Be Prepared For Fishing Success

Author: Joel DeBoer | Posted: 08/13/2007

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Steve Hawley poses with guide Joel DeBoer and his big pike - being prepared made all the difference!
Steve Hawley poses with guide Joel DeBoer and his big pike - being prepared made all the difference!

What if I could tell you a “secret” that would guarantee to consistently increase both the size and quantity of fish you catch each time out? In fact, this “secret” is a mere two words long. You’re shaking your head now, maybe even chuckling to yourself; after all, there’s no such thing right? Wrong. It’s not just the motto of the Boy Scouts, “be prepared” is the motto of the successful angler as well.


Being prepared takes on a variety of meanings when it comes to fishing. Being mentally prepared is but one aspect. Just as a linebacker reviews his assignments in different defensive schemes prior to the big game, so too is having a game plan ready prior to launching the boat. Lake maps, articles, and the like are important tools to being mentally prepared. Spending time “studying” during your time off of the water will aid in your growth as an angler by exposing you to a variety of new spots, tactics, and techniques. Success on the water is the result of being efficient; being efficient is a result of being prepared. If you show up to the boat landing having no idea of what species you intend to pursue or where on the lake you plan on fishing, you’re not going to be maximizing your fishing time.


Planning ahead will also help ensure you have the correct gear with you for your foray into the outdoors. Nothing is more frustrating than realizing that you’ve left a particular tackle box, net, or fishing rod back in the garage, miles from where you now need it. I’m not saying you need to have your entire day scripted, merely have made and verified a mental checklist before leaving, and have a plan of attack for when it comes time to start casting.


Physical preparation is perhaps one of the most critical elements of fishing. All the planning and preparation in the world is a moot point if you do not have the correct gear to perform the job come game time. Do yourself a favor and purchase quality gear. That doesn’t mean that expensive is always better; merely, be aware of the brand you are purchasing and don’t be hesitant to ask other anglers about the quality or reputation of a product. Buying the “cheap stuff” to save a few dollars might work with toilet paper or Uncle Jimmy’s Christmas gift, but it does not work with fishing tackle. Below are 3 things you can do to be physically prepared for this fishing season:

Change your line, change your luck: It never ceases to amaze me how many anglers I come across who, in an attempt to save a few bucks, do not change their line. The old saying, “a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link” has never been more true than here. Fighting the biggest fish of your life is no time to discover that your line is frayed, nicked, or no longer as strong as it once was. Spool up at the beginning of each season with new premium line such as those manufactured by Berkley or Stren. If you spend a great deal of time on the water, change your line again mid-season. It’s also important that while fishing, you occasionally inspect the first several feet of your line for nicks or frays; should you find one, immediately cut and re-tie your bait, making sure to dispose of any line properly.


Sharpen those hooks: Purchasing and using quality hooks is as important as your fishing line. Hooks such as the line-up from Mustad offer a wide range of styles and colors to cater to your needs. Not only are quality fishhooks important for the strength and durability, but also for their ability to maintain that all-important needle-sharp point. While many of the hooks on the market today come rather sharp right out of the package, it is always a good idea to run a file quickly along any hook surface before using it. A quality file from Gander Mountain will run you less than the cost of most crankbaits. Files are invaluable tools that all too many anglers seldom or never use. It doesn’t matter if you fish muskies or bluegills, sharp hooks will aid in hooking and holding more fish, and isn’t that the point (no pun intended!).


Care for your boat: A boat needs to do more than float: the engine needs to start, electronics and trolling motors need to function, and lights and accessories need to turn on and off. Replacing spark plugs, fuses, and batteries is a task that cannot be ignored. Make sure you are using the recommended plugs, oils, mixtures, and the like; not only will this increase performance, but keep warranties in tact as well. A top-of-the-line battery such as an Optima Bluetop is more vibration resistant, spill proof, and will last twice as long. This simply means that you’ll be able to rely on the power your boat requires to turn over the motor as well as run its accessories, each time out. A boat, like any automobile, needs regular maintenance. If you’re unable to do the yearly service at the beginning and end of the open-water season, find a reputable dealership that does. Taking care of business off the water will lead to a much more enjoyable and productive time on it.

About The Author: Joel DeBoer

Company: Wisconsin Angling Adventures

Area Reporting: Central and Northern Wisconsin

Bio: Greetings and welcome to the Northwoods! My name is Joel DeBoer; I grew up fishing the waters of Central and Northern Wisconsin and enjoying the beauty of Wisconsin’s outdoors - I can guarantee you will enjoy them as well! As owner of Wisconsin Angling Adventures, I'll work hard to keep you on the fish and show you a good time out on the water! Through countless days and nights on the water, I have worked hard to uncover local "hotspots" while prefecting the techniques necessary to produce trophy fish from them. I have been an active member of Muskies Inc. and Bill’s Musky Club, and am responsible for numerous awards for muskies caught and released by my clients as well as myself. In addition to guiding, I am an active musky tournament fisherman, having multiple Top 10 finishes. Not only do I fish tournaments for muskies, but a variety of local tournaments for walleyes and bass. I am active on the internet - providing articles and fishing reports to over 15 different web sites, in addition to doing web-radio shows. I am a published outdoor author and educator, including my weekly column, "The Guides Corner" in the Everest Herald. I specialize in multi-media presentations and seminars on the vast aspects of musky fishing. Please feel free to email me, at ANY time. In addition, take an opportunity to visit my bio pages at the St. Croix Rod or VMC Hooks Pro-Staff pages as a further reference. I am thankful to the wonderful companies I am privileged to work with promotionally: Bait Rigs * DeLONG Lures * Ducktail Lures * Dunwright Tackle * Frabill * Mepps * Mister Twister * Mercury * Optima Batteries * Pure Fishing (Abu Garcia, Berkley, Stren) * Roberts Outdoors * St. Croix * VMC Hooks

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports and Articles by Fishing Guide Joel DeBoer