Not catching anything when you are out fishing can be extremely frustrating. To go fishing is really exciting, but if there aren’t any bites, it’s really only half the fun. There are many different factors that influence the outcome of any fishing trip.
Follow these 9 simple tricks and maximize the chances of catching during your next fishing trip.
1. Try out Many Different Lures
Fish often prefer specific sizes, colors or shapes of lures. These preferences do however change, depending on the time of day, the color of the water, the temperature of the water, the weather, etc.
You can significantly up your chances if you bring different types of lures with you. Simply fill your tackle box with both jigs, poppers, spoons, spinners, wobblers and crankbaits, jitterbugs…you get the idea. The more variety you can present, the higher the chance that you actually choose the one lure that works right here and now.
2. Have Several Types of Bait with You
Same goes for feeder fishing; if you have a whole buffet that you can offer the fish, the chances are good that they will at least bite on one of the baits you are offering.
If corn or bread won’t work, try live baits, such as maggots or worms. If protein isn’t the answer, try fake baits that you can dip into a totally different kind of aroma. Ot try a combination of motionless and live bait: shrimps or small dead bait fish can do wonders on days when the fish just do not seem to take anything else.
Insider tip: Try pre-baiting or chumming your fishing spot
Pre-baiting or chumming can attract the fish to your fishing spot, rather than you having to find them. For pre-baiting, use groundbait (a simple mix of breadcrumbs, oatmeal and water can do the trick) and throw out a couple of balls around the spot you want to fish. For chumming, bring a few deliciously smelling dead bait fish, chop them up and scatter them over your targeted fishing spot.
3. Don’t Fish When It’s Too Warm or Too Cold
Just think of yourself, do you feel for eating when it’s baking hot outside or when it’s ice-cold? Fish are very similar to us in that regard!
During very hot summer days, the oxygen level in the water drops and water temperature rises, which is equal to very inactive fish! Instead of forcing it at midday, try fishing in the early mornings or late evenings, when the water temperature is slightly lower.
Definitely avoid fishing on very cold days, both during winter, spring and fall. It’s just not worth it, especially when you don’t have that much time going fishing in the first place. Always try to maximize your chances and aim for the best possible conditions. Usually, very cold or freezing days are followed by milder ones. Wait a day or two, so that the fish can adjust, and then go out and get them!
4. Fish at Different Times of Day (and at Night)
This one is closely related to the above mentioned fishing in summer, but not exclusively. Trying different times of day can always be advantageous, regardless of the season.
If you can arrange it, try the early mornings and the late afternoons and evenings. This is a general rule for success when fishing. But do not disregard the period between breakfast and lunch either. And do certainly never think that fishing at night is a bad idea. Many fish are active during the dark hours of the day and sometimes, that’s when you can have the easiest time catching them.
Check out this article on night fishing That I wrote recently.
5. Try Fishing Different Depths
This is another common mistake that can lead to catching zero fish; you either fish too deep or too shallow. If you are fishing with a bobber or float, you should most certainly try different depths if you don’t get any bites. A good rule of thumb is that smaller fish tend to stay close to the surface, while larger fish tend to be found deeper down, or even on the bottom.
If you are casting, try using lures that can be presented in different depths. For the surface, try using poppers or jerkbaits. For medium depths, use spinners, spoons or wobblers. For fishing near or on the bottom, use jigs and shads.
6. Avoid Fishing in Strong Winds
This is a comfort tip, because fishing in strong winds can be a real pain. And frankly, fish do not seem to like this weather condition all that much anyways. Try to avoid fishing during storms as well, as this can pose a real safety risk.
If you want to fish on windy days, pick the ones with winds coming from the south or south-west, as these often carry warmer and sometimes also more humid air with them, which the fish seem to like.
7. Switch Locations Though and Then
The best way to catch fish is to simply move around and test different fishing spots. Do not fish the same fishing spot for too long without catching anything. Instead, try the next one you can find, and make it one that has different features from the first one.
If you started your session in open water without any success, move on to a small bay and try your luck there. If you fished near the bank or shore, try casting further away from the bank or, if you have a boat, take it away from the shore line and fish in deeper waters. Fished over gravel or sandy bottoms? Well, try vegetation, rocks or silt instead.
You get the basic idea; the fish always bite somewhere, you just have to find the right location at the right time.
8. Avoid Fishing in Bad Weather and Fog
Similarly to too much wind, too much rain or fog significantly lowers your chances of catching fish. Unlike common beliefs, fish actually do not bite all that much when it rains. They do often get much more active after a heavy rainfall though, which is when you should be fishing instead!
By the way, read my newly published article on fishing in the rain.
Fishing in fog is also something to avoid, as fog acts as a type of lock when it comes to fishing. I have honestly rarely had any luck myself during thick fog and nowadays, I almost never go fishing in such conditions.
9. Don’t Give up Too Soon
Finally, the last tip I can give you is to be patient! Patience is of course something all fishermen should naturally bring with them to the water. But it is very easy to get impatient and wanting to give up when nothing is biting.
My best advice: hang in there! If you just give it some time, and implement all the above tips, instead of just remaining at your currently dead fishing spot, you will most definitely succeed in catching fish. Use your time wisely, experiment and try out different things. The more you try, the more you learn. And the more you learn, the more fish you will be catching!