5 Ways to Catch More Trout
OK, so you are looking for a way to increase your success rates. Perhaps you did not have the luck you imagined you would have on your last fishing expedition, or you just want to see if there is something you could add to your repertoire to make that next expedition that much greater! Whatever your reasons, these are some ways I find to hone my skills to ensure that no matter where I go I will catch more trout.
I have spent my lifetime fishing for anything imaginable. Whether it is with a spear in the Caribbean islands or a bamboo pole and float on my great grandma’s weathered old lakeside dock, I have always enjoyed myself, whether the fish were biting or not. However, if I am being honest, it's more fun to catch fish!
Tip #1: Work Hard
That tip might seem vague, but allow me to explain. If you are not catching the number of fish you would like to catch, ask yourself the question; how hard did I work to get here? If you are in a heavily populated area with easy access the fish you are targeting are what I like to call “snobbish.” The fish are under tremendous pressure, especially in the warmer months, and have already seen anything you are going to throw out there, in every imaginable color or every conceivable lure, with every level of skilled presentation.
When I was younger my Grandpa used to carry me to a popular fishing pier on Hunting Island, South Carolina. They would charge per pole and tie a small piece of colored thread around the rod as your receipt.
The pier had nice bench seats, sinks with running water to clean your catch, awnings to shade you from the sun...it was popular! I would watch guys carry a half a dozen spectacular salt water rigs out, sit down with their coolers, and toss out anything and everything imaginable. For the years I spent on this pier fishing I can only remember pulling in a handful of salt water catfish, that my father promptly cut up to use in our crab traps.
“They don’t taste as good as the freshies!” My dad would say.
Hunting Island has a massive lagoon in the center and during the tides water rushes in and out with amazing velocity. We would place our crab traps there and let the tide cycle through, then come back and pick them up. It was a long drive and the mud on the shore was ankle- or calf-deep, with razor sharp oysters generously spaced throughout. I caught my first shark here and never had a bad day fishing!
If you step out away from the crowd, the fish will be less accustomed to artificial lures or natural baits you present to them. They will be more likely to strike something interesting. So be sure you put in the work to find that sweet spot!
Tip #2: Live Baits
Live bait can sometimes get a bad rap from experienced fishermen.
"Izaak Walton," he told us when my brother was thirteen or fourteen, "is not a respectable writer. He was an Episcopalian and a bait fisherman."
A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
I grew up fishing bait. We would seine the inlets for minnows and crayfish, then head to the lake shores for bigger prey. There is still an old, mossy minnow trap hanging from an algae-encrusted rope on my father’s dock, although we have not loaded it in years.
The majority of what fish eat is alive.
The next time your artificial lures are not bringing in the big fish, throw a rod out there with some live bait. You will be surprised at the results!
Insider Trout Tip: Try the “drifting worm” technique the next time you are river fishing for trout. Regardless of the species, trout LOVE to eat a worm that has been dislodged from its burrow and is being carried along with the flow of the river. Cast up with little or no weight, and keep the line ready for that monster to strike!
Tip #3: Watch the Clock
Fish feed most often in the early morning just before or just after sunrise, and in the evening, just before or just after sunset. However, this goes beyond just feeding preference.
In the summer as the sun rises, the water warms, and the fish become more sluggish and less likely to feed. On the majority of my days on the lake I will head out before sunrise, fish until they stop biting, then head into the dock to take a break and spend my day in other pursuits. As the dusk comes along I head back out and I usually return right after the stars begin to twinkle.
Depending on your location, daylight hours can also bring an elevated level of water activity.
Tip #4: Experiment
This is something I know will bring in more fish but that I also have trouble implementing. After years of fishing, I have a massive memory of what works and what does not, what and how I should cast in a shallow pond or a running river, and what works in my sweet spots. When I do branch out into other options I can feel myself doubting the switch, and each cast that comes up empty tells me I was wrong to try something new.
However, the fish is the one who decides what to strike!
I generally try to commit to a new technique, bait, or lure for at least 30 minutes before switching again. This is your call, of course, but don’t be afraid to try something new just because it does not work on the first cast!
Tip #5: Try, Try Again
One of the most important parts of landing more fish is to keep fishing!
A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work.
Fishing is like anything you will do in life. The more you practice, the more you experiment, research, and improve your skill set, the better you will become. The best way to catch more fish is to get out there and fish!