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Easy Steps to Becoming a Better Angler

By Jerry Carlson - July 1, 2013
I believe there are a lot of similarities between golf and fishing and often make comparisons between the two. For instance, no matter how good a person's game is, there is always room for improvement and we strive to become better than we are.

Now, let's talk fishing specifics. Every angler I know is looking for an edge to take them to the next level. It doesn't matter if you are a weekend warrior or on the tournament trail. Anglers always desire to improve their game.

In reality, there are a lot of things that can be done to improve one's skill at angling. Some of them cost money and some of them cost time. Either way, there is a commitment.

My first suggestion for becoming a better angler is to spend more time on the water. This may not be easy to do for some because time is limited. However, there is a positive correlation between practice hours and skill level. Just ask a golfer or a professional angler.

Learn to focus on your presentation. It seems uncanny to me how fish know when to strike. They seem to have the ability to determine when you're sipping coffee, eating a sandwich, have a bow in your line or are daydreaming about the one that got away.

Many times, I have taken people out that struggle catching fish because they are always fiddling with something. Their mind is never totally in the game. Consequently, they miss strikes and opportunities to stick lip on willing biters.

Learn to become a multi species angler with an arsenal of different presentations. I find there is a great crossover between techniques for different species. If you are skilled at presenting jigs for walleye, you will have no trouble fishing Texas rigged worms or jigs for bass.

Go fishing with different anglers. Every angler I know has a technique or two that is their favorite "go-to" presentation. At times I have thought there was no way that what they were doing was going to catch fish. I was educated and proven wrong. One can learn a lot by fishing with different people.

Buy the best equipment you can afford. Many times, I have been able to greatly improve the success of anglers in my boat by giving them some of my own equipment to use. This is especially true when jigging or rigging. Quality rods allow for more feel and detect bites easier on finicky fish.

When it comes to equipment, having a good sonar/GPS unit with mapping capabilities is critical. The LakeMaster chip I use ( allows me to find fishy spots on water I have never fished before. It also allows me to return to these locations if they hold fish. Ninety percent of the water is pretty much void of fish. To be successful, you have to fish where the fish are.

Last of all, be selective about the line you are using. For the most part, I use the lightest line I can for the conditions I am fishing. I also am a huge believer in Vanish Fluorocarbon for any kind of live bait fishing.

When working tough weeds or crankbait angling, the super lines like FireLine or Spider Wire are hard to beat. They are thin, sensitive and extremely durable.

There are certainly other techniques that can be utilized to become a better angler. These are a few of the items I believe may improve your game.

Author Jerry Carlson
Jerry Carlson
Jerry started his outdoor career in 1987 when he began writing for Outdoors Weekly. He currently writes about a 130 articles a year for various publications in the Midwest. In addition to writing and giving numerous hunting and fishing seminars, Jerry does weekly radio shows on two St. Cloud, Minnesota stations; WJON and WWJO. He also authored a book called Details for Locating and Catching Fish. Hunting and fishing photos and articles written by Jerry, along with his email address, can be found at Jerry fishes all species but prefers crappies in the winter and bass in the summer. He also loves to hunt Canada geese in the fall.
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