Take a Kid Fishin'

ou can never know enough about the great past time of fishing. To the young or old, whether you’re new to it or a seasoned pro, fishing is a constant learning experience. Every angler is looking for that next new thing (or old tried and try method) that will give him or her the edge out on the water.  The Almanack has always been on the lookout for ways that will enhance the experience and to also minimize the telling of "the-one-that-got-away” stories!
To that end, here are the very best, most useful hints, tips, and techniques, along with a dose of some good common sense.

A plastic worm that has been torn or cut in half can be stuck together very easily. Heat the two ends over a lighter till they melt, then hold them together while the plastic hardens. The “weld” will be as strong as the original worm.

Fish slowly and always be observant. Fish usually give away their presence 90% of the time (baitfish fleeing; surface action; vegetation movement). Be alert and always watchful.

Set the hook on a fish by feel rather than by sight (topwater/surface strike). Count to three after seeing the strike.

Believe it or not, lures made out of bottle caps can help you catch everything from bass, crappie, and perch to trout, salmon, walleye, pike muskie, and whitefish. Check out this latest rage that has helped win national competitions. Point your Internet browser to the following site: http://www.bottlecaplure.com/

To attract fish or get them biting again, you can throw “chum” into the water. Use ground-up bait fish, canned sweet corn, pet food, even breakfast cereal or simply stir up natural chum by scraping the bottom with a boat oar or anchor. Don’t over-chum. You want to get them interested in feeding but you don’t want to stuff themselves before they get a chance to go after your bait. Note: chumming is not legal in all states. Be sure to check local fishing regulations before you chum.

A food vacuum sealer is a great gadget for keeping baits fresh and airtight, especially those with strong scents.

Store small quantities of hooks with a few grains of rice and they will never rust.


A good rule to remember is that the dirtier the water, the shallower the bass will be. Conversely, the clearer the water, the deeper the bass will stay.

Always look in a bass’ mouth before releasing it. Most times, when fighting a lure in his jaw, he will try to throw-up whatever is in his stomach. You may be able to determine what prey the fish are actively feeding on and choose a lure or bait that is similar.

With a Texas-rigged plastic worm, consider putting the sinker on backward when fishing on a sandy bottom. With the cup of the sinker facing forward, it will kick up puffs of sand when moved, making it look very life-like. It will also make the lure hang for a second and then ‘jump’ when pulled over limbs and other obstructions.

If it happens rains the day/night before your fishing trip, always look for run-off locations. Creeks and other drainages can be especially productive. Small fishes will gather to feed on whatever the moving water brings them, drawing the larger predators to feed on them.

Use alcohol prep pads to clean the cork handles on your rods. They are very cheap and you can simply throw them away after finishing the job. If the cork handles on your fishing rods are looking extra dirty and it makes your rods look like they are fifty years old, try this: take a very light grade sand paper and sand the cork handles. They will look like brand new looking fishing rods.

Keep your mosquito repellent and plastic worms separate from your tackle. ZipLoc bags work well. Both of these items contain lacquer solvent that has a tendency to soften the paint on metal, plastic, or wood lures. Paint so affected will never harden again.


Most professional anglers don't aim right on a floating log or bass hideouts when casting. They usually cast the bait a foot or so near it. 

If you want better rod action or longer casting, try a rod with more line guides. 

In windy weather, put tension on the line just before the lure touches down. This will straighten out the line and prevent it from blowing across obstructions. 

When casting, position yourself only as far away as water clarity dictates; stay close enough for consistent accuracy. 


For many, this is the way they first experience fishing. It is the most basic form of fishing.  All you really need is a basic rod and reel, a weighted line, a baited hook, and possibly a bright, colorful bobber.

Once the bait is cast, it should never move (and neither should you!) . By staying put (and keeping quiet), it can give good results.      This can be done from the shore, but is especially effective from a boat, dock, or pier.


The best times to catch freshwater fish depend on the season. Lakes and ponds go through what is called a seasonal turnover. Warmer water will rise and fall, depend on the season.

Freshwater fish are influenced by their environment—and that includes everything from the gravitational pull of the moon to how high the sun is in the sky. Days on or near key moon phases can often be prime times to make a catch.

Bright sunlight can bother fish, while wind can drive bait fish or insects to the downwind side of a lake (where gamefish are sure to follow).


When river fishing, there are a few simple techniques you can use to get started. With more experience, you will be able to incorporate more techniques:

    Bottom Bouncing - One of the more common river fishing tips is that of using a Carolina Rig to bottom bounce a live bait (such as a crawfish or minnow) or soft plastic bait along with the current. 

   Upstream Casting - Cast upstream using in-line spinners for brown trout or rainbow trout. Remember that natural food sources will be drifting downstream, so this creates a natural presentation.

     River Jigging - For many anglers, jigs are considered the best lures for river fishing near the mouth of a river, in areas of slower current, and near shorelines for walleye. 1/4 to 1/8-ounce jigs will work well in most situations. You can use up to 1 ounce in areas of stronger current.

Coat all your artificial lures (and even some live ones!) with bacon grease or even use a piece of bacon fat as bait, fish love the grease.

Brighten tarnished spoon and spinner blades, or paint a glittery body on a streamer fly hook, with an “ultra-iridescent” sparkling fingernail polish. It can be found in copper and silver colors and comes in an inexpensive bottle with a brush applicator.

When you lose a fish and reel in the line with a curly-cue shape on the end, it means the knot unraveled. This is due to tying it wrong.  To make a knot adequate for catching fish, make sure it gathers, snugs-up smoothly, and is evenly formed.
Fishermen or boaters tip:  drill a hole through a large cork and fasten your key chain through it. Keys will float if accidentally dropped overboard.
Fish vary in their feeding habits so take a good look at the stream bottom and by the riverbanks to identify nymphs that are about to hatch. This will help you to decide which fly to use.
Hooks can dull fairly quickly after catching several fish or being snagged on the bottom. Hooks used for tough-mouthed species should be especially sharp. If you want to maximize your catch, make sure that you change your hooks often.