Mike Frisch: Quick tips for catching more fish
As a fishing educator, my goal is to help people catch more fish. Here is a look at three things anglers can do this summer that can help them increase their fishing skills and hopefully catch more fish!
Learn to use sonar
Today's fishing sonar units are simply amazing in what they can show anglers about the underwater world. For some, however, all the new technology is somewhat intimidating. My advice to those who might be a bit behind the sonar game involves two things. First, you don't have to break the bank to get a good sonar unit with new technology that will help you see the underwater world much better.
For example, Raymarine's Dragonfly sonar are very affordable and extremely easy to use units that do a great job showing the underwater world. These units are available with CHIRP DownVision in combination with a CHIRP-powered fish targeting channel. DownVision shows structure with incredible photo-like imagery and anglers can "see" fish easily with the conventional sonar imagery.
Armed with good technology, the second bit of advice for those wanting to up their sonar game is to go to areas in your favorite lake and practice. Practice simply involves going through areas where weeds are present and seeing what they look like on sonar. Then find rocks and do the same.
With some sonar practice, confidence in what you are seeing will go up. With confidence you'll start to find more fish-holding structure, find more fish, and eventually catch more fish!
Be a line watcher
I grew up a walleye angler, eventually became a "basshead" and now consider myself a multi-species angler.
One thing bass fishing taught me that helps catch fish of all species is the importance of watching my fishing line, particularly when casting lures. Often, for example, when I pitch a jig/plastic to bass, my line twitches on the bite.
Walleye jig pitchers can also see bites. A couple falls back, guide clients and I were on a good bite pitching 1/8-ounce Stand-Up Fire-Ball Jigs and fatheads to shallow weeds. Smaller walleyes were just "felt" as the line and rod tip got heavy. Once in a while, however, the fishing line would slowly start to swim off to the side. Those were usually bigger walleyes in the 4-to-6-pound range! If you weren't paying attention, those fish would drop the jig minus a hookset.
To facilitate seeing more bites, I like using hi-vis braided line in combination with a short fluorocarbon leader. The hi vis braid is very sensitive and visible, while the fluoro leader is invisible to the fish. Hi vis yellow XTCB-8 braid is spooled on lots of my rods, allowing my clients and me to see and feel more bites and set more hooks.
Learning about fish behavior, various technologies and fishing techniques is important to upping your fishing game. However, nothing beats time on the water! It's no coincidence that the best anglers I know are also those who spend the most time on the water.
The age-old saying "practice makes perfect" holds true to fishing. While perfection probably won't happen in the fishing world, anglers can often up their game by spending more time on the water, and by putting to use some of the tips presented above regarding sonar use and line watching.
As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!
Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series. Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com or follow Fishing the Midwest on Facebook for more "fishy" stuff.