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FISH & FISHING

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atch any group of fishermen and one or two always stand out from the others in terms of getting more strikes and catching more fish. If you monitor their approach and their movements, it’s difficult to detect anything different from other anglers, but you can bet it’s there. I call this “The Touch,” and it covers every phase of the sport from hooking a fish to landing it. Two anglers standing side by side are fishing the same artificial lures. One man enjoys several strikes and hooks a couple of fish while his partner can’t buy a strike. The only difference in their retrieves is that the successful angler is vibrating his wrist while he retrieves the plug. That causes the lure to flash under water, and that’s the touch that produces a positive result. In a similar situation fishing topwater plugs, it turns out the angler getting the strikes retrieves the lure like everyone else, but he pauses for an instant during the retrieve, which allows the plug to rise slightly. The same touch is just as important with natural baits (dead or alive) as it is with artificials. How and where you present a bait makes a significant difference. Baits should be changed frequently whether they are live or dead. Fish face into the current or they swim against it. Positioning a boat to take advantage of the local current is vital, and you also need to consider spring tides and neap tides as well as the daily rise and fall. Even when you are trolling, the key is to work in and out to change water depth and work both sides of a current. Keep in mind that water depth is a prime factor in determining where fish will be. Locating the right depth and area is

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part of the touch. W h e n you rig, you want the lightest and shortest leader that makes sense. Every hook must be sharpened to perfection. Eliminate as much hardware as you can. If a sinker is necessary, opt for the smallest one that will do the job. A bait that bounces along the bottom is much more effective than one anchored to a single spot. If your rods are custom built or can be modified, shorten the butt. That allows you to reduce the fatigue on your arms when battling an oversized denizen. When a fish takes a bait or lure, don’t swing the rod as if it were a baseball bat. Point the tip directly at the spot where the line enters the water and let the fish start to move off. Then, just lock the pre-set drag and the fish will hook itself. One critical aspect of battling a strong fish centers on the use of side pressure. Most anglers keep the rod in a vertical position when fighting a fish, pumping upwards to draw the fish closer and regain line. When the fish gets a reasonable distance away, the use of side pressure is much more effective. The key lies in holding the rod waist high and parallel to the water. If the fish is swimming to the right, you want to try to force it to turn and swim to the left. Each time it turns, it gets closer to the boat or to shore. The Touch covers all aspects of fishing. It is composed of countless little things that give the angler a decided advantage when put together. Once you begin to master it, you can bet you will get more strikes and catch more fish.

For more from Mark Sosin, visit

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Profile for Coastal Angler Magazine

Coastal Angler Magazine | May 2019 | Greater Orlando  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...

Coastal Angler Magazine | May 2019 | Greater Orlando  

Coastal Angler Magazine and our interior (freshwater) publication, The Angler Magazine, are monthly editions dedicated to fishing, boating,...