(BPT) - You can smell it in the air. Every now and then, a warm, fresh breath of spring. And to you and millions like you, that can mean only one thing … fishing!
As our country gradually warms up from a long, cold, nasty winter, now is the time to get ready to make this your best fishing year ever!
Here are 10 tips from the fishing enthusiasts at Rapala, the world's best-selling fishing lure for the past 50 years, on what you can do now to be ready to hit the water and start catching.
Declutter the tackle box - If you've been fishing awhile, no doubt your tackle box might be feeling a bit cluttered. On those cold, nasty days, bring the tackle box inside to the warmth of your home and pluck out the stuff that doesn't work and focus on what does. Taking the time to organize your gear will help you spend more time fishin' and less time messin' with your stuff.
Put on fresh line - What comes between you and a trophy fish? Your fishing line, of course. Don't tempt fate. The experts at Sufix fishing line recommend changing out fishing line at least once a year. As you take off old line, look for frays and nicks - this may be a sign that one or more of the guides on your fishing rod is cracked or even missing.
Smooth fishing rod guides - Use a cotton swab and run it around the inside of each guide of your fishing rod. This will help you see if you have any cracks or breaks in your guides, which could cut your fishing line - when you have a fish on the line.
Watch fishing videos - Getting outside and spending time on the water is what fishing is all about. However, watching how-to videos on the Rapala YouTube Channel, which features more than 600 videos, can help you catch more fish year-round, on open water, in saltwater and on hardwater (ice fishing).
Sharp hooks equals more bites - What's the first point of contact with a fish? It's the point of your fishing hook. Sharp hooks means you'll catch more fish; dull hooks means you'll be one frustrated angler. So take some time to replace hooks on your go-to lures. It's also important to select the right hook, too, say the hook gurus at VMC, one of the world's largest fishing hook manufacturers. The mouths of fish vary from species to species, so make sure to select a hook that meets the challenge.
Go with your confidence bait - Nearly every angler has their go-to lure. It's that one lure that seems to catch fish when all others fail. When you find your confidence bait, stock up on it. Have a few more of that lure tucked away in your tackle box for when you might need them even more. Don't have a confidence bait yet? Well, you can't go wrong with the lure that's caught more world records than any other lure.
Experiment more - You wouldn't play an 18-hole golf course with just a putter. Different lures are made to catch fish under different conditions. For example, Rapala offers freshwater lures, saltwater lures and ice fishing lures. It offers lures that can reach fish in any depth, from deep down to the surface. This year, treat yourself to a lure you've never tried before to learn from it and expand your ability to catch fish anytime, anywhere, under any condition. Or, try a lure, such as an ice fishing lure, for deep water bass and walleye in open water - sounds crazy, but it works.
Play fantasy fishing - That's right. Playing Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing gives you an opportunity to win some incredible prizes. At the same time, it allows you to track the world's best bass fishing pros and watch how they manage to catch fish even in the most difficult conditions. Understanding what they do can improve your real-world, on-the-water fishing.
Try someplace new - Anglers can be creatures of habit. We like to go to our favorite lake and often go to our favorite fishing hole time and time again. While you might be catching fish, you also may be limiting yourself. This year, try someplace new. Go to a new water. Try a different way of fishing, such as using a kayak. Go for a different species and see if your knowledge in bass fishing applies to a species such as walleye, muskies or redfish.
Introduce someone new to fishing - Spending time on the water, enjoying all that nature has to offer and catching fish is pretty awesome, but there's something even better - hooking someone new, especially a young person, on the joy of fishing. Take some time this year to intentionally teach someone about how to fish, or how to fish for a different species. It just may be your biggest catch of all.