Most anglers dream of the perfect catch, but simple mistakes can prevent you from reeling in the fish. Here are some pitfalls to avoid when fishing:
Not changing the hook
Don’t cast out with an old hook. An old, dull hook can cause frustration when fish easily unhook and swim away. Also, choose a hook appropriate for the size of fish you’re trying to catch. If the fish has a small mouth, use a small hook. For panfish, use a size 6 or 8 hook.
Forgetting to replace the line
Fishing line tends to get worn out after use. By replacing the line on a regular basis, you’ll have fewer kinks in your cast. Changing the line regularly also ensures the reel has enough line to get your lure far enough into the water.
Skipping the bobber or using the wrong one
Bobbers are useful, especially for beginning anglers as they allow for direct observation, making it easier to tell when a fish is on the line. If you’re prone to snags, a bobber can help keep the hook up so it doesn’t get caught. You also need to use the correct size — use a one-inch or smaller bobber for panfish.
Not fishing at the right depth
As summer weather heats up, fish tend to stay in the top 12 feet of water. From mid-June through the rest of the summer, keep this in mind to have the best chance of catching a fish. To see how deep to fish for certain species, check out this infographic.
Fishing in the middle of the afternoon
Fish tend to take cover during the heat of the day. In the morning before the heat, or in the evening after it’s cooled off, provide the best fishing windows.
Reeling too quickly
The summer heat can cause fish to become lazy and sluggish. They may not have the energy to grab on to a fast moving lure, so reeling a bit slower can create an easier target.
Fishing in the wrong location
While it can be tempting to fish in a wide open area, that could cost you a catch. Fish tend to stay close to structures, such as brush piles and stumps. To figure out hot spots, check out the DNR’s Where to Fish website.
Not trying something new
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine. However, if you’re not having any luck, trying something new might do the trick. Move to a different spot, change your lure or even reel at a different speed to find what works.