It all starts here.  Never overlook the simple things. Nothing else is nearly as important. For example, failing to tie a good knot is one of the most common of all mistakes in fishing. Early in the first year of my guiding career, one of the biggest muskies a guide client ever hooked was lost to knot failure. The pig-tailed curl at the line end was a dead giveaway. Needless to say, I made it a point to check all my client’s knots after that first year incident. By the way, the guy who lost that big fish claimed to have been fishing for muskies for over 40 years. He had a box full of lures and the best rods that money could buy, but he couldn’t even tie a good basic knot.  It cost him the fish of a lifetime. That’s the epitome of how important the simple basics are in this sport. Nothing else matters if you don’t pay attention to the basics.


Be prepared for a strike at any moment no matter what the situation is. A big fish is just as likely to strike early in the morning, when you’re fresh from a good night’s sleep and a big breakfast, as it is at the very end of the day, when you’re tired and hungry. The fish of a lifetime could show up on the very first spot you fish at the very beginning of your trip. Or, it could just as readily strike on the absolute last cast you make before putting the boat on the trailer. In the same breath, a lunker is apt to pounce on your bait moments after the reel is engaged, but just as many big fish smash a lure right at boatside. You have to be ready at all times.

Beth Bucher photo


Developing a solid routine often helps to stay organized, ready, and meticulous. What you’re trying to accomplish here is developing a pattern with everything you do so that as many factors are in your favor as possible. Going through simple steps at the beginning and end of each day to ready your boat and tackle for a day of fishing is one such example. Nothing kills a great day of fishing like being low on gas or battery power. Less obvious are possible problems with sonars and trolling motors on trips, but they do occur and, if you are not prepared, it can really put a damper on your mojo. I keep spares of just about everything such as favorite lures, extra rods and reels, sonars, transducers, and trolling motor props, just to name a few. In my truck storage, I even carry an extra trolling motor. I’d suggest you do the same.


Experience is the greatest teacher of all in the world of fishing.  One has to learn from each and every experience, good or bad, in order to grow as an angler. Time on the water combined with knowledge and hard work are the three things that eventually lead to fishing success. One should always try to glean as much knowledge from each fishing outing as he or she possibly can. These are the experiences that can make you a better angler, and help you catch more and bigger fish over time. But the key here is to learn from experiences and make adjustments in your game.

Good fishing opportunities are bound to come your way on any given trip, but so are poor ones. Take advantage of those rare opportunities by being as prepared as you can be. At the end of the day, these are the four things most likely to make the biggest difference in any fishing outing. Finally, always consider any time on the water to be a positive, no matter what the scorecard.

by Joe Bucher

Fishing with Joe Bucher Website

Facebook Page