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What are some ways you work on making yourself better every time you hit the water?

I don't fish tournaments regularly and don't really have the need to be super competitive, but even in just a quick trip to the pond, I'm always trying to focus and grow better at presentation, mindset, and overall fishing ability. Nothing beats time on the water, but I'd love to hear other ways you guys try to up your game.

Some of the things I've learned are simple, but effective. Nothing mind blowing.

-Use good hooks, knots, and line ;)
-Always be mentally prepared for a bite on every second of the retrieve or cast; try not to be surprised by a bite.
-Keep a fishing log or record
-Polish your casting skills and learn to present a bait quietly
-Fish your strengths but don't be afraid to have an open mind and be versatile
 

Chime in!


 


 

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Patience and discipline.  The hardest part for me is not getting frustrated if I don't get a bite or catch any fish.  Towards the end of mornings like that I start cussing to myself and start thinking "what a f***ing waste of time that was" because I usually wake up at 4-430am to get to the lake by 5:15am, and will fish until about 10-11am, and won't get home until noon.  I start thinking about all the other things I could have done with the 7-8 hours that morning.

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I seem to be getting Better & Better at eliminating unproductive water & presentations, every time I go out.

If you want to know where not to go & what not to use ~ I'm your man.

:)

A-Jay

 

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I'd say you're of to a great start with the list that you gave. Something I have done to make myself more versatile is to use presentations/baits that I am not comfortable with. Figure out what you want to practice that day and only focus on that one presentation. It may not be the best way to catch fish that day but it's amazing how much you can learn in a day even just from a handful of bites. Doing this will put more techniques in your arsenal for those days where the fish are stubborn and it takes a fine tuned presentation to get them to bite. 

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Learn when to make changes and when to keep doin' what you're doin'.

Don't over complicate. WW2farmer has recently made an excellent series of posts regarding color selection in moving baits and soft plastics. I've adopted the mantra of green pumpkin, black and blue, and something else with most of my plastics and it's been good. The something else is usually red bug for me if you're wondering.

Know when it's okay to over complicate. If you have one or two techniques that you're truly excellent at presenting, I think going a bit wild and carrying lots of sizes, types, and colors can lead to more fish. Example: I carry a stupid amount of different swim jig trailers.

Use quality equipment. Expensive equipment is not necessary, but having reels you can cast reliably, rods with which you can feel bottom, and line you can trust goes a long way.

Learn the "rules" before you start learning when the rules can be broken. This sort of goes with don't over complicate. Basically start with the conventional wisdom.

Don't zone out. If you find yourself aimlessly chucking and winding, switch, move, or do something different. Unless, of course, aimlessly chucking and winding is catching fish.

Listen to the fish. How are they hitting your lures? Where in the mouth are they hooked? What do they seem to be relating to?

Most importantly, have fun. It's okay to avoid presentations that you dislike. Don't burn yourself out. Don't make it into a grind. Unless you're like me and you love grinding. Then grind away!

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Probably the main key to my improvement is my willingness to explore and experiment.  I am not content to do the same thing day in and day out.  While I like to fish, casting simply for the sake of casting doesn't do much for me.  I REALLY like to CATCH fish and if it feels like I am "going through the motions", I'll move to a new location, a new technique or a new bait (or all of the above).  The other day while on a lake that doesn't have a lot of obvious features, I reflected on how my approach and methods have changed over the years and how many mistakes I probably would have made before.  I still make mistakes-just not as many.

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One area I would like to improve on is not forcing a bite that isn't happening. My favorite way to fish (except for topwater of course) is pitching Texas rigs to lay downs and over hanging trees. Some days it will catch fish, and some days it won't. More often than I should, when pitching trees isn't catching, I try to force it and fish the trees a little too long when I should be moving on to a new spot. 

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i try to better my casting accuracy and lure entry every time i go out.  i think it's made me a little better.  i also have been much more conscious of using the wind to my advantage instead or cursing it and avoiding it!

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Fish with people who are better than you

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Fish pressured waters, i usually go to a fished out creek that has tons of bass. But its very hard to catch one there. No one even bothers to fish there besides me. Its helps me fine tune my skills and presentations. It takes hard work to catch a fish there but i feel rewarded when i do

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Understand what structure is, how to truly identify it, interpret it, & then fish it effecting.

Understand what the predominant pretty species is in your body of water & how that species relates to structure morning, noon, & night...with each passing season.

Understand that next after location is timing; just because you didn't get bit does not mean the bass aren't there or you had the wrong lure tied on.

Understand that to consistently catch bass is a process of elimination & duplication. Eliminate patterns & waters that are nonproductive and duplicate patterns & waters that are productive.

And most importantly understand the #1 key to consistently catching bass is between your ears not between the folds of your wallet!

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11 minutes ago, Catt said:

Understand what structure is, how to truly identify it, interpret it, & then fish it effecting.

Understand what the predominant pretty species is in your body of water & how that species relates to structure morning, noon, & night...with each passing season.

Understand that next after location is timing; just because you didn't get bit does not mean the bass aren't there or you had the wrong lure tied on.

Understand that to consistently catch bass is a process of elimination & duplication. Eliminate patterns & waters that are nonproductive and duplicate patterns & waters that are productive.

And most importantly understand the #1 key to consistently catching bass is between your ears not between the folds of your wallet!

Perfect -

I'm going to figure about 10 years of experience per sentence right there  . . . . . at least.

A-Jay

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2 hours ago, Cgrinder said:

Learn when to make changes and when to keep doin' what you're doin'.

Don't over complicate. WW2farmer has recently made an excellent series of posts regarding color selection in moving baits and soft plastics. I've adopted the mantra of green pumpkin, black and blue, and something else with most of my plastics and it's been good. The something else is usually red bug for me if you're wondering.

Know when it's okay to over complicate. If you have one or two techniques that you're truly excellent at presenting, I think going a bit wild and carrying lots of sizes, types, and colors can lead to more fish. Example: I carry a stupid amount of different swim jig trailers.

Use quality equipment. Expensive equipment is not necessary, but having reels you can cast reliably, rods with which you can feel bottom, and line you can trust goes a long way.

Learn the "rules" before you start learning when the rules can be broken. This sort of goes with don't over complicate. Basically start with the conventional wisdom.

Don't zone out. If you find yourself aimlessly chucking and winding, switch, move, or do something different. Unless, of course, aimlessly chucking and winding is catching fish.

Listen to the fish. How are they hitting your lures? Where in the mouth are they hooked? What do they seem to be relating to?

Most importantly, have fun. It's okay to avoid presentations that you dislike. Don't burn yourself out. Don't make it into a grind. Unless you're like me and you love grinding. Then grind away!

Care to link me to ww2farmers article? I can't find it

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57 minutes ago, Catt said:

And most importantly understand the #1 key to consistently catching bass is between your ears not between the folds of your wallet!

This is one of the best pieces of advice anyone can give when it comes to fishing besides recommending someone to put in the time needed.Expensive gear is not  needed, a good fisherman can catch big fish on a consistent basis on mid price gear.Being able to establish a pattern on any body of water is far more valuable than how much ones fishing gear is worth. 

2 hours ago, d-camarena said:

Fish pressured waters, i usually go to a fished out creek that has tons of bass. But its very hard to catch one there. No one even bothers to fish there besides me. Its helps me fine tune my skills and presentations. It takes hard work to catch a fish there but i feel rewarded when i do

I do this as well and it's helped me step up my fishing game drastically. I fish many public parks that are highly pressured to say the least ,and do extremely well in them. Makes it so much easier to fish on a boat or other spots I have that has less fishing pressure. 

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The first time i got a bite on Soft plastic i did't know what it was , i had just bought my first good rod where i could feel what was going on, Now i know & now i have 8 Johnny Morris combo's . I still lack knowledge ,i have everything i need but 1 Thing ,Knowledge & You can't buy it if you could i would of already bought it . But i love to go & enjoy God's Creation ,He made just for us.   GodBless

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For me it's I like to learn one thing at a time. Last year I boycotted senko style so I would force myself to learn other techniques even if it was going to be frustrating and not as productive right away. I thought hollow body frogs were dumb and every one I knew threw ribbit frogs. I have one friend that only throws ribbit exclusively. Well I was determined to learn a new technique. I quickly learned not all hollow belly are made equal. By trial and error I got my favorite (livetarget mouse) and can say I caught more on that mouse than all other top water combined. Before last year I had 0 hollow body catches, now Its a go to lure. This year is learning how to bottom bounce, T-rigs and jigs. I KNOW I will get bit on keitechs, worms, and jerk baits. But I want to get better at skill and those (simple steady retrieve) lures would t make me a better angler. 

It's kinda like buying a new house. If u fix everything the first year everything will be half assed and you will regret not spending more time and homework on it. Pick one renovation or project a season so it's done right and has your full attention.

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On 6/7/2016 at 0:53 PM, buzzed bait said:

i also have been much more conscious of using the wind to my advantage instead or cursing it and avoiding it!

This is another thing I need to work on....

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On 6/7/2016 at 11:53 AM, BrianinMD said:

Fish with people who are better than you

X2.  

I have learned far more this way. New techniques, diffrent lures to use, ways to present lures, reading electronics, places to fish and when to fish them.

I am always looking for a new person to fish with and learn from. I fish with a few guys who do tourneys, but i personally do not.  I am careful though. If a tourny guy shows me a spot i dont show it to a competitor. Nor do i fish that area if i know he has a tourny in a few days. I try to be courteous to my "teachers" and not ruin a good thing. 

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Have a process to keep refining your knowledge/skills:

1) Gather info
2) Process info and make a plan
3) Execute the plan
4) Review how it went

Do this generally each season and every trip out with books/forecasts/fish reports/logs/ etc. But also do it on a micro level while actually fishing- observing conditions, drawing on what you know, making sort of mini-plans in real time for each lure selection, cast, presentation, etc. Try to make your decisions as informed and purposeful as possible and always think about the results. The more you do this the better your decisions and plans will get. It can take a long time but will happen if you stick with it.
 

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I make it a point to try something new,.  be it a new lure, technique, or area. every time im on the water, unless im entered into a tourney.

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i was so geeked to catch a few early this year  that i was probably fishing too fast and putting way too much pressure on myself mentally. now that i got a few under my belt ive learned to relax while concentrating on my technique. my hook sets now are much cleaner and as a result ive been catching more bass.

 

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At this stage , I dont work on it , it just happens . I know where the bass are on the lakes I fish .I can read a depth finder for information and just go fishing  . I'll  often try something different but  theres always a reason behind it , some thought process that suggest to me what to do to catch more  , bigger or at  times any fish . The more one fishes the quicker he/she  is able to eliminate what is not working . Every trip is a learning experience  .

 

My cousin and I went fishing monday and before we made even one cast , we had two marker buoys set out and both of us hooked up on the first cast . We fished there an hour and left the fish that were still biting to try for some better quality .Experience told us that the spawn was over and the fish were moving deeper .  We tried some new spots without any luck . I usually try something or some-place new  but again , its not haphazard , theres always a reason behind it . We found some better quality fish in a creek channel lined with stumps . The fish , were not on the stumps , but in the middle of the channel  . The channel was 8 foot deep and the edge where the stumps are was 6 foot deep .We will remember that . The bass preferred two foot deeper water over the nearby cover .

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I couldn't believe one day when i said "Wish i had some wind , " I need to work on casting , hitting the target , position my boat to make a good cast  , wind does help we fished around a very small , shallow island & didn't get a bite we were just about where we started & the wind started blowing & we went right back around the island catching bass ,it was hard to believe but i saw it done, but i hate 15 Mph Wind & higher . GodBless & Tight Line

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I've been in all the same situations as above. I feel my topwater game has really dipped the last couple of years on my home piece of water. This is both my fault and the fact that my home stretch is not what it use to be. I caught two this morning on a topwater but, have a bit of a mental block with fishing it. I don't want to quote Mike Icaonelli but I try to take the "Never Give Up" approach. Just make something happen. 

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Having more fun!

Seriously. It will make you a better fisherman. I fished tournaments and took this stuff way too seriously for a couple of decades. The best thing you can do is lighten up and have fun. Ask any pro. They catch way more fish fun fishing than when they are serious. Fishing really isn't that complicated. Don't complicate it. Plus, the point of fishing is to have fun.

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