Quick Tip: Talk to the Locals

Talk to the Locals - Fishing Tips

Lets say you want to fish a new lake and you don’t know where to start. One easy place to start is the local bait store or tackle shop. You can get many useful tips here such as what the fish are biting on, or where there are public places to fish.

Another place to look as you already know, is the internet. There are forums here and there dedicated to particular places to fish. Forums let you ask any questions you may have. The only downside is that you might not get a reply quick enough to use the information. By planning ahead and asking where the fish are before you go, you can have a much more productive day fishing.

And finally, don’t be afraid to ask someone who is fishing. Its very common to ask someone if they are having any luck, what they have caught, and what they are using for bait. Typically people are helpful when it comes to what works that day.

Finding Lures

Finding Fishing Lures

Live bait isn’t always an option. Thankfully there are many artificial baits out there to choose from. Lures are made from metal, plastic, feathers, hair, foam, rubber… you name it. Choosing a lure plays a large role in catching that fish. Pick a lure that mimics something the fish feed on like insects, crawfish, or minnows.
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Finding Tackle

Hooks and Tackle

When it comes to fishing, tackle makes it possible. Rods, reels, sinkers, lures, hooks, and lines are the basics.

Here is a breakdown of the basics and their importance.


1. Spincast – A spincast reel is an enclosed reel with a spool feeding line out of a hole in the top. This reel is very versatile and great for beginners. It generally holds less line than other types of reels but its push button casting makes it very easy to use. Dont let anyone tell you that you cant catch fish with a spincast reel.

2. Spinning – A spinning reel has an exposed spool where the line is retrieved by the bale mechanism. When casting, the line is basically free to come off of the spool. Instead of a button being used to start the cast, the bale is opened and your finger holds the line until it is time to fly.

3. Baitcast – A baitcast reel uses a spinning spool where the other two reels use a fixed spool. This is where the dreaded backlash comes from. If the spool ends up spinning so fast that the line no longer has tension, it can result in a fishing line snarl. These reels can usually use more heavy duty line and are used to catch larger fish. Casting a baitcast reel uses a combination of both a button, and your thumb to make sure the spool isnt spinning out of control.

4. Fly reel – The fly reel is a very basic spool that you pull line from on demand. The line is pulled from the reel to gain slack in the line. The slack is used up in the back and forth casting motion of the the long fly rod.

fishing poles
Fishing Pole Styles


Fishing rods (poles) come in a few styles. On the left is the rod for the spinning reel. It has no finger trigger to hold on to while casting because you don’t use your thumb to cast this style. The center rod is the baitcast rod. It has a long handle and a trigger to hold on to for stability in casting. Sometime you will need to hold on to the handle with both hands for longer casts. The rod on the right is the spin cast style. It has a short handle and trigger to assist with the one handed thumb cast. The spinning rod will have larger eyes on the bottom because of the wide twirl off a spinning rod. All rods are rated based on durability and action. Heavy action rods are more rigid and can handle stronger line. Light action rods are thinner and more flexible. They are made for lighter line and lures. The action in the tip (top portion of the rod) can also be important. A fast tip with will bend rather easily while the rest of the pole remains fairly rigid. Not pictured is the fly fishing rod where the reel is at the bottom of the pole handle.

fishing lineFISHING LINE

Spools of Fishing LineThere are many kinds of fishing line out there. Monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided line are the three popular styles. All lines have a test strength that can be used to judge how strong the line is. Braided line is typically the strongest. Its is just what it says it is, thin diameter  lines braided together. Braided line is usually the most expensive.  Fluorocarbon is the most sensitive. It is also the least visible. Unfortunately this style of line is fairly rigid so it may not be very shock absorbent. Monofilament is the most versatile. It has moderate elasticity and comes in many colors. Monofilament line is the least expensive and most popular line in general.

fishing hooks
Fishing Hooks


Hooks come in many shapes and sizes. Too many shapes and sizes to show here. Something to keep in mind when selecting your hook is the type of fish you are after. A fish with a small mouth can not be caught on a large hook. But a fish with a large mouth can be caught on a small hook. Some hooks are thinner and are called wire hooks. If your hook is too thin, it can bend when a large fish gets a hold of it. Finding the hook that works perfectly for your application make take some experimenting. Some fish might not want to bite a bait with an obvious hook, other fish wont care at all.

From the Shore

channel winter - Realistic Fishing

Not all fish are caught while out in the boat. Fishing from the shore can have its advantages. It can be spontaneous and convenient. And if you know your spots, it can be extremely rewarding. Here are some things to look for….

Rocky Shore
Rocky Shore

A rocky and sloping shoreline is a great place to find fish. Minnows, crawfish, bugs, and other critters live inside of the rocky gaps and attract fish. Some fish like to spawn in areas like these as well. Watch your step.

Boat Docks
Boat Docks

Docks and other similar structures are likely to be holding fish. They produce shade and cover to make the fish feel more secure while keeping them a little cooler in the summer months. This is a good place for larger fish to feed on smaller fish also looking for cover. So before you run out to the end of the dock trying to cast as far as you can, toss a line in along side it and see what its holding.

Dam Fishing
Dam Fishing

Dams and other man made structures that manage water flow are great fishing locations. The oxygenated and churning waters attract a wide variety of fish. The amount of food and depth of the water mean there will be some really large fish around. Be careful though, the water in areas like these can be dangerous.

River Shore Breaks
River Shore Breaks

Breaks in fast moving water are great places to find fish. The calm spots behind rocks and logs are great places for fish to wait and ambush prey. Let your bait drift past these calm spots and see what surprises they have in store. Be careful not to get too snagged up.


If you notice trees near the water, its a good place to look for fish. The shade, and sometimes the trees themselves provide cover for fish. Trees that are actually in the water are very good places to try as well. Just for fun, look into the trees and see how many bobbers you see hanging there. That might be a hint about how popular that spot is.

Shore Weeds
Shore Weeds

Weeds and grasses growing along the shore are excellent places to fish. Cast your bait to the edges and be careful not to get hung up in the weeds. If you can find pockets of water within the weeds, that is also a great place to find fish. Be prepared for the hooked fish to attempt a run into the weeds. Strong line will help here.

Log in the water
Log in Water

Submerged logs, brush, and other underwater structures, are great places to find fish. Cast along side the underwater tree and be careful not to accidentally cross over it. The main thing to be careful of here is a snag. The closer you can get without actually snagging the object, the better. Pay attention to your casting and be ready to get the fish away from the object once its on the hook.