Every angler has experienced at least one crummy day of fishing that they would rather just forget. As much as no one wants to admit it, most of us have come home (GASP!) skunked at one time or another. It happens. However, if your landing net actually has cobwebs in it or if you have absolutely no clue what “bass thumb” means, you should probably read on.
Here are five simple reasons you aren’t catching fish:
1. You tend to stay in one spot even when you aren’t catching fish. There is no magic formula that dictates the precise length of time you should fish one particular spot before moving. However, if you’ve been in the same spot for a half hour to an hour without a single bite, it’s probably time to rethink your location. Take a look around. Are you fishing an area where there is structure? Are you fishing an area with current? Baitfish and other game fish prey will usually be found near structure or in areas with current.
2. You aren’t monitoring the weather or tide conditions in advance. Weather and tide conditions can play a large part in your level of fishing success or frustration. Anglers often avoid fishing on “blue bird sky” weather days because these clear days usually follow a cold front and the fishing can be very challenging. Conversely, fish will often feed aggressively right before a drop in pressure or arriving front. When fishing saltwater (or freshwater tidal areas), it’s important that you check your local tide charts and plan to fish during times of a strong incoming or outgoing tide if possible.
3. You over-think your fishing strategies. Any angler who has fished a competitive tournament has likely experienced the frustration of over-thinking his or her fishing strategy. If you start second-guessing yourself when it comes to tactics that have consistently worked well for you, you can end up spending your entire day switching baits, lures, tackle or spots without giving anything enough of a chance to work. There has to be a proper balance between this reason and reason number one above.
4. You are either not using the right lures or fishing your lures too fast. Just because you caught a nice fish on a specific lure five years ago, doesn’t mean that you will keep catching fish on the same lure regardless of the conditions. Test different lures under a variety of conditions. When it comes to the speed of your retrieve, remember that during the summer months certain species (such as trout, smallmouth bass or largemouth bass) can become somewhat lazy as the water temperatures increase. This means that you will need to slow down your retrieve in order to make your lure an easier target.
5. You aren’t tying strong enough knots or the right kinds of knots. If you are hooking up, but are losing fish before you can land them, it could be that the quality of your knots is to blame. Are your hooks, lures or leader lines coming off? Do you know how to tie a couple of good fishing lure, hook or rig knots? How about a couple of strong line-joining knots? Research and practice tying reliable knots so that you come home with a photo of your catch instead of telling a story about the big one that got away (and took your $10 lure along with it).
What other reasons have had you skunked instead of catching? Share your comments by logging into the Take Me Fishing Community.