Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

We're proud to share with you some of our wisdom to help you get the best out of your fishing experience. Here you'll find basic information and tips for you to consider while preparing for your fishing trip. These tips cover most of the basic things not known to beginners and often overlooked by the vets! Happy Fishing!

Drag Setting
The biggest mistake made by anglers is to have their drag set improperly. Most manufacturers recommend that your drag be set at one-third of your line's test weight. This means that a reel holding 15 pound test line should have the drag set to let out line at 5 pounds of pull. To set your drag run the line out through your rod's guides, tie a loop in the end, then use the hook on a fish scale (the tool, not the fish body part) to pull on the line. When the weight shown on the scale is one-third of your rated line weight, the drag should be letting out line. If not, adjust the drag until it does.

Avoid Tangles
Spinning reels often get bird's nests and tangles, which are usually caused by one of three mistakes. The first is putting the line on the reel improperly. The line should go onto the reel the same way it comes off the spool, taking advantage of the curve the line has memorized from being stored on the spool. Lay the spool FLAT on the ground (DO NOT hold it vertically) and start winding the reel. If tangles begin, turn the spool over. The tangling should stop and your reel should be tangle free for the future, as long as you don't make the following two mistakes. The second mistake is to overfill the spool. Spinning reels should never be filled past the front spool lip, or too much line will come out during casting creating a mess of tangles. The third most common mistake is to crank the reel while a fish is taking out line. While it's OK to crank a baitcaster while a fish makes a run, a spinning reel is not designed for such a mistake. During the fish's run, cranking a spinning reel literally twirls the line around and around, twisting it up like a rubber band and resulting in lots of kinks and tangles.

Filling Your Reels
Improper filling of casting and conventional reels can lead to tangles, just like on a spinning reel. Again, it is important to put the line on the reel the same way it comes off the spool. This time, the spool of line should be vertical, with the hole horizontal and perhaps with a pencil through it. The line should be coming off the top of the spool, NOT the bottom. Fill the spool to the fill line, which is a painted or etched line on the spool, and you're done.

Setting Cast Controls
There are 2 primary methods for adjusting the cast controls on casting reels. Try them both and stick with the method that works best for you and your reel. One method is to adjust the control so that it just barely stops the reel from falling when you push the casting button. To do this, loosen the cast control a little and push the button. The lure should start falling. Quickly adjust the cast control until the lure stops falling. Remember to make small adjustments. The other method is to set the control so that there is no overrun when the lure strikes the deck. To do this, push the casting button and let the lure fall to the deck. If the spool keeps turning and lets the line overrun, adjust the cast control and try again. Make small adjustments until the spool stops the instant the lure hits the deck. With either method, you will need to readjust the cast control when you change lures, especially if the lure is a different weight.

Polarized Sunglasses
All anglers will better protect their eyes and be able to see underwater fish better with good quality polarized sunglasses. Polarization cuts surface glare due to the alignment of particles in or on the lens, which can actually help an angler see underwater. Since polarization makes sunglasses special, glasses that are polarized usually bear a special label when they're on the rack. However, not all polarized sunglasses are created equal. The better polarized sunglasses have a ground-in polarization that results in a topnotch, optical quality lens with no distortions. Cheaper polarized sunglasses only have a sprayed-on polarized finish that results in lens distortions that will cause eyestrain and can even damage the eyes. Like polarization, optical quality lenses are special, so if they're optical quality there will usually be a special label or information in the accompanying tag or pamphlet that says so.

Charts, Calendars & Tables
Ever checked a Solunar Table? How about a Tide Chart or Moon Phase Calendar? Ever heard of a Maori Fishing Chart? Does this stuff really work? The answer is yes, but it's not infallible, because Solar periods, moon phases, and moon position are still affected by weather (especially changes in barometric pressure).
Many predatory fish have eyes that adjust to changes in light faster than their prey's eyes. This means that most game fish know from experience that they can catch bait fish more easily at dawn and dusk, which makes dawn and dusk two key solar periods. Fish also get hungry between these big meals, so they'll often feed sometime during midday. As a result, there are usually three or four "solar periods," including dawn, dusk and one or two midday periods. These periods are one of the ingredients in a Solunar Table or Maori Fishing Chart.
Fish, like most wildlife and even humans, are directly include by lunar phases and moon position. More than three-fourths of the record game fish are caught within three days before, three days after, or during a new moon or full moon. The reason is still a mystery, however, we do know that the full moon provides the most night-time light and the new moon provides no moonlight. The important thing is that more and bigger fish can generally be caught just before, just after or during a new moon or full moon. These moon phases are another element in Solunar Tables and Maori Fishing Charts and are a good reason why many anglers buy calendars that show the moon phase. Remember that Solunar Tables, Maori Fishing Charts, Tide Charts and Moon Phase Calendars don't guarantee fishing success. Fish are wild, unpredictable animals and there are other variables that influence their behavior, many of which are difficult or impossible to predict. That's what makes fishing challenging and fun!

Weather
Fish are directly influenced by weather, probably at least as much as they are affected by solar periods, moon phases and moon position. Weather is too unpredictable to put on a chart that is published several months in advance. Bright sunlight can bother fish and kill periods of activity or cause fish to take their activity into shaded or deeper water. Fish prefer some cloud cover or haze and are likely to be more active over a greater range of water and to have wider "strike zones" (meaning they will travel farther to attack a lure or bait) on partly cloudy to fully cloudy days. Wind can drive bait fish or insects to the downwind side of a lake and game fish usually follow. Extreme wind can ruin fishing or make it difficult or dangerous for fishermen to be on or near the water. Another weather pattern that makes a big difference is barometric pressure. When the TV weather forecaster talks about "high pressure" or "low pressure" zones moving in, he or she is talking about barometric pressure. Fish are more active during periods of low pressure and less active during periods of high pressure. If you don't want to buy and learn to read a barometer, you can get a pretty good feel for barometric pressure just by walking outside. If it's hot and muggy with very few clouds, it's a high-pressure period and the fish will be less active. If it's getting colder, clouds are moving in, or it's starting to rain or snow, it's a low-pressure period and fish will probably be more active.

® Ugly Duckling Lures. All rights reserved