This is all “fish-y” business: Fishing facts to help you out this season

One of the best outdoor sports you can do in the summer, and in some places you can do all year, is fishing. Whether on land or on a boat, fishing is a sport of skill and patience and persistence. If you do it well, you reap the reward of a good catch, great story, and some delicious dinner. If you have been struggling to reel in the prizes, here are some tips that may help you out.

Smallmouth fish steal bait

Smallmouth fish, like scup and perch, have short bites, making it easy for them to grab the end of your bait and run off with it, leaving you without bait and without a catch.

Plastic baitfish
Plastic baitfish

The trick is to use a different hook to grab those sneaky fish, such as an Aberdeen hook. An Aberdeen hook has a long shank with a small gap, letting you leave very little bait dangling. So when the fish go for the bait, they will grab the hook.

Dressing up plastic baitfish can help them look real

Dressing up plastic baitfish can help them look real. Using a permanent marker, you can add some fish-like patterns to your plastic baitfish. As they hit the water, the marker will not wash off but may bleed a little bit, giving the plastic a more realistic effect. The unique lines on the baitfish may make them more attractive for fish to grab.

Murky-water fish may need options

Fishing in a murky-water
Fishing in a murky-water

If you are fishing in water that is slimy and hard to see through for fish like crappies, you may need to try to fish at multiple levels at the same time. You do this by attaching a sinker to the end of your line, allowing the line to make it to the bottom. Add two 6-inch dropper lines a foot or two apart above the sinker and knot them on. Then add a baitfish to the end of the dropper lines at each level, making the line mimic real-looking bait and offering an enticing meal for the crappies.

Hot weather can make fish lazy

This means that the fish will not go too far out of their way to get their meals. This could require you to find the river holes that they are hanging out in to catch them. The bait will also need to be enticing in order to even lure them to be bothered to come out of where they are sleeping. The hotter the weather, the more lethargic the fish are going to be, meaning you will also be more successful at the cooler ends of the day when the fish are more likely to be coming out of their holes in search of food.

Catfish are warm-weather fish

Casting in the night – Author: Matt Wiebe – CC BY 2.0
Casting in the night – Author: Matt Wiebe – CC BY 2.0

While they are trying to pack on weight after spawning, they really are only active at night. This means your best odds for hooking a catfish will be after dark and before sunrise, which is when they will move out to grab some good. Set up your fishing spot when it is still light out, looking for where the catfish like to be during the day.

The biggest concern here is that it is easy to snag your line in the dark, especially where catfish lurk. This means you are going to need some tough line, but don’t waste your money on expensive lures that you run the risk of losing. Get your solid cast out before it is totally dark and then just sit back and wait for the catfish to come out.

Carp is easier to catch after a rain

Fishing after a rain for a carp
Fishing after a rain for a carp

Carp is easier to catch after a rain. Fish like carp or gar like to swim where the banks have been pushed or risen, looking for new areas to find their food.Even in water only mere inches deep, these fish will slide around in search of their meals, making them easier to spot and to catch after some serious rain. Wait until after the storm is over to venture out, though. They will harder to see if the water is murky and muddy.

Bass like more shallow water in the summer

Fishing for bass in the summer
Fishing for bass in the summer

Because there is less oxygen in the deeper water in the heat of summer, bass often make way for shallow water. Coves and flats are a surprising place to find the prize fish on the hotter days, but they are also less fish than the deeper areas.

Bass also love to sit below the docks

When summer heat waves drive people inside, the same is true for bass. Looking to keep cool in shady places, bass often like to hang out underneath the docks. Of course, this makes your job, as the fisher, harder to do. You clearly cannot catch a bass under a dock you are sitting on. To get at the lounging bass, you will need to use a skip lure, which is pretty tricky, but it is not impossible. It requires a nylon weedguard and a 5-inch worm bait. If you tie the worm to the weedguard in the middle, it will be easier to skip under the dock. Then it’s all a flick of the wrist to pull the line behind you and skip it underneath the dock, where the lazy bass will be all too happy to have dinner brought to them.

Patience is everything

Patience is crucial when fishing
Patience is crucial when fishing

The biggest thing you need to remember about fishing is that it does require a large amount of patience. Just because you don’t catch anything right away does not mean you need to move where you are fishing. Likewise, not catching anything one day does not mean you need to give up on the whole operation. Stick with it. With some practice, patience, and learning, you will gain your stride fishing, no matter what kind of fish you are after or where you are located.

Most importantly, have fun out there. Fishing is an excellent way to get outside and disconnect from your phone and the distractions of everyday life. And, as a bonus, you can catch your own dinner.

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marion-fernandez is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival