Team Starcraft

Fishing Tips

No boat should ever leave the dock without all of the legally required safety equipment, nor should one ever leave without a small tool kit onboard. No matter how carefully we take care of our boats, or how rigorous a maintenance schedule we adhere to, things happen that are beyond our control. Having a small but carefully stocked tool kit onboard allows you to deal with these small issues right away and get back to enjoying your time on the water. Or, help a friend when something goes wrong on their boat.

As anglers, we always want to have the newest baits as soon as they come available. The rationale is simple – fish haven’t seen them yet, so it should be easy pickings.

Your fishing reel’s drag mechanism works like a safety valve – if the fish pulls hard enough, it will yield line before the fish puts on enough strain to break it. Big fish that run when hooked, such as chinook salmon, pike, muskie or carp, can pull impressive amounts of line from a reel. That is, provided it’s set up correctly in the first place.

Just for fun, go for a swim one day while your friend drives past you using your electric motor. If you’re like most anglers, you’ll be amazed at how loud that thing is.
Most of us have our motor set way too high.

Casting is like throwing a baseball – it’s way more efficient if you use your whole body and not just your arm.

To crank out extra distance, take a step forward as you fire out a straight overhead cast. By using the momentum of your whole body to power the rod, you’ll not only enjoy greater distance, but also greater control. Having the reel filled correctly also helps. As with throwing a ball, follow-through is important for accuracy.

It’s only a matter of time till it happens  – you make a really long cast and you get a tangle near the reel, which breaks as you try to unravel it. Now what do you do? You could pull in the broken-off line hand-over-hand, re-thread your rod and start all over. Or, you can get back into business in a few seconds by tying a blood knot.

Imagine two clinch knots back-to-back and you get the idea. The Blood Knot will retain about 90 to 95 percent of your line’s original strength. In a pinch, it can save you a lot of re-rigging.

Getting snagged on the bottom is part of fishing. However, snagged lures aren’t necessarily gone for good.

Lures snagged in rocks can usually be saved by pulling them from the opposite direction – easy to do if you’re in a boat, but much more difficult from shore. Try cranking up the slack and lifting on your rod so you have a good bend in it. Pull the line with your left hand then release it sharply, as if you were plucking a huge guitar string. Sometimes that will send a shock wave down the line, and pop the lure free.

Pike and muskie are notorious for following lures without hitting. Next time that happens to you, try provoking a strike with a figure eight.

“Figure-Eighting” is a term used to describe a sneaky maneuver experienced pike and muskie pros use to turn followers into biters. Before these guys lift their lure out for another cast, they shove their rod tip into the water and weave it back and forth in a huge figure eight. Sometimes, fish react to the sudden change in direction by hammering the lure.

topwater fishing

Few things in fishing are as thrilling as the explosion you see when a bass or pike hits a lure on the surface. Topwater baits are easy to use, and often catch really big fish.

You won’t hook many fish with a dull hook, and plenty of them are dull straight out of the package. Drag the point over your thumbnail – if it glides along easily, it’s dull. The hook should dig in and try to penetrate with very little effort.

Hook worms once through the fatty “collar,” which is the bulbous, unsegmented part about one-third of the way along the body. Hooked in this position, the worm can wriggle enticingly with full freedom of movement. Threading the work up the hook shank might save bait from sunfish attacks, but will leave your worm looking pretty lifeless in the water. Hooking it once through the collar also leaves the rear of the worm unimpeded should you wish to give it a shot of air from a worm blower, and float it up out of bottom debris where fish are more likely to find it.

Whether you’re fishing in a weekend tournament of spending some quality time with family and friends, anglers tend to cover a lot of water over the course of a day. While modern outboards are surprisingly fuel efficient, there are ways to cut your fuel spending even further, and save a few bucks for the next trip to the tackle shop.

Slow Down

There’s nothing worse than reaching into the rod locker to grab a new rod, and finding that it’s hopelessly tangled with several others. The problems usually stem from the loose line that runs from the rod tip to a lure that’s secured into the hook keeper. This loose line that runs alongside the rod shaft looks harmless enough, but it invites tangles like crazy.

Buzzbaits and spinnerbaits can be tremendously effective lures. But their single inline hook can also result in missed hook-ups when fish are striking short. You can fool these more tentative hitters by using a stinger hook.

A stinger is a second single hook that’s hooked onto the first one, so the points follow in tandem. In effect, it deepens the original hook’s reach, so fish that nip at the tail of a bait are solidly hooked.

Sometimes nothing beats a live nightcrawler, whether you’re after smallmouth bass, walleye, catfish, panfish or trout. But rather than just heading straight to the lake, you’ll do better if you prepare your bait in advance by getting your worms into top shape.

Many anglers carry loose gear in plastic bins – they work great, and keep equipment neatly contained. But they can become irritating by sliding about on the carpeted deck.

Attaching strips of adhesive hook-and-loop tape to the base of the plastic bin can alleviate this problem instantly. The hook side of the tape grips carpet snugly, preventing the bin from sliding around the deck. 

Of all the items in your boat, none can be more important than a first aid kit.

A compact, portable kit like those used by campers can prove invaluable in the event you or one of your guests should happen to cut themselves, get pricked by the spines on a sunfish, or suffer any other sort of minor wounds. Your kit should contain disinfectant, a variety of bandages, tweezers, small but sharp scissors, antiseptic cloth tape, some gauze pads and pain relievers at a minimum.

Crankbaits are incredibly effective lures that catch a wide variety of fish. But they come in hundreds of different styles, so how do you pick which one to use?

Start with the diving bill – all else being equal, a lure with a big bill will dive deeper than an identical lure with a shorter one. Similarly, lures with bills that extend straight out from the nose generally as quickly as lures with bills which tilt slightly downwards from the body.

When walleye, smallmouth bass and other fish become spooky, one of the best ways to catch them is also one of the simplest.  That’s when live bait on a plain jig hook often beats everything else.

The trick with this approach is to keep things as minimal as you can. Use the smallest, lightest jig head that you can cast. Hook a nice juicy worm on once through the head. You want your bait to look natural, so just hook the worm once through the head. Don’t thread it on the hook multiple times, so it rolls up onto a ball. You want it to flow enticingly behind the jig.

Sometimes nothing beats a live nightcrawler, whether you’re after smallmouth bass, walleye, catfish, panfish or trout. But rather than just heading straight to the lake, you’ll do better if you prepare your bait in advance by getting your worms into top shape.