Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Common Sense Fishing Tips- 2
Common Sense Fishing Tips- 2

Last week I was writing about using “good old common sense” and realized I had a lot more things to write about so I’ll continue on from last week. I talked about the most important aspect of fishing that we deal with all the time in our tackle store and that is the fact that you need to keep your reel out of the sand and the saltwater when surf fishing and to always use a sand spike.

Yesterday I was talking to a customer that was buying a new reel. He was fighting a big shark in the surf and somehow in the struggle the reel got in the rough surf and would not turn the next day. He knew why it happened and realized it happened because everyone was so excited. He had a sand spike that was shoved in the sand and he knew how to use it. Sometimes, “things just happen” and at least he had some good pictures of the shark before they released it!

Experience is the best teacher when it comes to new anglers. You can read every book and magazine and ask a hundred questions, but when you get out there and start fishing, you’ll learn more. Sometimes you’ll learn by trial and error and a lot of times you’ll learn from your mistakes. I’ve certainly learned my share of lessons! A lot of times it’s that one item left behind that later I would say… I wish I had taken that with me! My day would have been better.

I like to fish the Route 50 Bridge on occasion. When I go to the Florida Keys in the winter, I fish the bridges a lot. I’m not the greatest at it, but I always catch some fish and have some fun. I use braided line on all my reels and there’s one thing I have learned to never leave behind... a pair of gloves! When I get snagged or get a nice fish on that I want to hand line up, the braid will cut your hands.

If you are intent upon catching keeper flounder and stripers from the Route 50 Bridge, the men and women that do it every day tell me not to leave the bridge net at home. They say it’s the day they don’t take it that they hook the doormat!

I also like to fish the surf and when I cast with braid it can cut into your index finger. I always try to remember to carry that little $2.00 finger guard so I can cast to my heart’s content without cutting my finger!

No matter where I go fishing (surf, party boat and bay) I have a bad habit of getting there and saying “Darn! I forgot to take a rag with me!” The plain old simple rag is real nice to have around to grab a prickly fish, wipe your hands and swab the deck. If you’re on a boat it’s a good idea to have two!

The last few years, we’ve had more and more of two things in the bay and surf that anglers are not always happy about; rays and sharks. Some people are tickled to death to catch them and others are not. Regardless, one needs a pair of pliers to get the hooks out. Anglers obviously know they need to be careful with sharks because some of them have teeth. But, not everyone knows that rays can have barbs on their tails and back that can send venom into the bloodstream that has been known to send people to the hospital. Like a bee sting, it bothers some more than others. You need to be careful and not let the tail of the ray come around and slap you on the hand or leg. Use gloves, pliers, and a firm foot with a shoe on it!

We have been in the tackle business for over 30 years and have heard lots of stories. The one story that comes up every once in a while is the freshwater bass fisherman that is used to picking up a fish by the mouth! I had a good freshwater angler that did this with a bluefish. Only once! Always look at a fish’s mouth before putting your fingers in it!

Speaking of, I have gone fishing all day without incident and cut myself at the end of the day trying to get a picture! Some fish (usually big fish) will really hurt you if you put your finger in their gill plate too far to hold up for a picture! You get your finger in there and then can’t get it out! Ouch! Be careful and use a rag or a small gaff hook when getting that perfect picture.

(Editor’s note: use more than one finger in the gill when holding a fish. That way you won’t get your fingers too far up towards the fish’s mouth).

I think the biggest dilemma when going fishing is how much stuff to take. You have to decide what you are going fishing for and where you are going, so you can make sure you take enough bait and tackle to make it through the day. I went fishing last week and actually ran out of bait! If you’re fishing all day, I’d take at least 3 kinds of bait with some Gulp! or Fishbites in the bag for back up. Carry a fillet knife in case you run out of bait and need to fillet up a spot or legal bluefish for bait.

Some people only buy one rig. You should always have at least one spare, even if you are going into a snag-free environment like the surf. Some people buy 4 rigs, but only one sinker. Well, that won’t work if you lose your only sinker! Be sure to have a sinker for each rig.

Ice. Especially if you go out on a party boat or on a hot pier or bridge. If you do catch a nice fish or want to keep your bait from turning into “yuck”, it’s nice to have a little ice or at least an ice pack. If you go out on the beach, keep your bait in a cooler or 5 gallon bucket or the birds will steal your bait!

Don’t forget the sunscreen! I was talking to a guy that hadn’t fished for years the other day. He was invited offshore fishing and had a great time. The next day, he said his head and forehead were bright red and started peeling!

If you are carrying a bunch of stuff up on a bridge or a pier, a nice backpack comes in handy. When I fish bridges I always have a backpack full of tackle, rags, pliers and hopefully I don’t forget something important….

Good fishing….

Sue Foster is an outdoor writer and owner of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City, MD and Fenwick Tackle in Fenwick, DE.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 October 2012 10:49