Most people who want to learn how to fish give up in frustration because they do not catch much. It is very discouraging to fish for several days and either catch nothing, or only catch very small fish. For twenty years I tried and failed to be a good fisherman. Oh, some days I would catch a nice one, but most days I would catch nothing. Several times I gave up, going a couple years without fishing.
Things changed about a year ago. I learned a few simple things that has helped me consistently catch fish. I still don't catch monsters, but I do catch keepers every time I go out. Your heard that right, I have not gotten skunked in over a year.
The tips I am going to share in this guide are simplistic, no brainers to some. Seasoned fishermen will scoff, even disagree. However, if you are a beginner fisherman or a frustrated fisherman, I can guarantee you will catch more fish and have more fun if you follow my plan.
There are some things you need to keep in mind:
First, like all hobbies, it takes some money to get good at fishing. You will not need to spend a lot of money, but you will not be able to do it for free.
Second, this guide is for warm, freshwater species and inshore salt water species. If you are want to catch cold water species, like trout or salmon, look elsewhere. Those species require a different technique.
Third, this guide only entails what I did to succeed. Every successful fisherman has their own technique. You will eventually find your own. Don't be afraid to experiment.
On to the guide.....
Like most long time anglers I have hundreds, even thousands of dollars invested in lures and terminal tackle. I've gone through many fazes. There was my topwater faze where I purchased just about every topwater lure made, from the Jitterbug to the Hula Popper to the Tiny Torpedo. Then there was live bait faze that came with about 20 pounds of sinkers and every hook size and shape possible. At one point I was convinced the only was to catch fish was with carved balsa crank baits. Thanks goodness that one did not last long! More recently there has been the very expensive fly fishing stage and the productive, but ultimately frustrating ultralight stage.
All of these techniques are fun and can be very productive, but none of them are productive consistently. Plus, if you are going to catch fish consistently you need to carry a hundred or more lures, and the lure specific rods, with you so that you can find what the fish want.
When I began fishing from a kayak I was forced to limit the amount of gear I could carry. I was limited to about 3 rods and two Plano stowaway boxes. Now that I have a little more experience I carry even less.
You see, I have learned that you only need two lures to catch fish all day, every day.
A small crappie jig and a Gulp! swimming mullet on a 1/4 oz jig head.
I know, I know, you don't believe me. But it is true! I catch 90% of my fish on these two lures. The other 10% is caught on live bait. And let me reiterate, I always catch fish and I did not used to before I began to exclusively use these.
|One of the best lures ever invented.|
|Caught with a white crappie jig on 4 pound test line.|
|Another nice fish, courtesy of the white grub.|
There is one lure that out performs everything on the market. I am convinced it works even better than live bait in most instances. It is messy, delicate, and expensive. But, it is also imbued with the magic essence of the fishing gods. What is this wonderful bait? Gulp! Alive. Specifically. Gulp! Alive 4" Swimming Mullet.
This summer I did several tests with this bait. I rigged two identical poles, one with Gulp and the other with a lure that looked and acted like Gulp, but was not Gulp. I made a cast with the Gulp, then a cast with the Gulp look alike. Each time I did this I caught all my fish on the Gulp, and barely got a strike on the "Not Gulp". The tests were very definitive in my mind.
Gulp is not perfect, however. It must be kept marinading in the special magic Gulp juice. So, every time you have to replace an old one you get all Gulpy. And replace you will. I feel lucky if I catch three fish on one bait. They are very delicate. Small fish will nip off its swimming tail quickly.
|Gulp! (as a trailer on a bucktail)|
It should be noted that not all Gulp! products are created equal. Some, like the sand fleas and earth worms are almost useless. Others like the Pogy and Mud Minnow are OK, but not great. Still others like the Peeler Crab and Swimming Mullet are real winners. Gulp has a real problem with creating action, their stuff is stiff.
Of course, it is not just the bait. You have to find the fish and make a good presentation. We will cover that next.....