Techniques, Tips, and Tricks

Aaron Cisneros
Techniques, Tips, and Tricks
Nick was a quick learner and the fish cooperated on that day.
This article began with a conversation I recently had with someone wanting to improve his fishing skills. I have been fortunate enough to be around and fish with many good fishermen and even more fortunate to have learned some techniques, tips, and tricks. I certainly don’t claim to know too much, much less learned all these things on my own. I give credit to those that have taken the time to teach me and a big thank you for giving me the opportunity to sharpen my skills. In this article I want to share with young readers and adults what I have learned over the years.

I love to wade fish and I have written an article in the past about why I prefer to wade and the essentials for wading. However, I never mentioned the how and why of wading. I have been on some of my dad’s charters where he has taken the time to instruct and teach his clients to become better anglers. Perhaps you are like me, a person that just loves being out on the water and always strives to learn something each time out. Each fishing trip is different and should never be measured on the amount of fish caught. Take a look at the whole picture and learn to enjoy what nature brings even if your line never gets stretched. A beautiful sunrise or sunset, colorful birds of many species, the plant life, the larger animals that roam the undisturbed habitat, and of course what lives in the water can sometimes be taken for granted when we become consumed with measuring trips according to numbers.

If you are a beginner and haven’t practiced your casting much, don’t wait until you get on the water to practice your casting. Long before the trip get a hula hoop and practice casting into it from different distances. This would apply especially to those wanting to learn to use a baitcaster reel. If you wait till you get on the water, you may develop some frustration because it’s harder to learn on the water than on land. You certainly don’t want to spend your fishing time learning to cast. I am not going into specifics about equipment, but I do want to mention that regardless of your skill level, good equipment is needed and proper care will take it a long way.

Jumping in the water for the first time is not easy, especially if you start thinking what can bite you or sting you. When fishermen give wading a first try they tend to walk very stiff making themselves look funny. Relax and pretend you are rollerblading on a slippery street. Yes, there are stingrays out there. But if you are overly concerned about getting hit, you will never truly enjoy your wading experience. I have been next to those that were so afraid of getting hit by a ray that I found myself absorbed and more focused on the bottom than concentrating on what I was there for. There are some great products out on the market that will give you protection from those painful critters. I for one know the pain that comes with stepping on one, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying what I truly love. During the first couple of times wading, learn to take baby steps as you shuffle your feet and  be observant of the more experienced waders. At some point it will become second nature. If the bottom is soft, it is much easier to step with your toes curled slightly under and going into the mud first followed by your heel. Always remember to take small steps as one foot follows the other.

When you hook on to a fish, don’t follow it. Stand still and allow your rod and reel to do their job. Keeping your rod tip up to allow the rod to bend is the proper technique. Most inexperienced fishermen want to quickly drag the fish in and in turn end up loosing it. Make sure your drag is set correctly. If you don’t know how to set it, ask someone with experience to set it for you. As you keep your rod tip up and line tight, try to pull back with even pressure and reel in only the line you gain. Let the fish fight against the rod keeping it slightly bent, never point the rod toward the fish as this is a good way to break the line or tear the hooks out. When the fish gets tired, pull back on the rod with one hand and make the fish come to your other hand, never reel it so close to the rod tip that you cannot reach it. Carefully grasp the fish and string it before removing the hooks if you are going to keep it. If you’re going to release it, revive it by holding the tail and gently swing it back and forth in the water to move water through the gills. Release your grip when it regains strength and let it swim away.

Aim each cast in a new direction. Never cast in the same spot unless you missed a bite or have reason to believe a fish is there. By doing this you cover as much water as possible, therefore increasing your chances of hooking up. Be observant and listen for signs of feeding fish. At times you can get so close to the fish that crouching down is the only way to avoid being spotted. Remember, as you walk, your stride sets off a wake that fish can detect. Remember to take small steps and move quietly. If you can hear yourself you can bet the fish can hear you also.

I tend to throw a variety of lures. When one lure seems to work better than others I will stick with it. If the lucky lure is a plastic tail and I am short in supply, I like to carry a bottle of super glue and perform surgery on the torn and almost unusable lure. This often occurs when I fish for flounder; the flounder have a tendency to tear up the lures with their sharp teeth. All it takes is a dab of super glue to the torn part and wait ten seconds. It will be good as new. The super glue also works wonders when you have a plastic lure that comes off the hook on every cast. Just add a dab of glue to the jig head and slip the lure back on. Wait for it to dry and it’s good to go. Be sure to check your line for nicks and learn to change out your line as needed. Always wash your equipment as soon as you get back because saltwater is very hard on it. Get yourself a cap and a good pair of polarized sunglasses, rub on some sunblock and enjoy the fishing.

I can see where this article will need a Part II to follow because there is so much to cover. I hope this been informative and something you can apply to your fishing. Remember to always fish within the regulations and enjoy your time on the water.  No matter how you fish, whether it’s from the boat, wading, using bait or artificial; like the Nike commercial says, “Just Do It!”
Happy Thanksgiving to all.