10 Fishing Tips And Tricks

Whether fishing on our own or alongside some of the most talented anglers in the Northeast, the staff at On The Water has racked up quite a few hours of fishing experience. Along the way, we’ve learned a thing or two so we started making a list of some tricks and tips that make fishing more productive and more fun. Here are ten of our favorites.

1. Mark Up Your Soft Baits
Mark Up Your Soft Baits

With indelible markers, you can add a number of realistic baitfish patterns to your soft-plastic baits. Get creative! Over time, the colors will “bleed” into the bait, giving them a unique fish-attracting appearance.

2. Stow Snaps And Swivels
Stow Snaps And Swivels

The most important links in your connection to a fish also happen to be the easiest to lose in your tackle bag. To better keep these tiny pieces of terminal tackle, slide them one at a time onto a large snap, then attach that snap to a lanyard worn around your neck. It keeps the snaps and swivels in easy reach when it’s time to re-tie in the middle of a hot bite.

3. Clip Your Trebles
Clip Your Trebles

Swap out the trebles for single hooks on most swimming plugs and you’ll change, or even ruin, the fish-catching action. To keep the plugs swimming right but gain the easy-unhooking benefits of single hooks, simply clip off the points on two of the tines, just behind the barb. Pliers will cut most freshwater hooks, and a bolt cutter can take care of sturdier saltwater hooks.

4. Cut Down on Tangles

The dreaded wind knot can be prevented, or at least reduced, by manually flipping over the bail on your spinning reel after a cast. This keeps the line from twisting as it works its way from the bail to the line roller, which it does when the bail is snapped shut automatically by turning the reel handle.

5. Dress-Up your Jigs
Dress-Up your Jigs

Diamond jigs are a classic striped bass, bluefish and cod lure that can be dressed with a bare hook, a colored tube, or a feathered Siwash hook. The faster you can switch out these different dressed hooks to find the color and style that the fish are responding to, the faster you will be into fish. To do this, replace the split ring on the bottom of your diamond jig with a sturdy lure clip and swap out hook styles.

6. Sock It to Short Biters
Sock It to Short Biters

Short-biting fish like sunfish, perch and scup will use their small mouths to grab the dangling end of your bait and tear it from the hook. To stop them from stealing your bait, use an Aberdeen hook with a long shank and a small gap, and then thread the bait on the hook like a sock so that very little hangs off the end. This works with night crawlers in freshwater and sea worms and squid strips in saltwater.

7. Get a Grip on Eels
Get a Grip on Eels

Instead of a wet, sloppy rag or old slime-soaked tee-shirt that has to be thrown away after each outing, pick up a pack of plastic kitchen scrubbing pads. They are easy to store and great for gripping eels. Eel slime rinses right off, and they can even be tossed in the dishwasher between trips.

8. Stop on Top
Stop on Top

If you’re fishing a topwater lure and the stripers keep blowing up on the plug or tail-slapping it without hitting it, try stopping it cold and counting to five. A lure bobbing on the surface looks like a stunned baitfish – easy pickings – and will often draw a vicious strike.

9. Cripple Your Baitfish
Cripple Your Baitfish

When ice fishing with live shiners, a frisky bait can be tough for sluggish cold-water predators to chase down. Try slowing it down by clipping its tail fin with a pair of small scissors. This works in other situations too, like when fishing menhaden for stripers.

10. Shave Your Swimmer’s Bill
Shave Your Swimmer’s Bill

Create a deadly lure for shallow-water striped bass by using a file to shave down the plastic bill on a swimming plug. With a slow retrieve, the plug will stay on the surface making just a light wiggle and sending out a v-wake like a big silverside or other baitfish.

48 on “10 Fishing Tips And Tricks

  1. Irving Lehman

    Thanks for all your tips. I will certainly use some of them this year. I fish only fresh water for largemouth bass. Thanks again.

    1. chickman

      I liked some of your tips thanks keep up with the good tips Chickman

  2. Roger J. Marucci

    Thank you for the tips. I fish mainly fresh water but do hit the salt two or times a year. I will put some of your tips to use this fishing season.

  3. Steve

    My grandfather taught me the trick of clipping the tail of a bait fish 50 years ago while icefishing; have followed his advice ever since. He sometimes even cut his bait ever so slightly with a single blade razor – to show blood.

  4. Alan

    I cut the bottom half of the tail fin off with a circular cut. This makes the bunker (manhaden) look like it was injured by a bluefish. Cutting the bottom half of the tail makes the bunker swim downward.

  5. Brian Jones

    sometimes I forget my scissors when I go ice fishing so I bite the tail off the shiner instead It doesn’t taste too bad

  6. Dan McCue

    Kitchen scrubbing pads for a better grip on eels is a great idea!
    Putting them in the dishwasher after….. For my wife to find…..bad bad bad!!

  7. Mark Dacey

    Just recently started reading OTW and I’m very impressed you got a smart group of people over there I’ve learned a lot an avoid hours of arguing with my girl because my face was glued to your articles.. (Haha no really!!) Thank you to all that make it happen..

    1. Kevin Blinkoff

      Thanks Mark! I agree, we have some excellent contributors.

  8. Dwaine

    Great tips.Btw shaving your swimmers bills works great.Heres an extra one.Turn that rubber worm into a deadly top water jig.By simply running a hook thru an earplug and stopping it at the eye of your hook.then rigging your worm, grub,craw, etc. It works great as well.

  9. Alex Trodder

    I really like your tip about using a permanent marker to dress up your soft bait. That can be a great way to make your tackle look more realistic. I like you you mention that the colors will fade and bleed over time to make them look more realistic an attractive to fish. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind. Thanks! http://www.berrysbait.com/products.aspx

    1. Sophia

      Same. Mine are pretty much just garden gloves with some grippy material.

  10. Turp

    I usually hook it on the tail end, instead of the Mouth. For some reason the flounder prefer it that way.

  11. Troy Blackburn

    That’s a great tip about using an indelible marker and adding baitfish patterns to my lures! I’ve heard, too, that making the lure wiggle in the water will make fish more likely to bite. Could that really make that much of a difference? I’m taking my son fishing for the first time next week and I’ll have to put some of these tips in to action so we can catch some fish! http://fintasticmp.com/trips-offered/4126207

  12. Alice Jones

    Thank you for all these tips on how to become a better fisher. My boyfriend loves to go fishing, but I know little about his hobby. I like your tip about dressing up a jig to help lure fish to it. I think decorating the jig will be fun to do. http://jimstroedefishing.com/

  13. Andrew Graham

    very good tips.
    point 2, I use safety pins for hooks, swivels, snaps, split rings etc..
    It keeps things organised and I don’t loose tackle
    saves money

  14. LNweaver

    I never thought of using plastic kitchen scrubbing pads to get a better grip on eels, rather than using tee-shirts like I’ve done before. My dad would like to take the family out on a big fishing trip, and it’s been a while since I last went out. Finding a good inlet fishing center would be a great place to start in preparation for the family trip.

  15. Dan Moller

    My dad and I are going fly fishing this weekend and I wanted to know what to do as it is my first time joining. I’d like to impress dad, so I wanted to have a bit of an idea of what to do. I find your suggestion about clipping a bait’s tail to slow it down actually pretty brilliant. I’ll be sure to draw a good pre-plan, following the tips that you have given. http://www.silverthorne.org/discover-silverthorne/activities-adventures

  16. Sam Solo

    I like your tip about using an Aberdeen hook so that the fish don’t take the bait. My dad is thinking about taking us fishing for the first time this summer and I want to make sure that we can have all the right equipment. I’ll have to consider your tips so that we have the best fishing trip ever!

  17. Amanda Drew

    Thanks for pointing out that you can reduce wind knots by flipping your bail over on your spinning reel after a cast. I don’t know how many wind knots I’d be getting or anything because I want to find a new hobby for myself, and I’ll be a beginner. Your tips will be a good place to start, but I think that I’ll find a fishing guide who’ll be able to show me exactly what to do. https://www.docsguideservice.net/

  18. Ridley Fitzgerald

    Thanks for the great tips for fishing. I want to take my kids fishing this year, but I really want them to catch something their first time. It’s good to know what type of hook to use for perch because that’s probably what we’re going for! https://striperxtremetn.com/

  19. Burt Silver

    I really like how you talk about modifications and share tips for fishing gear and what to do with it to better improve your fishing experience. I will definitely have to try some of these while I’m out on the water this weekend. My wife and I are planning a fishing trip combined with a kayaking experience. We’re thinking it’ll be fun! http://kayakattacks.com/packages/

  20. Taylor Anderson

    I like how you mentioned that permanent marker will slowly bleed into soft plastic baits, making them appear more fish-like. My uncle wants to go on a fishing trip with his older kids, so I think this tips could help him out. I think they’d also add to the fun of fishing!

  21. Brooklyn Johnson

    Thank you for stating that to better keep tiny pieces of terminal tackle, you should slide them one at a time onto a large snap, then attach that snap to a lanyard worn around your neck. I am recently getting into fishing, and have been looking for more tips and tricks to help me become better. I will definitely keep all of your great tips and information in mind when trying to be better at fishing. https://bambaits.ca/product/all-day-tackle-box/

  22. Sabrina Addams

    It’s very interesting that you noted how the faster you can swap dressed-up jigs, the quicker you can catch fish. My brothers are going on their annual fishing trip next weekend. They invited me to go with them this year, so I will try to practice switching out dressed hooks to prepare. http://hookdupsportfishing.com/index.php

  23. Tex Hooper

    It seems that I would need a lot of pockets for all of the hooks and tackle. I plan on taking my son fishing this summer but don’t have the right gear. I’ll have to make sure I get the right boots. https://fishewear.com/

  24. Jeff Carbine

    I loved it when you said that along the way, we’ve learned a thing or two so we started making a list of some tricks and tips that make fishing more productive and more fun. Here are ten of our favorites. My husband and I want to go on a fishing charter trip soon, so I’ve been looking online for tips to help us prepare. I don’t think I would have remembered to bring a waterproof bag, so I’m really glad you shared that advice! https://whiteriverflyanglers.com/guides

  25. Paul

    Great article! I don’t do much spin fishing, but I can relate to the ole dreaded wind knot. It’s especially dreadful when fly fishing! I can’t tell you how many times when I first started that I got tangled in my own line. Great stuff here!

  26. ——-

    tips sound good i have only fished freshwater but I will try these tips on my new 6ft 9 inch rod

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