Dave Duwe Fishing Guide

How To Become A Better Angler

Success is Simple

Thoughts on how to become a better Angler.

By Dave Duwe

No fish have been caught while sitting on the couch.  Success happens when you make the effort!  This can mean getting up early, staying up late or being willing  to fish in any weather conditions, though there might be a huge cold front or strong winds, there is usually something biting somewhere.

The most important characteristics for any good angler are confidence and a willingness to put the time in on the water.  The more time you spend the more experiences you have to draw upon when fishing is tough.  I understand that certain conditions make for a better bite, like low pressure and low light conditions, but I expect to catch fish every time I hit the lake.  It may take hours to find the biting fish, but if you give up you have no chance of catching anything.  I find the challenge of figuring out what the fish are doing is part of the fun.  Always expecting to catch fish is the key to confidence.

Watching people out on the lake I see a lot of mistakes that hinder success.  For me boat positioning is a huge factor in catching fish.  The new trolling motors with “spot lock” take the days of the heavy anchor a thing of the past.  Using a fish locator to find the fish and the trolling motor to keep you on top of them in any wind conditions certainly sets you up for a good day fishing.

When you are fishing docks and piers, you want to fish into the wind for better boat control.  Floating with the wind will make you fish too fast missing opportunities as you drift past the ideal structures.  When fishing in wind, it is essential to leave your outboard a little in the water to act as a rudder.  Having it fully out of the water will make the transom of the boat swing around.  When I catch a fish, I stop and try to catch all the fish on the particular structure before moving away from it.  Leaving active fish to search for more active fish seldom works.

My boat is filled with lures and tackle, but sometimes artificial baits just don’t work as well as live baits.  I will bring a selection of  bait; chubs, worms, nightcrawlers, etc.  I have caught everything on a nightcrawler from muskies to carp and everything in between.  When artificial just isn’t producing, don’t hesitate to switch to a live presentation.

Most often simple is the way to go in terms of presentation.  Use a single hook, I like a Kahle hook, and a round split shot.  The deeper the water, the heavier the split shot you need.  You want to be on or near bottom.  A lot of the fish will strike as the worm falls, always be watching for line twitches or movement.  I prefer to back hook the nightcrawler at the tip which helps to eliminate line twisting.

Pay close attention to structure, whether it’s a weed line, a point, or a transition from soft to hard bottom.  Your fish finder is an essential tool for this. Graphs have come a long way since the old paper maps. Nowadays, the graphs are so advanced it can pinpoint an individual fish.  I typically will not fish until I see fish on my screen.

Every lake has it’s own uniqueness so don’t be afraid to fish outside your comfort zone.  For example, one of the lakes I fish has a fall bluegill bite in forty to fifty feet of water.  The fish will suspend ten feet down in the water column in the main lake basin.

My goal is to always catch something. Do not pigeonhole yourself into a species. Everybody wants to catch big fish but some days they can be elusive.   When the bass aren’t biting switch to trying for northern pike or crappies.  I’d rather catch any fish than go home empty handed when the species I went out for didn’t want to participate.

Play nice on the water! If you see someone catching fish, do not crowd them. Give them their space to enjoy their outing. Now, the next day or some other time, make sure you check out that spot!  I’ve found some great spots watching others have success.

With some perseverance, every time out you should see some improvement in your abilities.  Just don’t get set in your ways, make sure you are open to new methods, spots and species.

For guide trips, Dave Duwe can be contacted at 262-728-8063. He specializes in the lakes of Southeastern Wisconsin.

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