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Fishing equipment important, but no guarantee for success

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Some manufacturers guarantee phenomenal fish catches if an angler uses their products, and some athletes guarantee victory in championship games. In reality, though, there are no guarantees when it comes to fishing or athletic competition.

Instead, success in life stems from implementing the fundamentals of a given activity.

GEAR PREPARATION

Before getting on the water, spend some time preparing the gear. Among the numerous possibilities are organizing tackle boxes, re-spooling reels with new line, re-placing worn hooks, studying lake charts, and installing fresh batteries in the camera. Time on the water is for fishing, not for dealing with gear.

LINE CARE

Special attention should be given to line care. Make sure that spools are full as partially filled spools cast poorly and stress the line. Also, adjust the drag, as a too-tight drag stresses line, and a too-loose drag results in line twist.

GATHER INFORMATION

Pre-trip information can contribute to success, and worthwhile information is available from angling friends, local bait shops, on-line sites, and fishing charts. Anglers who keep logs of their outings have a special source of information.

FELLOW ANGLERS

When you get the chance to fish with other anglers, to utilize a different technique, to fish for a different species, or to fish new waters, do so. Such experiences will likely make you a more knowledgeable angler.

FISHING TIMES

My motto is to go fishing whenever I can, but the best fishing generally occurs in the early morning hours and in the early evening hours. An angler who fishes at those times will likely double a typical mid-day catch.

WIND DIRECTION

Again, my motto is to go fishing whenever I can, but wind direction plays a major role in fish activity as stated in this jingle: “Wind out of the east, fish bite the least; wind out of the north, don’t leave port; wind out of the south, fish open their mouths; wind out of the west, fish bite the best.”

QUIET APPROACH

While Grandpa’s admonition of “Don’t talk so loud; you’ll scare the fish” is an overstatement, there’s significant truth in the need for anglers to utilize a quiet approach when fishing.

Always approach a fishing site with as little intrusion as possible, be sure to drop the anchor and not throw it, and make soft casts rather than splashing ones.

WORK STRUCTURE

Arguably, the three major influences on modern angling have been the spinning reel, the depth finder and Buck Perry’s philosophy of structure fishing.

Fish love structure, especially structural edges, and thanks to Perry’s influence, anglers have learned to work areas such as drop offs, mid-lake shoals, weed lines, points, humps, channels, island edges, old river beds, etc. The best sections of a river, lake, or reservoir have large and varied structures as well as adjacent deep water.

LURE CONFIDENCE

Constantly changing lures rarely leads to successful catches. Anglers are better off to use a limited number of lures and to fish them with confidence. Knowing that a lure is reaching the depths inhabited by the pursued species is critical to angler confidence.

Some anglers make the miscue of selecting a lure that fails to reach the fish zone, which is often that area within a few feet of bottom.

SMALLER LURES

There is an element of truth in the saying, “Big lure means big fish.”

Using smaller lures and baits generally improves an angler’s catch rate. Small fish are unlikely to strike a big lure, but a big fish will hit a small offering.

As an illustration, I rarely catch non-targeted species while using musky plugs, but I do catch a variety of game fish while pan fishing, and I do catch pike and muskies while casting bass lures.

VISUALIZATION

Skilled anglers have developed a knack for visualizing what is happening at line’s end.

These anglers become the lure. They can visualize how the lure is behaving, see how the lure relates to bottom and impart the desired lure action.

Such anglers can also detect any alteration such as a fish tap, a tick of the bottom, or a weed on the line. If an angler changed nothing about his or her fishing tactics this summer except to better visualize what is happening at line’s end, he or she would see an improvement in catch rates.

POSITIVE ATTITUDE

A positive attitude plays a key role in fishing just as it does in any of life’s ventures. All anglers experience unproductive outings, but at such times, a positive attitude says, “I learned something today. I learned what not to do when I encounter similar conditions on future outings.”

Outdoors Calendar

Monday: Trap and Skeet Shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club on Pray Road at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 7 p.m. (869-6051).

Thursday: Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 1 p.m. (323-5585).

Saturday: Bass and muskellunge seasons open in New York state.

Saturday: SLVSC Annual Opening Day Bass Derby.

Saturday: Spider’s Kid Fishing Program at Wellesley Island State Park (482-2479).

Saturday: Long Lake F&G Club’s Bass and Pike Fishing Derby (518-624-2145).

Saturday: Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 9 a.m. (323-5585).

Saturday and Sunday: Annual Henderson Harbor Smallmouth Bass and Walleye Derby.

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