Whether you are a weekend basser or hardcore tournament angler there is always room for improvement. Chevrolet pro Luke Clausen (winner of the 2004 FLW Tour Championship and 2006 Bassmaster Classic) shares some of his keys to success on how you can become a better angler.
1. Educate yourself with information
The age of the Internet is upon us, and as such there is more information on bass fishing available than ever before. As an angler, don’t be afraid to use these resources to expand your knowledge of bass fishing. Who knows what fishing report, forum, blog, or website might contain new techniques or presentations that you can use on the water to edge out the fish and ultimately the competition. With the increase in quality bass fishing websites with credible content (such as OutdoorHub.com, BassFan.com, FLWOutdoors.com, BassEast.com, AdvancedAngler.com, Wired2Fish.com, and TackleTour.com to name a few) one can easily access information that will give them an advantage on the water. However, all the information in the world can’t make up for experience, so be sure to go out and try the tactics you learn online and build upon them to vastly improve your angling abilities.
2. Use the right equipment
One of the biggest downfalls of many anglers is not using the right equipment when on the water. The right line, rods, and tackle can make the difference between a great day on the water and a mediocre one. Starting with line, Clausen prefers Gamma Edge fluorocarbon because of its increased sensitivity, strength, and abrasion resistance over other lines. These properties are desirable for almost all applications and can make the difference between just hooking a fish and actually getting that fish in the boat. Using braid can also be an advantage both tied directly to the bait or tipped with a Gamma Fluorocarbon Leader. Luke’s preference in braid is Tuf-Line.
When it comes to rods, Clausen prefers those manufactured by Megabass, but suggests when choosing a rod to make sure it has a good deal of sensitivity. He stresses the importance of recoil guides on a rod stating “No matter what rod you use, consider switching to recoil guides, even if just the tip top guide for more sensitivity. Ceramic inserts deaden the vibration, which desensitizes the rods.”
Clausen suggests not to skimp on hooks, weights, or other components when it comes to tackle. A sharp hook is essential for good penetration resulting in an improved hook up and better chance of landing a fish. Also, consider switching from lead to tungsten weights. The higher density of tungsten allows for weights to be smaller in size and more sensitive than lead which will improve your ability to “feel” the bottom and the fish. Upgrading these three components will give you the best chance of feeling, hooking, and landing more fish on the water.
3. Be persistent
As anglers, one of the things we learn early on is that not every day will be a great day on the water. Sometimes no matter how hard you work the fish will not cooperate regardless of what baits you throw or how much water you cover. It’s important to not get discouraged during these times. Clausen feels that “Bad trips can often be the trips you learn the most.” These tough days allow you to learn what the fish aren’t doing which can help you improve your techniques when faced with similar situations in the future. The more persistent you are and the more time you spend on the water, will directly result in accumulating more knowledge which will over time make you a better fisherman.
4. Fish your strengths
One of the most important aspects of fishing, which many anglers overlook, is to fish your strengths. These are the techniques you have the most confidence in and are going to be the most effective for you on the water. At the same time, however, don’t be content with what your strengths are. You should constantly be challenging yourself to broaden your strengths in order to become a more complete angler. So, the next time you are fun fishing and get on a good bite, try some new techniques and build confidence in them. You never know when a new technique could become useful on the water and becoming proficient in them and making them a strength will make you much more versatile.
5. Have fun
The last and the probably most important way to become a better angler is to have fun fishing. When you are discouraged and angry you are more likely to be distracted, lose confidence in your techniques, and lose your composure leading to a poor day on the water. By having fun while fishing you are much more likely to be relaxed and fish up to your potential. This along with the other four tips mentioned in this article will go a long way to becoming a better angler with the results to prove it!