We’ve all heard the term “bag-o-tricks.” When we hear that particular phrase, it often conjures images of a crafty person who seems to know all the tricks and how to be successful at that craft. This can apply to just about every industry and occupation, but it can also apply to fishing.
Whenever I fish with someone, whether that person is a better or less skilled angler than I am, I try to pay attention to everything they do and see if there is any tricks I can add to my arsenal. You have to be very open minded. The older you get, the more little tricks you learn and the more effective you become. Everyone can learn something.
I decided that this week I would talk about a couple of my favorite little tidbits that I have picked up from anglers all across the country. Some of them help catch more fish; others just make life on the water easier. You may know some of these and employ them on a regular basis while others may be something that you haven’t tried.
The first trick that I learned was picked up from an angler deep in the Ozarks. We were fishing some jigs along a heavily wooded shore. Of course, all anglers, at some point in time, make that cast just hangs up on the smallest twig or wraps itself over stump. The list of possible hangups is endless. The goal is the same, though — to un-snag without breaking the line or going up to the snag and spooking all the fish away from the cover. This angler taught me how to “bow and arrow” a stuck lure back to the boat.
He was pitching his jig and finally it plopped over the backside of a stump and he couldn’t shake it off. He lifted his rod tip up, pulled the line off the rod with his free hand, built some tension and then snapped the line on the release. His jig flipped right off that stump and back into the water.
It was awesome. It wasn’t long and I had mastered that little trick as well. It has saved me countless hours of motoring up to the snag to release it.
The best way I can describe this technique so you can visualize it is to imagine a garden hose laying taught across your yard. If you grab one end of the hose and quickly snap your arm up then down, you will send a wave down the length of the hose. When that wave gets to the end of the hose, it will snap. That is exactly what you do with the fishing line. If you haven’t tried this before, give it a shot — it works amazingly well.
The next little item I learned also was picked up from spending time on vast Ozark lakes with experienced anglers. We were fishing on the famed Lake of the Ozarks. If you have ever been on that reservoir, you probably noticed the thousands of boat docks. In fact, these docks are one of the primary sources of cover for all kinds of fish, especially if you can find docks that have brush dumped under them.
This particular day was bright and sunny. The fish were really holding under the floating docks, and in some cases, it was hard to present a lure in the strike zone so far under the shade of these massive structures.
This angler I was with grabbed a crankbait and a pair of pliers. He gently took the pliers and bent the lure’s line tie slightly to the side. He puts his pliers down and cast along the length of a floating dock and ran the lure parallel with the floats. That lure dug and pounded its way far under the floating walkway and into areas a lure running straight would never reach. It wasn’t long and he started out-catching me from the little modification to his lure.
He proceed to explain to me that if he can get his lure to run several more inches under the dock and into the shade, lethargic fish are more likely to eat it. He was right. He then told me to hold the lure in one hand and bend the line tie in the lip of the crankbait slightly to the side in which you want the lure to track. It doesn’t take much to make a considerable difference.
I have since used this to my advantage many times. This also works when you want to run a lure into a bluff bank and have it bounce and deflect off of hard cover. Just be sure to re-tune the lure when you want it to run perfectly straight again.
These two little tricks have helped me out many, many times. I have taught them to countless others and I ‘m sure they have done the same. That’s all that fishing really is. A whole bunch of little tricks that help you be more efficient on the water. In turn, more fish end up in the boat. Good fishing!