Earlier this week, we published an article about Nick Stepp and his new podcast The Evolving Angler. While talking with him, we also asked Nick to share his Top 5 Fishing Tips. Here’s what he told us!
1.) When You Feel Like Throwing in the Towel, Keep Throwing Lures.
Some of my biggest fish have been caught well after I thought about leaving the water. Obviously throwing the right kind of lure for those specific conditions is important, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll have success. Sometimes patience plays an even bigger role. So give that proverbial “last cast” another hour or three to work.
2.) Bass Eat in Stained Water, Too!
For a long time I hated bass fishing in murky water. I would cancel fishing trips if the water was stained. One thing I’ve learned is that even if the water is stained from a little rain, that doesn’t mean the fish are not going to bite. Look for them to be more in the cover and apply the basics. Darker colors keep their silhouette and loud lures grab attention. Depending on the type of cover, I like throwing black, black/blue or green pumpkin jigs, rattling jigs, white or white/chartreuse spinner baits for that vibration and thump, darker buzz baits, chatter baits and of course, crank baits.
3.) Let the Fish Breathe.
This is something I learned from a friend who has been one of my mentors in musky fishing. Imagine sprinting for 100 yards and then immediately having your oxygen taken away. It’s the same aspect with fighting a big fish and immediately pulling them out of the water to do your thing. If you plan on taking pics, measuring, etc, by all means do that, but keep in mind that fish just exerted itself fighting against your rod and reel. A few seconds out of the water isn’t a big deal and won’t hurt the fish. Just use common sense. If you plan on getting some pics and a measurement/weight, let him hang out in the net for a minute to recoup beforehand. This really applies to warmer water temps when the oxygen content in the water isn’t as high.
4.) Embrace the “Trial and Error” Phase.
I am by no means a great fisherman. I’m blessed to have learned a few things here and there and lucked out and caught fish. Many times I’ve learned the hard way through trial and error. There’s NO SHAME in getting “skunked”. We have all been there, even the pros. Take that experience and apply it to the next time you go. An evolving angler is just that: Someone who is constantly learning, growing, changing things around and applying that to their game. None of us are who we were when we started fishing, so keep your head up even on those tough days!
5.) Fish Like You’re Hunting.
Seems odd to some but others will totally understand, especially the native trout chasers! Think about where you live, your home, your street, and all of its surroundings. Over time there are sounds that you’ve become accustomed to. The a/c kicking on, the subtle clack of the wall clock, random refrigerator noises. These noises happen and you don’t even bat an eye. They are sounds that become natural to us but if you add the sound of something hitting the floor, or a car going by with a loud muffler, our senses heighten. We know that sound isn’t naturally occurring in our habitat. Animals are equipped with the same programming. Imagine a bass, a musky, or native trout that has become so accustomed to the natural occurring sounds and vibrations in the water and then add the sound of pliers dropping onto an aluminum boat floor, oars paddling through the water, loud motors, boots scuffing rocks while wading, and an array of other things, the fish immediately become aware of those sounds. I’m not saying go out and act like you’re in the movie “A Quiet Place”, but be aware of the noises you’re making. Sound doesn’t travel well from air through water but the things already in the water can produce super loud sounds and vibrations or become conductors for such. Many people don’t realize that sound travels about 4 times faster through water than through air. So give yourself the best chance you can at catching a fish, especially in those high pressured areas, and hunt the fish.
There you have it! Now, get out there and start fishing!