1. Keep all hooks razor sharp and retie your line when needed.
2. Crankbaits ( on average ) catch bigger fish.
3. When vertical jig fishing, set your hook immediately when you feel something out of the ordinary. ( If you feel a tick, your line goes limp, or something feels heavy ).
4. When the water gets muddy and the fish seem to quit biting, try to slow down ( Anchor or slow troll ) and bulk up your bait. ( Add size, sound and smell to your bait ).
5. Be sure to wear a quality pair of polarized sunglasses while fishing...It helps you sight fish, see structure and detect bites by watching your line.
6. When trolling crankbaits, hand pump your rod to speed up and slow down your bait. This sudden change in speed triggers fish to react to your bait and bite.
7. Once you catch a fish, immediately check the depth of the water and turn around and go back over the same spot. The fish are there for a reason.
Trust your electronics.
8. When using Berkley Fireline: Keep your drag loose. Use a light action rod. Put monofilament backing on the reel to prevent any line slippage. Set the hook in a soft sweeping motion. Use monofilament snell.
9. Practice, practice, practice good boat control. It can make all the difference in the world in catching fish or not.
10. When fishing shallow water, make sure your bait is farther away from the boat than usual. Cast jigs and lindy rigs away from the boat. Try pitching jigs instead of vertical jigging in the spring when the water is clear and cold.
11. While fishing, operate your graph in the split screen mode ( if possible ). This allows you to better detect fish stuck to the bottom by zooming in the second screen.
12. Sometimes the speed of your troll or drift and the direction of travel can make a big difference in catching fish or not.
13. Once you’ve caught a fish, mark some type of structural spot on shore and remember where it is.
14. Pay close attention to details and learn from other anglers.
15. Be friendly to others on and off the water.
16. When tuning your crankbaits, bend the eye of the bait SLIGHTLY in the direction you want it to run. DO NOT turn it IN or OUT.
17. Have your fishing equipment and gear ready before you get to the boat ramp. Be prepared so you don’t tie up other boaters on the ramp.
18. Fish tournaments, attend seminars, watch videos or better yet, get out there and fish. It will make you a better angler.
19. When pitching jigs try using a 6 1/2’ medium light or fast action action rod with 4-6 lb. Berkley Solar XT monofilament (high vis) and tie your choice of jig directly to the line.
20. Don’t net a fish until the fish is ready and always net it head first.
21. When buying fishing rods, spend the most on your jigging rod. Jig fishing is the go to approach for catching more walleye. It takes a sensitive rod, a lot of practice and plenty of concentration.
22. When fishing bottom bouncers in clear water, instead of using a spinner try a 4-6’ snell with a plain hook and a colored bead in front of it and your choice of bait.
23. Jigs still catch more walleye than any other bait, so learn to use them.
24. Try pitching jigs and casting crankbaits, it really works.
25. When fishing unfamiliar water use some type of trolling method to locate active fish.
26. When live bait rigging, use size 6 hooks for crawlers and leeches and size 4 hooks for minnows. ( Large minnows may call for a bigger hook ).
27. Try using Berkley 4-10 Fireline for your bottom bouncer setup. You’ll notice more sensitivity and a better feel for the bottom therefore catching more fish.
28. When pulling crankbaits in mossy or weedy water, put a split shot about 4-6 feet in front of the lure to keep debris from clogging your bait.
29. While pitching jigs, use Berkley Solar XT (Green) for greater visibility. This allow you to detect bites not only by feel but by site. Light strikes can be seen on the initial fall or between retrieves. A faint twitch in the line indicates a strike; set the hook immediately.
30. Winter is the time to inspect all fishing rods for busted eyes or line guides. Inspect each eye for pitting or cracking. If you have to send the rod back to the manufacture, it may take several months to get it back.
31. While vertical jigging, pay close attention to the tip of your rod. When conditions are not so favorable, watching your line go limp, sometimes it’s the best way to detect your jig has hit the bottom.
32. Get yourself a set of good lake maps and learn to use them. They’ll make you a better fisherman.
33. How do you catch more fish in less time? Once you’ve located the active fish areas, instead of trolling back and forth over them use your electric trolling motor to sit on top of the active school and pitch jigs or use vertical jigging techniques.
34. Try using Berkley Vanish fishing line on your snells for less visibility to the fish and also place a small colored bead in front of your hook.
35. Never short change yourself when it comes to buying an electric trolling motor. Boats 17 feet in length or longer should have a 24 volt trolling motor system with a minimum of 60 pounds of thrust.
36. Two baits are better than one; If your on some active fish and all of a sudden they quit biting, try to change baits or colors before deserting the area. Try the bait change first and then the color change.
37. When using bottom bouncers; for every five feet of water in depth use and additional half ounce of weight. Example: 10 feet of water = 1 ounce of weight 15 feet of water = 1 1/2 ounces of weight 20 feet of water = 2 ounces of weight
38. If you must fish with a pack of boats, remember to concentrate your efforts on the outer fringes of the pack. Fish tend to scatter either to the inside of the pack ( shallow water ) or just to the outside ( deeper water ).
39. Make sure to practice common courtesy, safe boating and treat other boaters as you would want to be treated. Approach other fishing boats at idle speed, slow down when passing other fisherman, don’t crowd other anglers and try to be friendly.
40. Pay close attention to the wind direction and try to fish the wind blown sides of the shoreline. If the winds are calm, fish yesterdays wind.
41. Organize your crankbaits according to the depth they run NOT by the color or brand name.
42. Purchase a pair of plannerboards and learn to use them. They allow you to run multiple trolling lines and it also puts your crankbaits away from the boat for those spooked fish.
43. Bait decisions. Rule of thumb. When the water temperature is below 50 degrees, primarily use minnows. When it’s between 50-60 degrees, use minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers. When it’s above 60 degrees, use primarily nightcrawlers and leeches.
44. To eliminate a dirt mess, remove nightcrawlers from bedding and rinse in fresh water then place bait in a container with a frozen icepack while fishing.
45. To remove water spots from fiberglass or aluminum boats try adding distilled vinegar to your wash bucket.
46. When trolling without a line counter reel use a black permanent marker to mark the line for consistent deep control.
47. When jig fishing in shallow clear cold water during early Spring try using an unpainted jig head tipped with a minnow.
48. While fishing lakes infested with perch experiment with scented artificial baits such as Berkley’s Power Nightcrawler to allow more time in the water and less time rebaiting.
49. Instead of tying a crankbait directly to the fishing line use a Duo-lock Snap. This allows the lure more freedom to wobble and let you change lure size or color with ease.
50. A productive post spawn presentation is to drag/pitch light minnow tipped jigs in shallow water.
51. Wire your electronics directly to the starting battery or a separate battery just for electronics. This will help eliminate unwanted interference.
52. Attach a rattle tube or bulk up your jig during stained or muddy water conditions.
53. Prior to the start of a tournament study your map and write down your agenda for day 1 launch to weigh-in. List the spots that you plan to fish in number order. Stick to your plan!
54. To keep your fishing rods from tangling when you put them in a rod locker, take the hook and hook it at the base of the rod blank (by the handle) then take the remaining line between the tip of the rod and the hook and wrap it around the rod blank once or twice. As the line tightens, you then wrap it around the one of the rod guides (eyes) to hold it in place.
55. When using Berkley Fireline while trolling crankbaits, you might want to consider using about 20 feet of monofilament between the crankbait and the Fireline itself to help absorb the fight of a large fish at the boat.
56. When traveling to a new lake or area, make sure to stop by the local bait shops for the latest fishing reports and updates. Ask such questions as; How deep? What color? What presentaiton? What areas on the map are producing best? When leaving make sure to make a purchase from the bait shop to show your appreciation and respect.
57. Shallow water ( 2-6’) usually produces larger walleye in the spring and early summer.