So you've been fishing for a few hours. You’re watching the sun set and drinking a cold beer. But the only thing you’ve caught is a couple of small fish you threw back into the water. Finally, you ask yourself: Why am I not catching fish?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Anglers of all levels, from beginner to pro, have had days like these. And yes, it can be incredibly annoying, but it's probably also something you can fix.
In this article, we’ll talk about four reasons why you’re not catching fish and give some tips that can help you get more bites next time.
You’re spending too much time in the wrong spot.
Fishing, they say, is a game of patience. But sometimes, you’re unsuccessful at fishing not because you lack patience but because you have too much of it. If you haven't caught any fish in a certain spot for a while, it's likely the wrong spot, and you need to move. Try to fish at different spots in the area. If no fish bite for around 20 to 30 minutes, move to a new corner. You’re likely to be more successful moving a lot instead of sticking it out in one spot all day.
You’re fishing at the wrong time.
It’s possible you’re not catching fish because it’s the wrong time. Many factors affect fish activity throughout the day, from sunlight to water temperature to weather, and so on. In general, many fish species are more active in the early morning and late evening. But, there are some exceptions. Some species, like bass, panfish, and trout, for example, are active during midday. So don’t write off a fishing spot as a bad one just because you didn’t catch fish at a certain time. Try it again at some other time and see if you have better luck.
And it’s not just the time of the day that matters, but also the time of the year. Some species, like trout, are available year-round, although spring is generally believed to be the best time to go fishing for them, because that’s when they feed in more spots and for longer periods of time. For mahi-mahi, meanwhile, the best time is from April to September in the North Atlantic and from April to October in the South.
If you're interested in season-specific fishing tips, be sure to check out our tips for fishing during the fall. Also, don't miss our spring fishing checklist: what to bring before hitting the water in spring.
You’re using the wrong bait or lure.
You want to figure out what the fish like to eat in your fishing spot. Some anglers use the phrase "match the hatch," which means choosing the bugs or worms that fish naturally eat to get them to bite. Change the size or color of your bait if you're not catching fish. You might be using a lure that is too big or bait that is too brightly colored. Be willing to try things out and learn from your mistakes. Even if you caught fish with a certain lure or bait in the past, that doesn't mean it will work the exact same way on your next fishing trip.
You came unprepared.
You won’t be the first person to fish at a new fishing spot. Many anglers would have been there before you. What’s more, a good number of them likely logged their catches and even wrote down tips to help other anglers.
These days, most of the information you need to know about fishing spots can be found on social media groups, online forums, blogs, or local fishing reports, which you should definitely check before you go. These resources can tell you not only what to do but also what not to do, which is just as important to your success. You can ask the people at your local bait shop as well. They probably know where the fish are biting and when the best times are to fish in the local fishing spots.
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Hopefully, knowing some of the reasons why fish aren’t biting on some days and what you can do to improve your odds can lessen your frustration. Experiment, practice, and keep an open mind.
Don't miss our article: Fishing Near Me: How To Discover and Navigate The Perfect Local Fishing Spots!