The Best Way to Hook a Fish
Fall for fishing hook, line, and sinker, even if you’re a newbie. Gerald Swindle, a former Pro Angler of the Year on the Citgo Bassmaster Tour, will get you started.
Go for small fry. “Don’t try to take on the ocean,” Swindle says. “Go to a lake or a pond and go for smaller fish, what we call panfish, brim, or sunfish.” These little fish are abundant all over the country. Plus, they are most likely to bite every day and weigh only 6 to 10 ounces, so you’ll have no trouble reeling them in.
Talk to locals. The friendly folks at a nearby bait-and-tackle shop can be a wealth of fish info, especially if you’re vacationing in an unfamiliar area. “Most tackle stores keep up with the local fishing reports and have great knowledge of the lakes in their areas,” says Swindle.
Use the right bait. For small fish, live bait is best: worms from the local tackle shop or crickets and other crawly creatures you and your kids catch yourselves.
Watch that bobber. “When the bobber or cork on the water’s surface starts to dance, that means you’ve got a bite,” says Swindle. Be still and wait until the bobber goes under the water―that means the fish is on the line. Tighten up the line―never jerk it―and reel it in smoothly. Put the fish in a bucket of water to protect it and remove the hook. If it’s stuck to the lip, extract it carefully with needle-nose pliers.