Field and Stream and Kirk Deeter had a piece recently on 25 things to make you a better angler. A good read with lots of suggestions.
1. Do it all. Bait fish, spin fish, fly fish… The more you are on the water, the smarter you get for all types of fishing.
2. Find the exotic, wherever you go. You don’t have to go to the end of the world to find adventure. Make something exciting happen on local water.
3. Keep everything in perspective. Fly fishing is only an “extreme” sport on television shows. It’s really a tradition. Respect that tradition.
The list is hit and miss with me. I do some of it, I don’t others. I haven’t really done spin fishing for ages. I don’t use bait and I can see how that could hurt me understanding some species of fish. I still have trouble feeding big fish the fly. Ya know… I’m not perfect (by any stretch).
I have a few things to add to the list though. So, here are 7 tips from BOTB for becoming a better angler:
- Learn more knots. Not every situation calls for a clinch knot. Knowing those other knots helps when you run into something “different.”
- Learn to Double-Haul. You don’t need it most of the time while trout fishing, but you need it almost every cast for flats fishing and once you know how to do it, it becomes just a part of your casting stroke.
- Learn to Spey-Cast. While most people think of spey-casting 14 foot long rods for steelhead, you can also single hand spey a 9 foot rod for trout and that skill can REALLY help you out. Your traditional rollcast will go out the window. It is a really, really good skill to have on pretty much any river or stream… even the little ones.
- Fish with people who are better than you and watch them fish, be open to advice. Fishing with my friends Shane and Drew have proven critical to my development as an angler. Playing with people above your level can be really helpful, if you aren’t busy trying to impress them.
- Share information when it won’t screw up something environmentally sensitive. Some streams or flats can’t handle the pressure, but most can. If you share, others will share with you. Don’t give away a buddy’s secret place, but when you can help someone out, do so.
- Learn to tie. Tying flies teaches you a lot about materials and fly mechanics and makes you a more rounded angler.
- When you can, get a guide and listen to them. Kind of like fishing with your buddies, sometimes guys want to impress the guide. Don’t. Be humble and ask for advice and help where you need it. Guides know a lot and can shave years off your development as an angler, if you are able to take the lessons.
Those are a few keys I have tucked away in the back of my mind. Do you have any keys you’d be willing to share?