There are many reasons why fishing is a recreational activity that is enjoyed by many, especially those who live near a body of water. For some people, they may go fishing to catch their dinner or for the sense of accomplishment from catching a big fish.
Other people may enjoy spending time on the boat and relaxing on the water. Regardless of your reason for wanting to take up fishing, it's important to know how to properly use your fishing rod in order to increase your chances for success and have a more enjoyable fishing experience.
Do not shorten your rod to catch fish
Many people think that if they shorten their rod, it will get them a bite more often. This is wrong because you are preventing yourself from getting a good hook set and also causing the rod tip to dip down into the water which prevents your bait from sitting properly on the surface.
You do not have to cast directly in front of you
If you are fishing from a boat, most people think that they need to cast their rod directly in front of them. This is not true because the fish are most commonly moving away from the shoreline and will usually swim right by one's side.
Use your rod for leverage, not to reel in your fish
A rod is there to give you leverage, so use it! Be sure to keep a firm grip on the rod and do not let go. If you are trying to pull up a big catch such as a pike or musky, hold firmly and apply pressure when using the rod for leverage.
Keep your rod tip up at all times
Even if you are reeling in your fish and they have no long line attached to them, you should still keep the rod tip up. This is because when catching a fish, it is very easy for the line to cross over itself which will cause tangles and possibly rod failure. If your rod tip is always up, it is much easier for you to avoid tangles.
Never let go of your rod while fighting a fish
This may seem like the most obvious tip, but many people have lost their catch because they let go when reeling in a big fish. There are plenty of locks that will help you hold onto your rod such as rod grips and rod grips that clamp onto your rod.
Use a rod without a reel
This tip is mainly for people who are fishing from a boat such as musky fishermen or pike fisherman. Using a rod without a reel will help you fight the fish better because the rod cannot spin around when pulling on it, thus giving you more leverage.
Always listen for the sound of your rod slapping against the water
This is important because when you hear this, it means that your rod has been dislodged from the fish and is not stuck in a branch or weeds on the surface. Sometimes when fighting a fish, they will jump out of the water or swim away quickly. If they do, this can cause your rod to hit something like a branch or weeds because the rod is not being held tightly enough.
Reel in your bait slowly and carefully
As you are reeling in your fish, use slow even strokes so as not to rip the hook out of their mouth. When you feel resistance, stop reeling and wait for the fish to move again.
Do not jerk your rod while reeling in your catch
When muscles tense, they have a tendency to tighten up quickly which means that when you reel in a fish using jerky movements, you are more likely to break or snap your rod. This is especially true if you are fighting a large fish such as a musky.
If you are fishing from the shore, do not let your rod hit the water
If you are on shore and have a rod that does not have a reel, keeping your rod high in the air is very important because if it hits the water, it can become tangled or even break. You should also try to keep your rod as far away from trees and branches as possible.
Do not put pressure on the rod if you do not have a bite
This is another tip that many people get wrong. If you are waiting for a fish to bite, it is ok to hold onto the rod but do not place any pressure on it. When you feel a fish bite, immediately apply pressure on the rod then place your thumb over the reel while reeling in the rod tip.
Never use your rod to land deep water fish
This is very important because when fishing for walleye or pike from deeper waters, using your rod to lift them out of the water is the best way to land a big catch. Using your rod as leverage will help you lift the fish up and onto shore more easily. Use caution when doing this though because if you are not careful, you could snap or break your rod.
Never use weedless rod for topwater fishing
This is not really a tip but rather something that you should know about if you go fishing for predators like musky or pike. Weedless rod are designed to fish in shallow waters where the weeds cannot reach them, not deeper areas with plants and weeds swimming around. Using these rod for topwater fishing can cause the rod to become entwined within weeds and plants. This will be very hard to retrieve because there is no rod tip for you to pull out.
Always keep spare line and hooks with your rod
There are many things that can go wrong while fishing and sometimes you may lose your rod tip or hooks, which will require you to replace the line and hooks. Keep spares at all times so that you do not have to stop fishing after just one snag.
Inspect your rod after each outing
This is very important especially if you are not using a rod without a reel. You will want to inspect your rod for any signs of wear and broken parts to ensure that it is in good working condition before going out the next time. This is also important because if you do have any problems with your rod while fishing, you will know immediately so that you can cut away the rod from the fish and not lose your rod, hooks or line.
Keep rod unloaded while storing it away
This is a tip that many people do not realize until there rod breaks after taking way too much pressure to land a big walleye. Never keep your rod loaded with line when you are not using it because this will place the rod under undue amounts of pressure and causes the rod to snap.
There are many rod tips that you can read up on online about how to handle a rod, reel and line but nothing compares with hands-on experience. After reading these rod tips, try them out for yourself so that you can get more of a feel for what techniques work best on certain rod sizes and types.
If you found this article informative, please leave a comment below with your rod tips or any rod related questions you have. Sharing rod building techniques and rod fishing tips is always welcome!