Over the years I have found that it helps to improve your fishing, whether it is a days fishing, match fishing or bivvying by organising yourself to get the best out of each session:-
These tips are not in any particular order, however,
1. Always keep your kit organised, tidy, clean and ready to go.
On returning home after your last trip ensure you replenish, repair or replace your tackle, gear and baits before they're packed away.
That way you have no last minute panics or hiccups before your next trip!
Remember the Boy Scouts motto = "Be prepared"?
Bait Preparation. Prepare your baits a few days before going fishing. Either Freeze it or chill it (in the fridge) in preparation. Doing these things will add to your confidence before your arrival on the bank.
3. Your Rig Box.
Make plenty of your rigs at home. That way you ensure that they are to your standard, which is much easier than making them bankside especially in wet or windy weather.
Doing this reduces the need for all your extra tackle and equipment that you unnecessarily carry around with you!
4. Minimal Tackle.
Do you go fishing with a mobile tackle shop? Why lug about lots of tackle that you are not likely to use? Just take the minimum kit that you need e.g rig boards, a maximum of 12 spare leads. Having loads of spare tackle doesn't make you a better angler. Use a small tackle box just big enough to hold your rigs - no more!
5. Forget about Work. While travelling to your venue, forget about work and get your mind into fishing - nothing else matters.
6. Check the Weather. Check the weather beforehand. Remember, wind from the East - Fishing is least; wind from the West - Fishing is best. A Northerly wind drops the temperature, and a southerly one raises the temperature. Get your mind thinking fishing. Build up a picture of where the fish may be and likely swim options. But keep it flexible as once on the bank you're likely to change your mind.
7. Methodology is the key. Always pack and unload the car in the same way. Even storing your tackle in the same way. This will form a pattern which becomes normal and makes things easier and will help you. That way you will know before you've left if you have something missing or left behind.
8. Keep track of what you've used. Keep a list of things that need topping up or need replacing as you use them.
9. Don't rush, take your time. It’s very important not to rush, take your time and get into a routine when tackling and baiting up. Taking your time generally means that you will be calmer and quieter on the bank. Why spook the fish around you unnecessarily?
10. Only ever use sharp hooks
Just because a hook has come out of a packet does not
necessarily mean that it is sharp.
They get knocked about in a packet and can quite so easily blunt the point of any hook. Check the effectiveness of a hook on your thumb nail, if it sticks it should be sharp, and do this regularly during a session. If it doesn't stick or you keep on losing fish, change it, or sharpen it. Both Lidl and Aldi once a year have cheap tackle and a pen like diamond hook sharpener; if you see one buy it and always keep you hooks honed with it.
11. If float fishing - plumb your swim. Learn how to plumb your swim. Doing it properly is not a five minute job. Check your depth then spend 15 minutes checking the depths around you, so that you get a mental picture of the bottom. You are seeking the dips in the bed, afterall food rolls downhill not up it. So you're seeking water, obstacles and bars which are all fish holding areas.
12. Does your rig behave properly?
If possible, check that your rig behaves as you expect it to. If float fishing, does your float sit properly and not to high out of the water?
13. Are you fishing with good or damaged line? Run the line through your finger tips, can you feel any nicks, abrasions, knots or irregularities in the line? If so either use fresh line or pull sufficient line off the reel until you have passed the damaged part.
It is always a good idea, when you've finished fishing to removed two rod-lengths of line off your reel, so that next time you go fishing you have undamaged line to fish with. Damaged line can lose you a fish, and crinkled line can spook your fish. So, good line next time, ok?
14. When Bivvying, organise your base.
As stated previously, organise your self. When bivvying or fishing under a brolly, lay out your gear the same way every time. That way you will get to know where everything is every time, day or night.
Doing this will help you become more efficient and calmer especially when fishing through the winter months or when you need to set up and pack up in the dark. Again, you should know where everything is and if something is missing.
15. Keep your Rig Box and tackle bags tidy and clean
sort through your tackle and rigs, as overtime excess stuff slips back in and you will find yourself taking more than you need.
Besides a clean tackle bag and rig box makes things safer and you can see what you should have or what is missing.
16. Separate kit and tackle into different bags or boxes. Have separate bags/boxes for different bits of kit. So, if you are only doing for a day, you can easily remove the brew kit or cooking kit and torch etc. or extra clothing that you may carry. Keeping like kit gathered together makes it easy if you don't need that kit with you. Like we've said previously, only take what you need.
17. At the start of your session. Set your clutch so that you can "just pull" line off your reel. If your clutch "just releases" line, excepting for damaged line you should never break your line when landing a fish. Do not adjust the clutch during your session. At the end of your session, completely release your clutch, by doing this your reel's clutch should not seize or bind and should last a long, long time.