Spring into the Fundamentals of Fishing

By Mindy Simons-Assistant Director, Hayward Lakes Visitor & Convention Bureau

I grew up on a lake in northwestern Wisconsin, so naturally fishing was a part of life.  I fished as a kid with my parents and my grandpa with nothing more than a simple rod and push button reel and thought nothing of it.  Fast forward to the mid-2000’s when I started dating my now husband, who at the time was still dabbling in tournament bass fishing, my eyes were suddenly opened to the unbelievable variety of tactics available to catch fish!

Being rather overwhelmed the first time setting out in the boat for a day of angling, my patient teacher kept reminding me to “focus on the fundamentals.”  We started with thegirl bass fishing basics of tying a bait on using a Palomar knot, casting a spinning reel, properly presenting the bait to the fish, and finally…a good hook set.  After a few hours, I remember begging to learn how to cast with “the other reel” the elusive bait caster.  With nerves of steel, my now extremely patient teacher tightened down the tension on the reel and gave me a lesson; with the constant reminder to stop the line with my thumb, or the dreaded backlash would occur.  I caught on rather quickly and enjoyed bettering my technique as our time on the water went on.  What I really learned was that good fundamentals can make a difference in the number of fish you catch.

This time of  year, when the snow is starting to melt and anglers are itching to get on the water, is a perfect time to brush up on your fundamentals or better yet, get a young person interested in fishing even before it is time to get in the boat.

One of the easiest ways to practice casting fundamentals is to rig up a rod, tie on a bait, tape the hook with some duct tape for safety and start practicing.  Use a bucket to practice precise flipping and pitching, practice roll casting from different angles, or if you are a complete beginner, just work on gaining more distance and getting a smoother cast.  The possibilities are endless!

In addition to casting, if you are working with a new angler, teach them how to tie some basic knots and rigging techniques.  Again, practical application is great here, so tape off a hook for safety and start with the basics.  A Palomar knot is an easy first-knot to master and can be used in a variety of applications.  Teach them some of your favorite techniques, for instance, I love to fish the drop shot technique for deep bass, but it is more than just tying on a hook…share your knowledge so that the younger generation can get a jump start and feel empowered to handle their own tackle.

As we look toward open water fishing, I hope you will be inspired to get back to your fundamentals and pass them on!