My top 25 Fishing Tips and Hacks
Rick Lawrence, December 12, 2020
1. I always carry colored magic markers in my tackle box as you can camouflage your braided line with them, or dress up a chipped or bad paint job on a crankbait. They work great to modify soft plastic baits as well.
2. Use a safety pin to hold small hooks, beads, snaps or swivels. Any small part you can put on a wire will help keep them organized.
3. Add a feathered treble hook to all your topwater popper type baits as well as all your jerkbaits. This little mod will put a lot more fish in our boat. I tie my own as it is really fairly simple to do with a little white bucktail hair and flashabou. If you don’t want to tie them you can add some hair and flash to your trebles with a little piece of clear heat shrink tubing.
4. You can clean rust stains and dirty crankbaits with a little dish soap with baking soda mixed in to form a paste. Use an old toothbrush and scrub the lure till the stains were gone, then just rinse with water.
5. You can make a Pike/Muskie lure box out of an old milk crate and some plastic rain gutter down spout pipe.
6. To help prevent loops on you spinning reels and making a big tangled mess the next time you try to cast is by manually closing the bail with your hand on your spinning reel after a every cast. This keeps the line from twisting as it works its way from the bail to the line roller, which it does when the bail is allowed to8 shut automatically by turning the reel handle.
7. Keep a pair of small bolt cutters in you tackle box as it is much better to cut the hooks on a fish that’s hooked in a bad place, than try to dig them out. Just don’t leave the cut off piece of hook in the fish. You also never know when you might need to cut a hook out of yourself or your fishing partner and having the right tool for the job might save you from a trip to the hospital.
8. A safety pin in your tackle box can be used as an emergency rod guide if you have one brake when out on the water. Just cut off the snap end and put a 60 degree bend in the other end, then tape it to your rod where the broken guide was.
9. If you break off a lure and don’t want to re-tie right away just crimp a split shot to the end of your line to keep it from unthreading through the guides.
10. Instead of buying expensive drop shot weights just get a spool of hallow core pencil lead and slide a piece cut to size up your line and crimp in place.
11. Save your old plastic baits to re-melt and make new ones with. All you need is an old microwave, a Pyrex cup, and a mold. Separate the baits into like colors and heat up a batch and pour into a hand pour mold of your choice. You can buy molds or make your own with a master and some Durham’s water putty or plaster of paris. P.O.P is cheaper but the Durham’s makes better longer lasting molds.
12. Make a handy lure holder for under your pedestal seat on your boat by taking a 5 gal. bucket and cut a hole in the bottom so you seat pedestal with go through it, cut some ¼” deep lure slots around the top of the bucket with a jigsaw to keep the baits in place.
13. Put a salt tablets in your live well every couple hours to help keep you fish alive and in good shape. If the weather is hot dump a part of a bag of ice in there at midday to keep the water temps down and keep adding some ice every hour or so. Don’t dump a whole bag of ice at once as this can shock the fish. You want to keep the water cool but not cold.
14. Tie the skirts on all your spinnerbaits and all other skirted baits with some braid just below the rubber band on the skirt. After a year or less these rubber bands all break and there goes your skirt either in the lake, into your tackle box, or onto the floor of your boat. A few wraps around the skirt and a square knot is all you need to keep the skirt on for years saving you time and money.
15. For wacky rigging weightless soft plastic baits, use clear heat shrink tubing. You can get a size that will fit over the bait and you can shrink it down to a perfect fit as needed. It makes your wacky rigged baits stay in place and last forever.
16. Then fishing tubes for bass you can add rattles or cotton balls inside the tube with scent add to it. You can also use foam earplugs to make them float up when fished on a Carolina type rig, if you use a small light wire hook.
17. To add some flash to a soft plastic swimbait try cutting off the blades from a cheap spinnerbait like the ones you can get at walmart for a buck. Cut the wire just in front of jighead below the R bend and straighten the R bend part of the wire out. Push the wire through the body of the swimbait until you get the correct distance for the bait where the blades will still spin and bend the wire over on the top so the spinner stays in place.
18. Put a piece of masking or black electrical tape on your baitcasting reel spool down just past your farthest ever cast to put an end to backlashes that put your rod out of commission for the rest of the day. Reel your line up over the tape and your ready to go. If you do get a backlash it will only be the very top of the spool and easy to pick out.
19. To save money on high priced braided line I spool a cheap mono on about 2/3rds of the reel, then fill the spool up with braid. After a couple months and the braid starts to fray on the end I take my line out and run it around a pole or tree and bring the end back to the reel. Walk backwards till you get to your backing, cut the line and retie the frayed part to your backing then reel up the line. Now you have new fresh braid on the end again.
20. Use fingernail polish for adding eyes on your bass jigs and adding color to your beaten up hard baits. You would be amazed on how much better a lure with eyes gets hit. All that you need to do is get yourself a black, red, white and a few other cool colors of nail polish and you are good for most scenarios. Some hardcore fishermen like to add red nail polish to their soft plastics to mimic a wounded fish. Nail polish is also a great way to temporarily repair a broken ceramic fishing guide. Let's say that your metal ring around your ceramic guide broke or rusted and your circular ceramic guide is now dangling on your fishing line. All that you have to do is put it back in place and slather a whole bunch of fingernail polish on both sides where the metal and the ceramic meet. Let it dry for 10 minutes or so and you can often get a few more hours of fishing done with that broken guide.
21. Add a zip tie and a split ring to your rod to hold your hooks if it doesn’t have one. Those wire hook holders break most of the time. Some rods don't come with them in the first place. So add one to keep those hooks secure.
22. Use rubber bands to keep your treble hooks from hooking all of the other lures in your storage box. Let's say that you have a whole bunch of hard baits with 3 treble hooks each on them. That means that each lure has nine chances to hook the one next to it in your tackle box. Some rubber bands or hair ties will remedy this problem and keep them from being a tangled mess.
23. Use those silica packets to stop your hooks and lures from rusting. We have all bought clothes or electronics and other things that come with those little white packets of silica in them. Those are to stop any moisture from mildewing our clothes. The silica absorbs the moisture so that mildew won't grow. Don't throw those packets out. Save those little guys and put them in your tackle boxes to help stop your hooks from rusting.
24. Try running a tandem rig when throwing a topwater or jerkbait by taking the rear hook off a similar but much smaller bait that you tie your main line to. Then tie a foot and a half leader to and tie on the larger bait in the back. This is a great big fish rig that imitates a small fish being chased by a larger one. Just make sure the front bait is about half the size of the rear bait.
25. If you use clear plastic boxes like most of us do to store your tackle in, use a sharpie to label that’s in each box. I put the type of lure is in box and what the lure does. Like my crankbait boxes I write how deep the lure dives and if it sinks, suspends, or floats then not being reeled. I put shallow divers in one box, mid range in another and all my deep divers in a third. I also number the boxes from 1 to 12 so I know where each box goes. My topwater box is number 1 and I go deeper in the water from there. My deep cranking box is #10 and lures you normally fish on the bottom is # 11 and 12.
Hope you like some of my tips and hacks that I have developed over my 50 some years as a fisherman. If you use a few of them then I have done my job as an outdoors writer. Hope to see you out on the water.