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Quarry Man

How can I get even better...

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I consider myself an above average angler, better than the occasional angler, but not quite/nearly at the level of tournament anglers and more experienced anglers. I catch my share of fish, but I don't fish huge lakes I tend to stir to the same few things. I am 17 and started fishing more seriously when I was 15. I have always loved the outdoors, and enjoyed fishing, but it really took off when I worked very hard to land a tiny 12" bass (seems so trivial now), but having my father motivate me to fish more often is when I became addicted.

 

I started asking my uncle, commercial fisherman and avid angler, and other knowledgeable friends and family tons of questions. They gave me tips, spots, and even lures that helped me catch more bass. I soon figured out that there was a completely different resource, the internet. I started spending hours a day watching YouTube videos and reading articles online. I then stumbled accrues BassResource and I took the next step. I was able to ask questions and get answers very quickly receive answers from knowledgeable people. Thus really helped me to bypass as much of the learning curve as possible. I was doing research, interpreting it, and then applying it. Before long, I had upgraded from my trusty old ugly sticks to a decent spinning rod and 2 casting setups. I then entered the world of boating when I purchased a 10' Sears Jon Boat for $75 from a family friend.

 

Flash forward to today, and after a 5 month period where I was pretty burnt out from working so hard, literally spent 2-3 hours a day doing proactive fishing related things very day for 2+ years. I have caught the bug again and can't wait to go bass fishing this spring (trout is great but doesn't quite cut it).

 

I like to use the analogy of a med school student who knows absolutely everything under the sun about surgery and medicine, but lacks the real-world experience to be a true surgeon. Basically, I have spent so much time researching fishing and lures and brands and rods and reels and thermocline and all that, but I haven't spent enough time on the water to truly become a GREAT angler yet. I may be familiar with every item on Tackle Warehouse's website, but I can't find fish on Lake Erie in the middle of February. I hope that makes sense.

 

I have spent time trying to develop all my fishing techniques, but there are definitely a few that I am pretty good at. Here they are:

 

Drop Shot - when bottom is muddy, weedy, or water is clear (all depths)

Neko Rig - shallow rocky moderately clear water 

Wacky Rig - around shallow  structure 

text rigged keitech - cast and reel, shallow water, everything but very dirty water

chatter bait - covering mid-shallow open water or casting to docks

spinnerbait - covering water, casting to structures like docks and stumps

crank bait - only use live target mini perch bait on spinning rod in really clear deep water

swim jig - cast to cover reel through weeds

topwater - I use all types, morning or evening only

frog - thick vegetation midday, shallow heavy cover

 

These are the baits I use the most and have high confidence in. I obviously use others, but these cover the majority of my fishing. I feel as if I can't catch them on those baits, I won't catch em at all. 

 

I want to get better at fishing jigs on the bottom (dragging), flipping jigs to cover, Texas rigs (dragging), and crank baits, both deepish an square bills. I have caught fish on all of these techniques, but I want to build confidence in them. I think my main problem is I can't picture the baits working on my lakes because the cranks would get caught in milfoil on the bottom and the lakes are shallow so jigs sink to fas, also limited stricture makes it hard to flip jigs.

 

What can I do to become a better angler, and how can I build confidence in the other baits.

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Use them, cant gain confidence in something if you don't put it to work. Cant make free throws if you never practice. Can't kick field goals if you never try. Cant score high on a test if you dont study..

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1) Pick 2-3 lakes/ponds in your area. Learn them - structure, vegetation, species (local DNR or DFG can help there).

Best contour maps I've found online are i-Boating's. I've linked to the NE, scroll wheel to zoom in-out, drag and drop to move

http://fishing-app.gpsnauticalcharts.com/i-boating-fishing-web-app/fishing-marine-charts-navigation.html#5.8/42.293/-73.248

 

2) As @CroakHuntersays, practice-practice-practice. Get fully comfortable in what you know before moving on and learning new techniques.

 

3) Find a local fishing shop - mom & pop instead of big-box (DSG, BPS, Cabelas, etc). Many of the people who 'hang out' there know the waters. Talk to them, learn from them what works where and when.

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Congratulations for learning so fast young man. 

My advice is slow down and take a breath fishing should be a enjoyable experience not cramming for a exam overloading you with info you don't need.

If you want to study something study bass behavior, your local fishery and the prey sources the bass are eating. Catch some crawdads and baitfish, put them in large glass jar alive then closely look at their colors or try using them for live bait. You will learn about the prey, how bass react to live bait. The experience helps you in selecting artifical lures and how to present them to bass.

Keep in mind bass are not always catchable, you will learn this using natural live prey that bass sometimes ignor everything. Active bass are catchable bass, that simple statement will help you locate where active bass are feeding, that is where you should fish.

I would read Bill Murphy's In Pursuit of Giant Bass to help you understand bass behavior not necessarily Bill's lure presentation techniques although they are effective.

Good luck,

Tom

 

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The best and fastest two ways I know:

 

1. Find a mentor

2. Practice with purpose

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15 minutes ago, WRB said:

Congratulations for learning so fast young man. 

My advice is slow down and take a breath fishing should be a enjoyable experience not cramming for a exam overloading you with info you don't need.

If you want to study something study bass behavior, your local fishery and the prey sources the bass are eating. Catch some crawdads and baitfish, put them in large glass jar alive then closely look at their colors or try using them for live bait. You will learn about the prey, how bass react to live bait. The experience helps you in selecting artifical lures and how to present them to bass.

Keep in mind bass are not always catchable, you will learn this using natural live prey that bass sometimes ignor everything. Active bass are catchable bass, that simple statement will help you locate where active bass are feeding, that is where you should fish.

I would read Bill Murphy's In Pursuit of Giant Bass to help you understand bass behavior not necessarily Bill's lure presentation techniques although they are effective.

Good luck,

Tom

 

this.....also when you are outside, pay attention to what's going on around you.In the water out of the water etc. just pay attention.don't over think it.

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1 minute ago, crypt said:

don't over think it.

much easier said than done. Definitely something I need to work on. I have a bad habit of hyper-analyzing absolutely everything, especially fishing!

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I wouldnt worry about learning every technique and lure and put the time and effort into catching bass . I mean its not hard to throw a crankbait but if your water makes it difficult , then dont fret over it or go some place else .

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Relax, take a breath and don't try to force it. 

You know the basic's, seems to me you're trying to master something that can take some people a lifetime to accomplish.  

 

But you know what? 

That person hasn't been born yet. 

It's time to put into practice what you've learned. 

 

You may surprise yourself. 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike

 

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  One of the best ways in my opinion is fish with better anglers and time on water. 

 

I assume your high school doesn't have a fishing team but maybe one of the local College's in your area does, if so reach out to the team Captain and tell him your looking at increasing your skill as an angler and if they offer a program for younger anglers or if any team members would be willing to mentor you or spend time on water. Also reach out to your local Fisheries Dept./Bass Clubs and ask them for any available resources

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Go with older , more experienced fishermen. I learned the most new stuff the fastest this way. I only had 2. One friend taught me the basics, and the other was more in depth. I have learned most of the rest by fishing myself , and occasionally a tip here and there from friends, and of course, bass resource.

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There is no replacement for experience. Pretty much any good angler will tell you that you can plan, prep, study, and learn but nothing replaces time on the water fishing. Its how you develop your instincts and feel. Experience is always the best teacher. You can read articles and watch videos all day on fishing a jig, but time on the water throwing one is the best. People talk about feeling that tick, or thunk, or heavyness, and so on, but it means nothing until you actually feel it first hand and really, truly know what that feels like in reality to you. 

 

My advice is, if you can, instead of watching videos or reading about it in the afternoons, go fishing. Even if its just 30 min, just go. Practice casting, accuracy matters. Develop the muscle memory so its natural, and you dont think about it, it just happens. Learn to cast diffrent ways, one at a time. Learn to cast backhand, pitch, skip, etc..  When learning a new cast method, mix it up too. Mix types of casts, as well as lures. 

 

Im currently learning to skip myself, to make me a better angler.  I watched videos, read articles, and got an idea of what to do o, days i couldnt go fishing, but i really didnt learn until i went and actually cast. The best tip i got beforehand was to make a long cast, then tape line down on spool, so i can only backlash that far, and i have done it a whole lot.  When i go to practice, I take 2 rods (baitcast jig combo and a senko or ned spin combo) with me. I will start out and just skip for a bit, with both rods. Then i will usually just fish a bit if time allows. Then i come back and skip some more, but i mix it up. I will make a skip or two, them make a few casts or pitches, then a skip and then a cast, and so on. I do it to mimic normal fishing for me, going down a bank fishing. I may be casting a jig, then flip to a bush, or switch n skip a senko under a limb. I want to learn to be able to switch like that seamlessly. 

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Some good advice here.

Hopefully, you've been exploring topics focusing on finding the fish as well as different presentations and such. Seasonal movements, activity levels- what affects them and how they react, feeding windows, reaction responses such as defending a nest or their 'home,' how they react to quickly rising or falling water, etc. Understanding these and other things about bass, as Tom stated, will help you become a better angler. Where should they be, not what should I be using, should be the first question in your mind every time you head out.

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2 hours ago, junyer357 said:

There is no replacement for experience. Pretty much any good angler will tell you that you can plan, prep, study, and learn but nothing replaces time on the water fishing. Its how you develop your instincts and feel. Experience is always the best teacher. You can read articles and watch videos all day on fishing a jig, but time on the water throwing one is the best. People talk about feeling that tick, or thunk, or heavyness, and so on, but it means nothing until you actually feel it first hand and really, truly know what that feels like in reality to you. 

 

My advice is, if you can, instead of watching videos or reading about it in the afternoons, go fishing. Even if its just 30 min, just go. Practice casting, accuracy matters. Develop the muscle memory so its natural, and you dont think about it, it just happens. Learn to cast diffrent ways, one at a time. Learn to cast backhand, pitch, skip, etc..  When learning a new cast method, mix it up too. Mix types of casts, as well as lures. 

 

Im currently learning to skip myself, to make me a better angler.  I watched videos, read articles, and got an idea of what to do o, days i couldnt go fishing, but i really didnt learn until i went and actually cast. The best tip i got beforehand was to make a long cast, then tape line down on spool, so i can only backlash that far, and i have done it a whole lot.  When i go to practice, I take 2 rods (baitcast jig combo and a senko or ned spin combo) with me. I will start out and just skip for a bit, with both rods. Then i will usually just fish a bit if time allows. Then i come back and skip some more, but i mix it up. I will make a skip or two, them make a few casts or pitches, then a skip and then a cast, and so on. I do it to mimic normal fishing for me, going down a bank fishing. I may be casting a jig, then flip to a bush, or switch n skip a senko under a limb. I want to learn to be able to switch like that seamlessly. 

This is great advice! thank you so much!!!!

28 minutes ago, papajoe222 said:

Where should they be, not what should I be using, should be the first question in your mind every time you head out.

Another great point that I will continue to work on and think about!

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Go early, stay late.

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The best piece of advice I can give you is fish with as many different fisherman as you can.  Join local clubs and fish with as many as you can.  Be an observer and you will learn a lot of what to do and what not to do.  Watch the techniques they are using when successful.  Watch hand movements, pacing of retrieve, slack in line. length of pauses.  Look for hook placement, rigging techniques, and all the little subtle tricks, color variations,size differences.  While your doing your own thing, never stop watching them.  Ask questions, but get most your information from observing.  Fish with those that choose to use techniques that you don't normally use.  You will learn something new everyday, and sometimes things to eliminate.    The more you learn, the more you will realize just how far you have to go to be really good, and compete on a big time level.  
Good luck young man!

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Like everything else in life, practice makes perfect.  You'll hear every pro say that spending time on the water is the best thing for you.  I recommend reading as much as you can too.  Not just reading about how to fish and what techniques to use but read about the biology of bass.  Learn as much as you can, become that person others come to for advice.

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As has been said, techniques and lures mean nothing if you can't find the fish.  Learn to find the fish.  Learn how to use and interpret your electronics.  They are a major part of the game now.  Gary Kline once told me that if he can find the fish there are no less than 5 lures he can catch them on no matter where he goes.  Words of wisdom.  

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33 minutes ago, TOXIC said:

Gary Kline once told me that if he can find the fish there are no less than 5 lures he can catch them on no matter where he goes.  Words of wisdom.  

That in a nutshell is my strategy . Try to make a good choice on where the bass are and present several lures  that will fish the cover or structure effectively.

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Learn what structure is, how to truly identify it, interpret it, and then fish it effectively.

 

Learn what the predominate prey species in your lake is and how that species relates to structure with each passing season...morning, noon, and night.

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The OP stated his uncle is a commercial fisherman and avid angler sounds to me he has a mentor along with his family. Fishing with other bass anglers is good idea, not always easy to do.

Nothing breeds success like success. My belief is young anglers have too much information today experiencing overload, you can't do it all at once. Knowone on this site has mastered everything in a few years. Catch bass on a few techniques and add a new presentaion when the bass are active biting by trying different depths and retrieve speed. Study maps where you caught bass, then look for similar areas.

Catching bass is about finding them and that means eliminating unproductive water while locating productive water, don't waste time where they are not biting. If the area has bait and elements that look good return in a few hours and give it another try.

When you catch a bass take mental note why that bass was there and struck your lure, then repeat it.

Slow down and enjoy the fishing experience.

Tom

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All good advice above. I will suggest something completely different.  Find another hobby.  Despite how it may seem, you are just beginning your fishing life.  Maybe I focused on the wrong thing in your OP, but I'm concerned that you already got burned out for a period.  I'm not saying to stop fishing,  but maybe something that will complement fishing....rod building,  or tackle making...fly tying...volunteering with Healing Waters or Heroes on the Water.....something to think about

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