By Ronnie Weston| January 17, 2012 at 8:43 PM CST - Updated June 26 at 7:50 AM
LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Experienced fishermen are adept at picking up tips here and there, little things that can improve their chances of success out on the water.
Here are some assorted tips gathered here and there by anglers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
* A small finish nail inserted in the body of a soft plastic lure will change the action of the lure. Try this without other weight on your rig. The lure will slowly sink just under the water's surface.
* What color spinner bait should you use? For starters, think light in daytime, dark at night. Light-colored spinner baits are white, chartreuse and yellow. Dark means black or purple. All sorts of variations are possible and may catch bass – blade colors can contrast with skirt colors and head colors.
* When pole fishing, keep the length of your line about the same as your pole's length. Too much line makes the rig harder to control when a fish is on the other end. Too short a line, and you can't reach some spots that may hold fish.
* Don't throw away plastic worms that have been damaged by a fish or from some other cause. Most times, the damage is near the front of the worm. Cut off the damaged portion, and you are left with a shorter worm, a six-inch worm becoming a four-inch worm – effective in many fishing situations.
* When you check over your fishing rods, run a Q-Tip around the inside of each guide. Tiny nicks may not be seen but are deadly for fraying fishing line. A nick will catch the cotton strands of a Q-Tip. Replace any nicked guides.
* A cocoa fiber doormat will be useful in your flatbottom fishing boat, mini-boat or canoe. It'll keep your feey out of water that often accumulates in the bottom of a boat, and it'll be a bit of insulation from cold water and thin aluminum or plastic. The mat is also heavy enough to keep from blowing out when the boat is trailered down a highway.
* A paddle bumping against the gunwale of an aluminum boat or canoe can be loud enough to spook fish. A length of old rubber or plastic garden hose, split down the middle and fastened to the gunwale, can silence these bumps.
* On a windy spring day, try fishing a bank into which the wind is blowing. Wind-driven water often pushes food fish and insects toward the bank, with feeding fish following down underneath.
* Hook sharpening is overlooked by most anglers except the professionals like tournament fishermen and fishing guides. A small whetstone should be in your boat or tackle box. Just a few short strokes will eliminate problems like burrs on hook tips cause by punching into something like an underwater snag.
* If you haven't been fishing for a while, spend a few moments before leaving home to spool new line on to your reel. If not, at least cut off the last several feet of old line, which may be worn, nicked and brittle. It may prevent a break and a lost fish.
* If you are pole fishing for crappie, bream or something else, try working two rigs when first starting out. Use one bait at one depth, another bait at a different depth until you locate the fish.
* Trout fishing tip from Gaston's White River Resort: The Smithwick Rogue is a good lure for larger fish in flowing water. It is most effective on the first and second rise of water normally during the early mornings to mid-afternoons. Cast the Rogue to your target, allow it to rest on the surface for a few seconds, then crank it down and pause, continue the retrieve with short sweeping strokes of your rod tip, repeat.
* When the fishing is slow, try slowing down. Many anglers, especially those using lures like spinner baits and crank baits, tend to work them too fast. Try slow retrieves. If you are bait fishing with minnows, worms or crickets, let them sit longer than usual. This may give a sluggish fish a little more time to get into action.