How to Detect Bites While Fishing

How to Detect Bites While Fishing

What is it? Why should you use it? Types of tshirt

If you have been fishing for long enough, you know that learning to detect bites is an important skill to develop. Unless you see the fish do a topwater bite (that is, when it actually bites on a bait or lure on the surface), a tug on the line can mean any one of a number of things: a snag, a twig, or a big catch. Some fish bite slowly, others quickly. Some strike on a lure, then spit it out a few seconds later. And sometimes, even small fish like trout deliver a bite powerful enough to break lighter fishing lines.


So, how can you tell if a fish has taken your bait or lure? This guide will help you learn what to look for.


Use your senses.

When we’re out on the water, many of us find our minds drifting. We’re feeling the breeze, watching the water, and enjoying nature. Because we feel relaxed and comfortable, sometimes we fail to pay close attention to our fishing. Sadly, that causes us to miss the signs that a fish is at the other end of the line.


The most important thing to remember is to keep our senses alert during fishing, particularly our sense of touch and sight.

Feel for a pull on the line.


A tug or a pull is one of the signs of a bite, but it can also mean that your bait or lure is being dragged across the bottom of the water. What is the difference between these two? Often, a tug or pull from a fish is quite sharp, and you can feel it distinctly against your hand while you’re holding the rod.


Sometimes you can also feel your bait or lure become suddenly heavy, which is again a sign of a bite. Sometimes, these changes are obvious, like when a fish strikes your lure from the opposite direction. But they can also be subtle, so you have to focus.


Some anglers also like to take a bit of fishing line through their finger, sort of as a makeshift bite indicator, to sense tugs and pulls. Of course, this can be quite tedious if you’re fishing for hours and there aren’t too many fish biting.


Look at the rod and line.


Visual cues are just as important in detecting bites as sound. Keep your eyes peeled for lines that suddenly go slack, or start moving in an erratic pattern. If it moves in a consistent pattern, however, it’s probably not a fish.


Meanwhile, if the rod tip starts twitching and moving, it can also be a sign of a bite. Remember, though, not all rods are created equal. Some of the lighter ones have more flexible and sensitive tips, which can detect bites more easily than heavier and more rigid rods.


Consider using a bite indicator.


A bite indicator is a device that alerts you of a fish bite with a sound or movement. It can be as simple as the finger on the fishing line mentioned earlier, or as complex as an electronic bite indicator with an alarm that goes off, or an LED bulb that lights up once a fish is on your line.


For instance, the FREETOO Best Sensitive Electronic Fishing Bite Alarm Indicator, a sound and light alarm device that clips on to the rod, claims to be very sensitive when the fish swallows the bait and won’t damage your line. Because of both the sound and light indicators, it can be used both in the daytime and at night.



There are lots of other electronic bite indicators in the market. But if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a device you can also choose to go the DIY route. Anything from bells to bulldog clips, a clothespin, a champagne cork with a hook, and a plastic water bottle will work as bite indicators.


Check out these videos of anglers sharing their DIY/handmade/homemade bite indicators:


The takeaway


It’s not always easy to know when a fish has bitten your lure or bait. Even the most seasoned anglers can miss the earliest signs of a bite or get disappointed by false alarms. But detecting bites is one of the things you'll surely get better at with more practice and time out in the water. Cues such as a feel or pull on the line or a moving rod tip can be a great help to those who don’t want to miss a fish, and so can a bite indicator, whether it’s a handmade or an electronic one.



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