« The Great Outdoors

Ten great fishing tips

by Randy Allen

10 Buy a quality rod and spincast reel combination; basic outfits – $15 to $35.

9 Use light line (4- to 8-pound test). Most new spincast reels come with line already attached.

8 Hook size gets smaller as the number gets bigger. For example, the smallest hooks (sizes 10, 12, and 14) should be used for sunfish, crappies, and perch; slightly larger hooks (sizes 6 or 8) should be used for bass, walleyes, and catfish.

7 Match your hook and bait to the size of fish you are fishing for – match bobbers and weights, too.

6 Tie an improved clinch knot (see drawing) when attaching your line to a hook or lure.

5 Bobbers are used for floating baits off the bottom for fish such as crappies and sunfish. Bottom rigs, using sinkers instead of bobbers, are effective for catching catfish and yellow perch. (see drawing)

4 If you choose not to keep a fish once you’ve caught it, release it by first wetting your hands, gently unhooking the fish, and then immediately placing the fish back into the water. If a fish has swallowed a hook, cut the line close to the mouth and return the fish to the water, the hook will dissolve from stomach acid.

3 If it is necessary to net a fish, net it head first.

2 Check your line occasionally while fishing by running the last 18” above the hook back and forth several times between your thumb and index finger. If you feel any frays, kinks, or knots, cut the line above the problem spot and retie it to the hook or lure.

1 AND the number one fishing tip is to keep your hooks sharp! If a hook scratches your fingernail while being lightly dragged across it, the hook is sharp. If not, replace the hook or sharpen it.