By Patrick Campeau

It should be said and repeated that fishing is the most wonderful sport in the world.  All of us can benefit from the happiness and joy which this sport brings to us.  Anybody can fish alone, with the family, with kids or among friends.  It can be done from the shoreline, however it is quite pleasant to do it from a boat.

People wishing to occasionally tease some fish on their favorite lake or river should try to acquire some fishing tricks and techniques in order to become more proficient. It is a fact that the art of trying to catch some fish generates incredible benefits.  We really get the impression of getting closer to mother nature.  This activity adds some incredible aspects to the marvellous moments and pleasure that the great outdoors can generate.  But capturing a greater number of fish becomes an additional feature of satisfaction.

Thus let’s see together how we can obtain the maximum benefit from this activity:

Before leaving, check the overall condition of your equipment. You would not want to end up at your destination, only to realize that the reel does not work well, the engine refuses to start, etc. Take the time to do it before, because afterwards is often too late.

Fishing line has a relatively short lifespan, opt for new line. All types of line lose a good part of their characteristics as they age. Factors such as humidity, UV rays, scratches which occur in fishing, normal wear and tear, etc. weaken their resistance and strength. Change it systematically at the beginning of the season.

Braided super-lines allow you to detect more bites. These incredibly powerful lines, made of Spectra or other similar materials, telegraph the smallest bites to the hands of fishermen who use it. It is also easier to detect transitions of materials found on the seabed.

Make your own invisible leaders using fluorocarbon. It offers a refractory effect that makes them completely invisible under water. In return, their elongation factor is unenviable. They are however perfect in making your leader invisible from 40 to 150cm, tie them using the uni to uni knot.

Line stretch decreases sensation and hook-setting power. The vast majority of monofilaments, copolymers and fluorocarbons display a coefficient of elasticity which can reach 30%. When they stretch, the user cannot detect the majority of bite signals and hooksetting power is decreased.

Choose fishing line with the smallest possible diameter. A small diameter line will allow your lures to dive deeper and they can swim with greater ease. In addition, fish have less chance to discover the trap you have set. The super lines are of a very small caliber.

Learn to tie good knots. Many amateurs believe they are tying good knots but that is often not the case. When your knot is complete, slowly pull back on the line. If the end you cut slowly turns, it means it’s slipping. Learn to tie the palomar knot and the double fisherman etc.

Use proper, well balanced equipment. You can’t just match any rod with any reel. The wrong size spinning reel can cause the rod to swing backward if it’s too big or forward if it is too small. The line/lure weight specifications found on the rod blank will explain the item’s optimum performance.

Use lures and techniques that inspire confidence. If you are not fishing with conviction, you will be uninterested and your results may suffer. The confidence that you have in an offering or technique can make them super productive or completely unsuccessful.

Check the sharpness of your hooks even if they are new. Always take the time to apply gentle pressure on your fingernail with the tip of the hook you want to use. If the hook stops, this indicates that it is sharp. If it slips and scratches your fingernail, sharpen it.

Explore shorelines where the wind has the most influence. When wind gusts to a sector, they blow in all of the micro organisms that are at the base of the food chain. Small fish will be attracted to feed on it, then the larger predators will follow.

Eliminate negative odors with a product like Nok Out. I do not believe that fish will travel long distances to attack lures to which you have applied an odoriferous potion. On the other hand, I am convinced that when they are more selective, they will not attack an offering emitting foul odors.

Use minimal hardware. Anglers who use metal at the end of their line, like large swivels or all kinds of unnecessary hardware for species other than Pike, do not realize that this impairs the subtlety of their presentation and that fish can more easily identify the scam.

Vary your techniques and your presentations. We all have presentations and ways of fishing that we prefer over others, but we must realize that fish can grow tired of them. Take the time to experiment and try your luck at different techniques. You may have some nice surprises.

Do not fish blindly. Learn how to adjust your sonar. When we look at a body of water, it is difficult to know what lies beneath its surface. Sonar will indicate the presence of fish and structures. To increase its performance, switch to manual mode, increase the sensitivity and use the zoom function.

Maximize your time by targeting the right areas on a map. All fish species have habitats or preferred comfort zones. It may be helpful to use a detailed map to locate these preferred locations. Then, when you find them, it is easy to identify others of the same type.

Know your prey. Do not fish for just anything that bites. Target a specific species. Trying to just catch anything that swims by will generally not yield much success. Learn the customs and habits of a specific species and target them with the appropriate tactics, bait and tackle.

Wear polarized glasses to see fish and rocks. These will eliminate glare on the water surface allowing you to see below the surface clearly. They also offer protection from harmful UV rays and protect your eyes from objects such as hooks and fishing lures.

During the fight, raise your rod, then reel down. The worst way to twist your fishing line is to turn the reel handle while fish are pulling line off the spool. By pumping the rod you will gain line on the way up and can easily retrieve the slack while lowering it back down.

The smallest details often make the biggest difference. Fishermen who don’t pay attention to the details often don’t have much success. Removing unnecessary hardware and choosing a smaller diameter line with no stretch, along with using properly balanced equipment can make all the difference.

Focus and be ready for action. It is true that fishing is a relaxing activity. If you want to take it easy, this is the perfect opportunity. However, if you want to catch fish, take drastic measures. Be more alert and remember that hook-ups can occur at any time.

Cover territory and follow the seasonal migrations. Fish migrate throughout the year. The temperature of the water, habitat change, predation and proximity to food are just a few of the factors that lead to change. Take time to explore and locate them.

At the end of the fight, do not chase the fish with the net. The worst thing that you can do is to try to chase down a trophy with the net, especially if you try to net the fish tail first. Wait until the fish is calm before netting.

Establish a strategy with your partners on the proper use of the landing net. Failing to do so may end in a lost  trophy and lead to frustration. The ideal technique would consist of submerging the net in the water and waiting until the fish is facing the net and within close proximity. Only lift the net once the fish is completely inside.

A lure designed for a specific species will often be effective on others. Many trout spoons work great for lake trout but will also be effective against pike. In much the same way many jigs and minnow baits will work well for speckled trout, lake trout, walleye, bass and several other species.

Always be positive and optimistic. If you fish nonchalantly and with little conviction, there is a strong bet that the results will be less than enviable. Remember that most of fishing is a matter of attitude, of opportunity and of timing. Action can occur at any time.

Never get discouraged. Fishing is never an activity with a guarantee. Remember that even the best fishermen sometimes come back empty-handed. Fish offer daily puzzles that we simply need to decode. The more experience you gain, the easier it will become to outwit your prey.

Keep in shape to avoid injury. It’s no fun sitting on the sidelines because of an injury resulting from the overuse of the neck, shoulder blades, shoulders, elbows or wrists. Many fly fishermen suffer injuries to their rotator cuff.

Wear your life jacket. It is absurd to see that over 75% of drowning victims were not wearing a PFD. Most anglers seem to believe that this kind of tragedy can not happen to them. Yet 88% of victims were men whose average age is 47 years old and over 52% of the accidents occurred on small lakes.

Always protect Mother Nature. We have the privilege of enjoying the most wonderful territories filled with abundant fish and game. Do everything in your power to protect it for future generations to enjoy. Please do your part.


Patrick Campeau is a professional fisherman that is a three-time provincial champion member inducted into the Canadian Pantheon of Fishing. He has been writing for Power Boating Canada and Les Plaisanciers magazines since the 1980’s. Find out more about Patrick Campeau at www.pcampeau.com or www.facebook.com/lapassiondepatrickcampeau