Fishing Tips for New and Experienced Fishermen

Fishing tips from a terrible fisherman.


| May/June 2014



Fishing at sunset

An illustration of a woman holding a rod and reel while fishing.

Illustration by Wayne Stroot

I broke a record one night while fishing at the lake near my house. I had not thought ahead to bring along proper means of verification, but according to my calculations, it had been 18 fishing trips since I had caught a single fish — I mean anything at all. Eighteen trips, and I had not caught one panfish or baitfish or even a dying-of-starvation fish.

Believe me, it was not for lack of cheating. I tried spinners, rattlers, crank bait and plugs. I bought every variety and color of soft bait, and soaked each one in foul-smelling fish attractant. If it said, “Out-fishes live bait” on the package, it was in my basket before you could say “hook, line and sinker.”

I stayed up late into the night, researching fishing tips on the Internet. I read about daily routines and dining habits. I learned how to jig, how to reel in slowly, how to tie a Texas Rig. I was thinking so much like a fish that bugs started to make me hungry.

Yet still, I caught nothing.

Time to reflect

You might think I would lose interest, give up and throw in the fishing net. However, I knew I was becoming an expert — a skilled specialist in the area of unsuccessful fishing. No one could not catch fish better than me — and this turned out to be the key.

Back when I actually caught fish, I was too busy prying out hooks and having my picture taken with my big catch to think about anything else. Once the fish stopped biting, though, I had plenty of time to sit back and figure out that the real magic of fishing was not in the “what” or the “how,” but in the “why.”

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