A New Year’s Resolution for Anglers

By Capt. Joe Kent

New Year’s Resolutions run rampant this time of year, with most having to do with breaking a bad habit or engaging in something new to enhance health or wealth.

Anglers, who are not considered pros, have an opportunity to join the bandwagon and make a resolution to improve their fishing skills.  For those who are interested in making such a vow, here are some pointers that could help you.

Your Gear

First, take a look at your equipment.  Is it the right equipment for the fishing that you engage in?  Don’t be surprised to learn that you have been using the wrong rod and reel for your type of fishing.  Any seasoned angler or fishing tackle salesperson should be able to take a look at what you are using for the fishing you enjoy and tell you if it is suitable.

During my years as a fishing writer, numerous calls, letters and e-mails have been received from readers asking why they are not catching fish when others around them are hauling them in.

My initial response to each inquiry is to ask for more information about your equipment, where and when you fish and what you look for when planning a fishing trip.

How You Throw

While the proper equipment, rod, reel, line and tackle are so important, those are not the only issues in the equation.  If you visit with professional fishing guides, most will tell you that the number one problem they see with their customers is an inability to cast effectively.

When fishing with a guide, he or she will have the right equipment to use; however, if you cannot cast well, it is going to be a major handicap to your catching fish.

The right rod and reel for the type of fishing you engage in is critical and of the two, the reel, in my opinion, is the more important.

The issue here is whether a casting reel or an open-faced spinning reel is more suitable for you.  One of the big issues is a backlash.  Most guides and other professionals use casting reels and are accomplished at using them.  One draw back for amateurs and beginners is that they are much easier to backlash than spinning reels, which are noted for their ease of casting.

When a bird’s nest (another term for backlash) occurs it takes time out of fishing and, as Murphy’s Law goes, it usually takes place in the middle of prolific action.

While there are numerous things anglers can do to improve their fishing skills, perfecting the casting technique probably is the most important, once the right equipment is chosen.

How do you improve your casting skills?  The answer is practice, practice and practice.  Fishing trips are not the best place to practice, as the focus is not going to be centered totally on hitting targets.

Plan to develop your skills on a small body of water that offers some form of natural target, a tree stump, piling, rock or other object.  Do not use lures for practice as they have hooks.  Instead use a variety of weights from 1/16 to ½ ounce and focus on controlling the cast and hitting a target area.

Start with shorter distances and evolve into longer yardage, as the objective is to cast as far as you can while controlling where the weight (bait when you are fishing) lands.

Small lakes around the area are good choices for practice.  If do not have a small body of water convenient to you, then try a spot like a football practice field as long as others are not using it.

If you can get on a regimented schedule for a few months of regular practice, the results will show when the fish start moving back in this spring.

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