Big Mistakes That Keep You from Catching More Fish

Having a tough time out on the water? You may be making a simple mistake that is preventing you from catching fish. Everyone makes mistakes, and when it comes to fishing there are abundant minor factors that could be heavily affecting your success.

There’s always more to learn about fishing, and even if you’re an old pro, you may be making a small mistake that’s hurting your ability to catch fish. Learn the most common fishing mistakes that are holding you back out on the water.


Using Old, Damaged, or Poorly Maintained Equipment

Your equipment is vital to your success. Some larger pieces of equipment can be expensive, and some anglers try to save money by using gear as long as it still works. While you should always get the most out of a piece of fishing equipment, sometimes you need to accept when the end has come.

Using old, damaged, or poorly maintained equipment will only hurt you in the end. Often, anglers try to use old, worn out hooks. Dull hooks won’t help you catch fish - they’ll simply escape with your bait or lures, costing you more in the end.

Old fishing line is also a very common mistake, and results in lost fish, broken line, and more lost tackle. Replace line before it is worn and tattered - ultimately, you’ll save more in terms of fish and tackle by buying new fishing line.

>> See also: Top 5 Popular Freshwater Gamefish In The US

Failing To Do Research

Before a fishing trip, you should research a few major factors. Where are you going fishing? Where on that body of water are you likely to find fish? What fish can you expect to catch? What will the weather and water conditions be like that day? These are only a few of the relevant questions you should ask yourself before getting out on the water.

If you don’t consider where you’re fishing, what areas on the water to target, and what fish to look for, you won’t be able to properly prepare. It’s hard to know what equipment to bring if you don’t know the type of fish you plan to catch. The weather is also important, as it will affect clothing, casting conditions, and even the fish’s behavior. Be sure to do proper research beforehand so that you’re prepared on the day of your fishing trip.

Using the Wrong Bait or Lures

Without the research mentioned above, you’ll very likely choose the wrong bait or lures, which is detrimental to your ability to catch fish. Once you know what fish are in the body of water that you’re fishing, you should be sure to pack the correct bait or lures that will attract those fish. Think about it - if you’re fishing in a lake that has abundant tuna, you should be sure to pack the best tuna lures.

Using the wrong bait or lures will waste your tackle and your time. You should use lures that fit in the environment where you’re fishing and are likely to attract the fish that are present.

Handling Fish Barehanded

Many anglers lose their catch right at the last moment. This is one of the most painful and disappointing fishing mistakes - you just had it, and you lost it. Handling the fish barehanded at the last moment is a common mistake. Even if it seems like they are finished fighting, pulling the fish in with your hands can be a mistake; they are strong and slick and you’re likely to lose them.

Always use a net or fish-handling gloves to ensure that you don’t drop the fish you just caught. This is also important, as the fish could potentially bite you, and a dirty fish tooth bite may lead to an infection.

Giving Your Line Too Much Slack

Another common mistake is leaving too much slack in your line. A line that is too slack will give fish an opportunity to escape, leaving you without your catch and without the bait it likely took with it. A line with too much slack makes it easier for the fish to throw the hook and reduces your control while fighting a catch. A slack line also makes it harder to feel light tugs on your fishing line.

Keep your fishing line taut, with less than 20% slack. You want the line tight enough to feel nibbles and reel them in, but with a comfortable amount of slack.

Tying Weak Knots 

A poorly or weakly tied fishing knot will result in a lost catch every time. Not only will you probably lose your fish, you’ll also lose your rig with bait, lures, and other tackle attached depending on where the weak knot was tied.

Knot tying is often difficult, especially when shooting for a more complex knot. If tying knots isn’t your strong suit, invest in a knot tying tool or buy knots pre-tied and try to replicate them. Practice will improve your knot tying skills, but you don’t want to lose tackle and fish in the meantime. 

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