Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips People around me are catching fish. I'm using the same bait or lure, but I can't catch anything
People around me are catching fish. I'm using the same bait or lure, but I can't catch anything
"People around me are catching fish. I'm using the same bait
 or lure but I can't catch anything!"
 We in the tackle business hear this all the time. "You must be 
doing something wrong," we may say.  Or my Dad always
says:  "You must not be holding your mouth right!"  But it is 
most likely that that man next to you is fishing a
slightly different hole or that he is doing something just a 
little bit different to be so lucky.
 If you are going fishing in a totally new place where you
 have never been fishing before, it is to your advantage to
not start fishing right away. Take for example, that you want
 to catch some stripers with lures at Indian River Inlet.
Spend a half hour to an hour walking around observing exactly 
how and where the locals are casting. Watch how fast they
are reeling in their lures.  See when they twitch their rod
 tip. See what areas are producing the fish.
 "Every time I cast in, I get hung up!"
 This is the nature of the beast when fishing around rocks or 
any kind of structure. But if you are getting hung up
every cast you may be at the inlet (or some other place) 
at the totally wrong time. When the tide is running the
strongest it is almost impossible to hold bottom in a deep
 strong channel. Also, if you see no "locals" around, (or
experienced looking fishermen) you can bet you are on the 
wrong tide!  Get yourself a tide table and figure out when a
couple hours on each side of either the high or low tide
 will be.  This is when you want to be fishing.
 "Anglers are casting lures and catching stripers. I'm 
casting the same lure and getting nothing!"
 In this case, you can bet that you are doing something
 wrong. In many cases it may be the simple fact that you 
may not
be letting your lure sink first before reeling it back in.
  Most anglers on the rocks at the inlet cast up-current, let
it sink to a certain count of maybe 10, depending upon 
the lure and tide, then they work the lure as it moves with the
current, and THEN they start reeling in.  This is where
 you need to calm down, not get too excited, and watch the
experienced anglers as they cast the lures.  Watch their
 hands and their reels, not the just the water where they are
casting, so you can see when they start cranking.
 The first time I was in a bluefish blitz at Indian River
 I couldn't catch a fish at first either, because I was simply
throwing out there and reeling in. Then I figured out that
 the good anglers were letting it sink to the bottom first and
then reeling in. When I did this, I started catching fish!
 "These guys were using live eels from the Ocean City Sea Wall
 and catching stripers. I had eels and only got one hit."
 Again, watch where they are throwing, and observe how much weight
 they are using. Usually the anglers are using an egg
sinker up to two ounces when the tide is running, but can lighten
 up to one ounce or even no weight when the tide is
slack. Look at their rig, note the length of the leader. Note how
 long they let the fish "eat" the bait before setting
the hook!
 "I'm on the beach and other people are catching kingfish and I am not.
 I'm using the same bait. What's up!"
 A few years back I went to the 3-R's Beach in the Delaware 
Seashore State Park. I had my kingfish rig on, a hurricane
sinker, and bloodworms. I cast out, held the rod in my hand
 and waited. Nothing!  Then this man comes on the beach with
this little short rod with a top and bottom spinner rig, and
 a bank sinker, casts in next to me and starts catching
kingfish.  Now I can tell you, I started to get a little
 mad as I considered myself a pretty good surf fisherman. So I
stood there and watched him and realized he was "working" the 
rig and that he was not casting out very far.  He was
simply casting out, and letting the rig bounce back with the waves.
 OK, I say, I can "work" my rig too.  So I started slowly
 bring my rig back in towards the shore and I caught a
kingfish.  But this man caught another three. "Darn" I said,
 "And you don't usually even use a bank sinker in the surf!"
But it was a very calm day and the hurricane sinker I had was
 "dragging" in the sand a little too much that day. I went
in my box and found a bank sinker, put it on, cast in close
 like the man next to me, and bang, I caught a fish right
away!  A little later the ocean got a little rougher and the
 bank sinker was coming back in too fast. The man went to a
regular pyramid sinker and continued to catch fish.  I was
 quick to follow suit!  I figured that man fished the beach a
whole lot more than I and knew exactly what he was doing!
 Since then, and after a few other experiences in the surf
 and the bay, I am a keen believer in "keeping the rig
 moving."  You cover a little more territory.  If you originally
 cast in the "wrong place" where the fish are not
biting, and you reel in slow along the bottom, you may come
 upon the "right place," where the fish are biting.
 "I was on the boat with some friends and they were 
catching flounder and I was not!"
 This could be as simple as they were using a certain
 color rig that you were not using.  We have a friend that my
husband calls very "hard headed."  If we are using white bucktail
 and catching flounder and he has a yellow bucktail on
and is not catching fish, he will fish with that yellow bucktail 
all day long!  One day I was fishing with my husband
and he had a chartreuse spinner blade on and I had a plain rig
 on and he caught 3 flounder before I scrambled in the
tackle box and changed my rig.  He said: "I wondered how long
 it was going to take you to change your rig!"
The lesson here is, be observant, and don't be "hard headed."
  Just because a certain rig worked great last week, last
year, or even yesterday. It may not be the rig of choice today!
 It may be more than the rig. It may be technique and presentation 
of the bait. A bait on the bottom, especially if you
are using a two hook rig, looks different if it is fished straight
 down as opposed to a little further away from the
boat. The top hook will dangle closer to the bottom if you let
 out a little line as you drift.  If your buddy is
catching all the fish, and you are not, observe how far away 
from the boat (or other structure) he is fishing. Note the
sinker weight he is using. You may not be using enough, or 
you may be using too much.  (You always want to use just
enough to hold the bottom, but not so much that it rakes the
 bottom.) You want the baits to look as natural as possible.
 Presentation of the bait (or lure) is very important.  Watch 
it in the water and make sure it is swimming naturally. If
you are using squid, make sure it isn't balled up. You want 
a pretty strip hooked through only once. If you are using a
live minnow, make sure it is still alive. If you are using 
a lure, make sure you tie it directly to the line and that
you aren't using a big hunky brass snap swivel.
 If the guy next to you is catching and you are not, it 
could be one of 20 little things you may be doing wrong. Just
keep watching, observing, and if all else fails, you can 
always try "asking" and hope the angler is a nice guy!
 Good fishing.