6 Things to Try This Spring When Fishing
I’ve been catching fish for more than 60 years, and I’m always looking for something new to try. Whether you’re new to fishing or “seasoned” such as myself, here are a few things you should try this spring.
If fish are breaking your 15- to 20-pound monofilament, consider 50-pound braid. It has the same diameter as 15- to 20-pound mono, with more than twice the strength for big fish. This line becomes handy when going after trophy northern pike. The only change you’ll have to make is using the manufacturer’s recommended Palomar knot. I made this change 20 years ago and have never looked back.
When re-spooling your reels, do so with older line you’d no longer fish with first. Once you fill the spool, cast your heaviest lure as far as you can. Then pull 10 more yards from the spool. Cut that line and recycle it. Tie the two line ends together – a blood knot to a Palomar works well – and re-fill the spool with your new line. This will save you money by allowing you to spool even more reels.
Tie a stainless steel snap to your fishing line, then your lure. This will give your crankbaits more action and allow you to switch lures quickly. They have worked most effectively for me when largemouth bass fishing, as I have had a northern pike or two open these snaps. Yet the reward drastically outweighs the risk.
In my early years, my friends and I would always be at the lake at sunrise or we were late. You don’t have to do that to catch fish. Let the sun get up, let the fish decide where they want to be and you go find them. The best time to fish is whenever you can go, not at dark thirty.
Start to Fly
If you want to change your entire fishing life, go on the fly. A good graphite fly rod is around $100 and comes ready to fish. Watch a few online videos on how to cast and pick up a few No. 6 and No. 8-size black or chartreuse woolly buggers, and you’re ready for the lake. I use an old 8½-foot Pflueger rod I’ve had for 30 years and a 9-foot Dogwood Canyon I bought from Bass Pro four years ago. Both are all I’ve needed for trout, bluegills, crappies, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish and carp.
Change Your Life
Learn how to tie your own fly-fishing bugs and flies. It is the most time-consuming, aggravating and pull-your-hair-out undertaking – but oh-so rewarding. I started tying flies in the fall of 2016, and it was a total nightmare. All of my flies looked like bugs that had been squashed three times, but the fish still loved them. There’s no better feeling than catching a nice fish on a bug you’ve made. ■