Five Keys To Better Fishing


When you hit the open water this year, what are your plans? Have you set goals; have you even thought about the fishing season yet? With all that has been happening in the past year, take the time to sit down and think what you want to accomplish this year to make this fishing season one for the books. I have come up with Five Keys to Better Fishing. Get a cup coffee, sit back and let’s see what we have in store.

Keep records

Fishing is an adventure. If you ask fishermen what is a goal that they want to accomplish, many will tell you they want to be better fishermen. Keeping records is one way to get there. I have kept records for years and I cannot tell you how many times I have gone back to see how I caught fish in the past. Keeping records will help you build patterns on these waters, indicating what has worked in the past—and on the other side of the coin, what has not worked in the past. You can also gain insight as to when the best time of the year was to catch fish, and what were some of the best areas to catch them in. After a few years, you will start to see what works on a body of water and what does not.

One of the things that I like about record keeping is, during the long winters that we have up here in Minnesota, I can go through these records on a night when it is below zero. It’s a great way to pass some time during a long winter and help get ready for the upcoming season. Some of the topics that I track are dates, weather conditions, areas of the lake fish were caught, how many were caught and details of what I was fishing with and how I was fishing it. This will allow you to get a good start to see fish-catching patterns and conditions. This alone will help you become a better fisherman.

Try to learn a new tactic every year

We all hear about the new tactics that are coming out year after year, but how fast are you to adopt these tactics? If it is your goal to be a better fisherman, you will have to open up and learn new tactics along the way. Do not be that fisherman who stays stuck in a rut and does the same thing every time when they hit the water—and then complain that the lake has no fishing in it because you did not catch fish again. Take the time to look at new tactics that you hear about other fishermen using and being successful with. Talk to them to see what you need, evaluate what is behind the tactic and set forth a plan to get what is needed. Take your time and talk to a couple of different fishermen to see how and what they are using to perform this tactic. Every fisherman has a way that they do something, and that may be more in your wheelhouse as to how you think you should do it. Move forward and expand your fishing tactics every chance you get.

Fish in all conditions

Fishing is easy when the wind is not blowing, or it is not raining. But do not fall into the trap of being a fair-weather fisherman as it will hurt you in the long run. Fishing in all conditions, if it is safe, will help you become a better fisherman in the long run. It teaches you how to handle all bite conditions—good or bad—and cope with how to make fish bite in bad conditions as well as good. In the long run, it will make you a better fisherman more than it will hurt you.

Lakes vs. rivers

Both bodies of water hold fish and offer you great fishing options. But when you look at the bigger picture, many fishermen are either river or lake fishermen and do not cross over that much. This could be driven by the area that they live in, or it may be the options that they are offered. But truth be told, if you want to be a better fisherman, you should learn how to fish both bodies of water regularly.

Lakes offer different fishing situations than rivers, and vise versa. Use this to your advantage. There are times that the bite will be better on a river than it will be in a lake. Learn when these times are and make sure that you are taking advantage of these bite windows. Use these times as a benefit to help you catch more fish. Learning how to fish both bodies of waters will make you a better fisherman in the long run.

Good mapping

If you are looking to be a better fisherman in the short run, and on the cheap, I have an easy answer for you. With the tools that are at a fisherman’s disposal nowadays, many think that you need to spend thousands of dollars to have the latest equipment. That is somewhat true if you are competing for a paycheck day-in and day-out. I will agree that you will need to choose your equipment wisely to put an advantage in your corner every time you get on the water to compete.

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For the average fisherman who is just going out to catch fish, the best tool that you can have is a good map chip in your sonar unit. Are Mega 360 and Mega Live an advantage to helping you find fish day in and out? Hands down, that answer is yes. But if I do my homework and learn to find the areas that the fish hold in on my favorite lakes, I can still catch fish.

Good mapping will show you all the detail that you are looking for. It will show you spots that you never knew existed, in the same lake that you have been fishing for years. I choose and use LakeMaster in all my Humminbird units and feel it is hands-down the best mapping chip on the market. LakeMaster shows the best detail available, all for under $125. Good mapping is worth its weight in gold where available. Make this a must for the waters that you fish.


I hope these ideas help you get a better idea of how to take your fishing to the next level this year. It will take some time on your part but will not take a whole lot of dollars out of your pocket in the long run.



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