By Carrie Cates
One of the few positives that has resulted from the global pandemic is a reconnection with nature. More people are getting out and enjoying the great outdoors. People from all walks of life, from never-evers and those who fished as children to seasoned anglers are venturing out to the water to grasp a lifelong memory. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get out there and catch a few.
Where To Go
Just about every one has a cellphone or a computer with internet access. Search for your local bodies of water. Some websites to search would be your state’s wildlife conservation website or the local town hall that sells fishing licenses. Both can be a wealth of knowledge with contour maps, directions to public access locations and regulations you need to know. Knowing where public access locations are is very important as many lakes and ponds are privately owned or certain parts are closed off to the public. Always research a location before you travel there. Inadvertently trespassing onto someone’s property can be very dangerous.
Once You Get There
Plan to pack light. Wether you are just going for an hour or two or longer; what you carry in is what you carry out. A couple of rods set up and a backpack with a couple of tackle trays and some soft plastics should provide all you need for a day’s worth of fishing. Wear comfortable, seasonally-appropriate clothing and good hiking shoes. If you are hiking through the woods, carry your rods backward with the butt end facing forward. This will prevent your rods from getting tangled up in the branches of trees and bushes or accidentally breaking a rod tip on the ground. Also, consider bringing shorter rods as they will be better suited for casting within dense tree lines. A couple bottles of water, snacks and a first aid kit are essentials you should have with you. Don’t forget sunscreen and bug repellant too!
On The Shoreline
When you get to the spot you plan to fish, don’t go straight to the water’s edge immediately. You may spook any fish that are hanging out there. Hang back and observe. A stealthy approach will be advantageous for you not alerting the bass of your presence. Is anything popping on the surface? Which way is the wind blowing? Where is the sun casting shade from the trees? Is the shore gently sloping or a steep dropoff? Each of these scenarios requires a different approach and situational awareness is key in deciding what lure or bait to throw and where. When you have identified your target structure, positioning where you can cast accurately to or just past it at an angle parallel to the bank will maximize your ability to locate the fish. You may need to relocate if the first few casts are not successful and try from multiple angles to find the sweet spot that triggers a bite.
Leave No Trace
Once you have finished your day on the water and ready to head home, be sure to pack up all belongings and not leave any trash behind. Take any used fishing line with you. Snagged line in tree limbs and in the water can be harmful to wildlife. Snags are going to happen but removing as much from the area as you can will help preserve our environment and safeguard the creatures that call it home. Using lead-free weights will also help protect the environment and animals that may come into contact with it. Conserving our resources ensures its use and enjoyment for future generations. Follow all local and state guidelines and practice social distancing. Good luck and tight lines!