Sometimes a handy little trick can make the difference in getting a job done the quick and easy way. Here are fourteen fishing hacks that will make you wonder how you didn’t think of these before.
- Get Rid Of Fish Odor From Skin – It can seem like there is no amount of soap that will get rid of that fishy smell that builds up on your hands after a day of handling fish, or worse, after cleaning your catch. While you need to use soap and water to get rid of grime and germs, running your wet hands over stainless steel will miraculously remove many odors from your skin. Whether you use a piece of cutlery, the faucet, the kitchen sink, or a steel bowl, a chemical reaction occurs and removes the odor causing molecules from your skin.
- Prevent Rod Ends From Sticking Together – Many fishing rods come apart in two or three pieces for easier transport and storage. The ends of the rods are called “ferrules” and can sometimes get really stuck, making it extremely difficult to break down your rod. To prevent this from happening, apply a thin coat of beeswax to the male ferrule and the two rod ends will easily slide apart. The melted wax from a beeswax candle works perfectly for this. Some anglers even use ski or snowboard wax for this purpose.
- Stop New Line From Tangling – When you’ve spooled fresh new line on to your reel, it can take awhile for it to form a memory and to stop spilling off your reel at every chance. To get new line to conform to your reel, run a newly spooled reel under hot tap water for a minute or so. The heat will cause the line to form a memory of the reel, preventing tangles and twist later on.
- Easily Cut Braided Line – Many line clippers and scissors have been dulled or ruined by trying to cut through braided fishing line. The blade in the plastic housing quickly and easily slices through the line. Plastic mail openers are the same idea and work the same way.
- Hang On To Fish Guts – Garbage day isn’t always convenient to a fishing trip and you may be stuck with a gut pile for a few days before the truck comes around. If you aren’t keeping the offal for garden fertilizer or some other use, place the innards inside two plastic grocery bags and tie tightly. Store in your freezer until you can dispose of them on garbage day. This will prevent a lot of mess and stink in your garbage receptacle, as well as keeping pests away.
- Save Your Drag – When storing your spinning reels for the off season, be sure to release your drag. Continued pressure on the inner workings of the reel from a tight-set drag can cause the springs to loosen over time, making your reel not work as efficiently the next time you have a big fish on.
- Keep Your Hooks Tidy – No one likes to break off and retie, and it’s worse when you have to dig around to find a new hook. Stick a large safety pin through the eye of like-sized hooks and you will always have your hooks sorted and in order
8. Fillet a perch in 10 seconds: You need a REALLY sharp knife, quick and steady hands, and a lot of practice to get this trick down pat, but it’s a fun one to try and leaves little mess behind. You can get through a mess of perch really quick once you’ve mastered this skill and you get very professional looking fillets as a result.
9. Freeze Roe: Steelhead and salmon anglers know that sometimes, there is nothing more effective for enticing a chrome bite than a tied bag of roe. But catching a ripe hen doesn’t always happen just when you need it to, or perhaps a buddy shares some roe or skein with you and you don’t need it all at once. To preserve the integrity of the eggs and maintain their scent, it is best to use your freezer for long time storage of trout eggs. The one crucial thing to remember is that air is the enemy of roe and that many a fine batch of bait has been lost to freezer burn. Ice crystals will form and cause the eggs to either break or turn opaque and rubbery if the roe is not stored properly. To keep your roe in good shape, start by placing it in a Ziploc style freezer bag and gently removing all of the air from inside the bag. The bag should be flat, with no empty spaces. Then, carefully wrap your bagged eggs in a layer of aluminium foil, again removing any pockets of air. Fold ends of foil over, creating a type of packet and label date and species with marker.
10. Emergency Perch Bait: We’ve all been there, when the bite is fast and furious and we are catching one after another and suddenly we look up and see that our bait bucket is empty. No one wants to leave a school of willing biters to go get more bait, so what is an angler to do? There is an old trick that some fishermen will use in a pinch, or even to stir up a sluggish appetite in fish unwilling to bite. It’s not pretty, but some anglers swear by it. If you’ve already caught some perch, you have a supply of emergency bait on hand. Perch, like many fish, are cannibals. They have a particular taste for the eyeballs of their own kind. If you are in a bind for bait, you can remove the eyes of perch and use them to catch more. It’s gross, but it works. The simplest way to remove the eye is with a panfish jig. Using the curved hook shaft like a scoop, push into the eye socket and pop the eye out. Slide it on a hook or onto the jig and continue fishing. Chances are, you will continue catching. Some bait companies have even come out with artificial fish eye bait to capitalize on the success of this technique.
11. Stop Lures From Fouling Up: It can be aggravating to finish the retrieve of your lure, one you have carefully cast and positioned, reeled in at just the right speed and at just the right depth only to find that your treble wrapped around your line, making your lure useless. This is often caused by a sloppy landing, causing the lure to tumble into the water and catch on the line. To prevent this, use your finger or thumb to put pressure on the line just before the lure hits the water and you’ll have a smoother landing with less foul ups.
12. Close Your Bail: Most, if not all, spinning reels have a bail wire that will automatically close when you turn the handle. However, this is very hard on the mechanics of the reel and most experienced anglers will recommend that you manually flip the bail after casting. This will preserve the life of and save wear and tear on your reel.
13. Get The Mud Out: Lots of people like a feed of catfish in the spring and catfish and bullhead are willing biters and good fighters for most of the year. However, once the water warms up in the late spring and early summer, many find that certain kinds of fish will take on a strong muddy flavor. This taste can easily be removed by soaking cleaned fillets in the fridge overnight in a glass dish of milk. You can also use cold water with a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in it. Then after soaking, cook as normal.
14. Keep Your Extra Minnows: You are all done fishing and you still have a dozen or so minnows left…what do you do? First of all, DO NOT throw them in the lake unless that is where you caught them. That is a sure fire way to spread invasive species and diseases, and in many places it is illegal to do so. Instead, bring them home and make “salties.” Salties are preserved minnows, a bait you can easily make at home and one that will keep indefinitely, under the right conditions. There are many different recipes and techniques for making them, but the one common factor that many people overlook is that you must not use table salt! Pickling salt, the kind without added iodine, is what you need for firm and life-like salties. Otherwise, you will get mushy, stinky, mucky minnows that are only good for chum. A properly cured saltie makes a great ice fishing bait, is very portable, and can save the day when you run out of live bait.