Back to basics: Let’s go fishing

The first thing I like about fishing is that it’s a thrill to hook one and have it fight back to the shore or to the boat. No matter how many times you’ve done it, it never gets old. Once you catch it, it’s easy to throw it back in the water so you can catch it again another day. Or, depending upon what you catch, you can eat it for dinner. 

And let me say something about that. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a few fish and eating them. That doesn’t hurt a thing, and in some cases it actually helps control the overall population and size of a species. Catch-and-release is great, but it isn’t all there is to fishing. If you’re going to keep them to eat, I suggest you put them on a stringer. If you don’t have one or can’t buy one, grab an old bucket out of your garage and put them in it until you get home. 

Another tip is you should always keep your cellphone with you when you go fishing. There’s nothing like a picture of a little kid holding up a fish he or she just caught. And, you never know when you might catch a giant. No one will believe you when you tell them about it if you throw it back and don’t have a picture.

Something else is that you shouldn’t be shy about changing lures or baits. If you don’t get a bite in 10 or 15 minutes, try something else. If that doesn’t get you a bite, change locations. There’s nothing special or honorable about sticking with one lure or continuing to fish one spot when you’re not catching them. I never do that, and neither does any successful pro.  

Along that same kind of thinking you shouldn’t fish at the same depth too long if they’re not biting. Sometimes a fish will bite a bait that’s near the bottom but won’t give a second look at the same bait that’s up near the surface. The opposite is true too. 

I told you last time that every fish I’ve ever caught was on something different in the water. So, don’t be afraid to throw your bait around things that are in the water. They make a difference and that makes for a fish holding spot. Do not worry about getting snagged. If you aren’t getting snagged occasionally, you aren’t fishing in the right places. It’s a part of fishing.  

True, sometimes you’ll have to break your line and retie, but that’s a part of going fishing. Besides, if you’ve bought the things I talked about earlier in this series, it will cost you very little money to do that. Once you learn how to do it, it won’t take much time either. 

The last thing I want to mention is about what clothes you should wear when you go fishing. First of all, don’t wear anything too good. You’ll poke holes in your shirt or pants, or both, and for certain you’ll probably stain something. It’s inevitable. 

There’s no dignity is being wet or cold, either. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions, and be prepared for a change in the weather. Just because the weatherman on TV says the rain won’t arrive until dark doesn’t mean it won’t start pouring around lunchtime. It’s happened to me many, many times over the years. 

That’s all I have to say about actually going fishing, all I have to say today anyway. In the next column, and it’ll be the last one in this series, we’ll review the really important stuff that you should know if you’re new to fishing or if you’re going to take a kid fishing.