures and depths but not catching anything, move around to find the fish. Cover the water with a fan cast. Make a few casts in the area to your left. Make some out in front. Then make more to your right. If you've covered the area, different depths, and used a different lure and nothing hit, move down to new fishing spot. Fish where the fish are and you'll hook more of them up.
Fishing is a process, and the better your technique the more you'll catch. Read fishing tips on casting techniques to become an expert in catching fish!