Archive for the ‘Set Your Hook’ Category

Set Your Hook: New eBook on Trout Fishing


Are you looking to get started with trout fishing? Are you new to fishing or coming back to it after years? Then ‘Must-Know Trout Fishing Tricks, Tips, & Techniques’ will help you get started catching trout quickly and inexpensively.

This book is a compilation of the tried and tested tips, tricks, and techniques that will have you go from staring-at-the-angling-aisle-in-horror to trout-catcher faster than any other book. It has been compiled from years of hands-on fishing experience and numerous articles written for outdoor recreation blog.

What you won’t find in ‘Must-Know Trout Fishing Tricks, Tips, & Techniques’  book is a laundry list of expensive supplies and tackle. Fishing should be a family-friendly and a budget-friendly experience.

‘Must-Know Trout Fishing Tricks, Tips, & Techniques’  covers:

  • Basics of hooks, reels, and rods
  • Fish anatomy 101
  • Three common fishing knots and how to tie them
  • Guaranteed lure set-ups that trout can’t resist
  • Fishing in rocky lakes, streams, and trolling
  • How to clean trout once you’ve caught them
  • What to do when the trout just aren’t biting
  • And more!

This book is not intended to be the be-all, end-all guide to trout fishing but has been compiled from the best of the best tips to get you started.

Please note: ‘Must-Know Trout Fishing Tricks, Tips, & Techniques’ does not cover fly fishing.

Don’t wait. Download your copy today for Kindle and Nook!

Set Your Hook: Knots

How to Tie a Snell Knot

The Snell knot allows the leader to be directly tied to a baited hook. It was originally invented for use with eyeless hooks but it is still widely used today. It aligns the fishing line or leader with the shank of the hook.

The Snell knot requires wrapping a loop around the hook. When tightening the knot, hold the turns under your fingers to ensure they snug down neatly.

1. Run the line through the eye of the hook and down the shank. Form a loop behind the eye with the line against the hook shank.

Snell Knot Step 1

2. Pass the tag end around the line and shank and through the loop at least four times. Keep runs in neat row and pull tag end to tighten turns around shank.

Snell Knot Step 2

3. Work all of the turns down the shank to the eye by pulling on the standing line. Pull alternately on tag end and standing line until snug.

Snell Knot Step 3


Set Your Hook: Product Review

Product Review: Wonder Bar Odor Removing Bar

It’s happened to us all: we’re at the lake or campsite and we get into something stinky, and all of our sure-fire at-home methods for getting the smell off our hands are, well, at home. (And how many of us REALLY always bring a lemon fishing with us?)

Here’s the easiest way to get a smell out of your skin (if it’s from fish, PowerBait, or some other unmentionable thing you touched!)

Wonder bar
Use a Wonder Bar! These stainless steel “soaps” work with just plain water and, through enough rubbing, will remove odors.

I recommend the Wonder Bar because it floats. And if you’re kneeling at a lake and drop it… well, you want it back!

I carry my Wonder Bar in my purse and have for years. It’s hollow so it doesn’t weigh anything. And it’s perfect for not only smelly things out in the wilderness but also when you shake hands with someone who is wearing too much perfume or lotion. I’ve also used it when I got gas on my hands, after pulling weeds, or handling anything that I didn’t want to have my skin smell like.

The only thing I don’t like is that it can take a lot of rubbing. But the harder and faster you rub the quicker the smells go away.

Of course, you can always just rub your hands in a metal wash basin but um, gross! Especially a PUBLIC wash basin! And it’s very difficult to get between your fingers or the back of your hands.

And, there’s a big advantage of a Wonder Bar since it’s a bit difficult to rub a knee cap or elbow in the sink! Then, just keep rubbing until the smell is gone, rinsing with clean water between rubs or letting water run over the bar as you scrub.

(Links are affiliate links)

Set Your Hook: Drop-Shot Rig

Drop-Shot Rigs

A drop-shot rig is a hook tied directly to the line (from four inches to four-foot above the sinker) with a sinker also tied to the line, below the hook.

To create a Drop-Shot Rig:

Pass a look of monofilament line through the eye of the hook. The tail of the line (the part that is not attached to the reel) is where you will put your weight.

Tie a Palomar knot to secure the hook and leave the tag end (the tail of the line that is not attached to the reel) about four or five feet long. Now take the tag end and go back through the hook eye from the point side toward the back. When you hang the weight, the hook will be at a 90-degree angle to the line with the hook point up.

Last is the weight and how far up the line the hook should be. Here’s where you’ll have to decide based on how high above the hump or sunken island the fish are holding. You’ll just have to experiment to see what the fish want, but 18″ to 24″ is a good place to start.

Set Your Hook: Knots

How to Tie a Palomar Knot

The Palomar knot is used for joining your fishing line to the fish hook. This can be used with single or treble hooks. The Palomar knot is easy to tie correctly, and consistently the strongest knot known to hold terminal (end of line) tackle.

1. Double about 4″ of line and pass the loop through the eye of fishing hook.

2. Let the fishing hook hang loose, and tie an overhand knot in the doubled line. Avoid twisting the lines and do NOT tighten the knot.

3. Pull the loop end of the line far enough to pass it over the hook, swivel or lure. Make sure the loop passes completely over the attachment.

4. Pull both the tag end and the standing line until the knot is tightened. Clip off the tag end of the fishing line.

Set Your Hook: Trout

Trout Freezing Tips

Trout is a very delicate-fleshed fish. (It puts up a great fight on my Eagle Claw Feather-lite pole!)

If you can’t eat it right away, then be sure to get it ready for later. Clean the fish as you normally do. You might want to de-scale and cut off the head as well, even if you don’t normally do that.

After the fish is cleaned, make sure you pat it dry. Wrap no more than three good-sized trout in a freezer zipper bag. Squeeze out all the air in the bag before sealing it. Then, place the sealed bag into another freezer bag, squeeze out the air, and seal. Freeze.

Trout don’t last long in the freezer so eat them soon!


Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you eat your catch right away or freeze it for later?



Set Your Hook: Aquatic Hitchhikers

Hitchhikers Guide to Boating

ESP Boss & The Queen Mother got back (today!) from their “big adventure” through Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Grand Tetons. While they had planned to kayak they said there wasn’t enough time.

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

One thing they told me though was that a lot of the areas were cracking down on aquatic hitchhikers. There were even checkpoints where water craft were examined for critters that shouldn’t be transported.

Knowing which waters contain nuisance hitchhikers is not as important as following these steps every time you leave any lake, stream or coastal area.

Before leaving any body of water, it is important to examine all your equipment, boats, trailers, clothing, boots, buckets etc and remove all visible mud, plants, fish or animals. Remove and leave them at the site you visited. The larvae (immature form) of an animal can be so tiny that you cannot see it. However, it can live in mud, dirt, sand, and on plant fragments. Do not transport any potential hitchhiker, even back to your home.

Eliminate water from all equipment before transporting anywhere. Much of the recreational equipment used in water contains many spots where water can collect and potentially harbor these aquatic hitchhikers. Then clean and dry anything that came in contact with the water, including boats, trailers, equipment, dogs, boots, clothing, etc. Plus, dry your equipment. If possible, allow for 5 days of drying time before entering new waters.

Do not release or put plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water. This includes live bait, if you’re permitted to fish with it in the area. (Check your state’s regulations; many lakes in Arizona prohibit the use of live baitfish.)

Also, do not release plants, fish or animals into storm drains, because most storm drains lead to water bodies or wetlands. This is an important prevention step, because many plants and animals can survive even when they appear to be dead.

For more information, visit

Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you have any issues with aquatic hitchhikers in your area?
  • What steps do you take to keep your equipment clean?

Set Your Hook: Collecting Lures

Collecting Antique Fishing Lures


Antique Fishing Lure

I got to thinking this week about what “else” can you do that is related to fishing, but isn’t fishing itself. With a little thinking (and some help from Google) I stumbled upon the hobby of collecting antique lures.

The first step is to decide what type of collection you’re interested in assembling. If you want nothing but very-rare, excellent condition lures, then my first advice:

Get to a library!

Find some books about lure collecting and then go buy the books that you like the best.

But, if you’re like me, collecting is more about the act of collecting than in the dollar value of the item. It’s the stories behind the lures and not the value when I’d sell them. (Can you tell I’m thinking about taking this up as a hobby?!)

Here is some of the general knowledge I discovered about collecting antique lures:

Most of the really excellent collector material falls in the 1900 to 1940 era. Lures made after 1940 are “old”, but they are not antiques relatively speaking. Just because your father used them doesn’t make them “antiques” or valuable. The real quality material was made in this country prior to 1940.

The really collectable lures are made of wood or metal. The golden era of tackle is that time frame when Heddon, Shakespeare, Pflueger and the smaller miscellaneous companies were competing to produce “quality” lures which were hand painted and produced with glass eyes and wood bodies.

Grading lures for quality and value is subjective. Visual values vary considerably from person to person. A collector should have a set of photos of new condition lures to reference when he finds a lure that might be added to the collection.

Some grading scale pointers:

Excellent lure means there are no hook pointers in the paint, absolutely no hook scrapes, no paint off the belly weight, no paint chips and maybe only a very, very minor varnish flake. The paint is shiny, but there may be age related crazing or minor fracture cracks in the varnish or paint.

Excellent minus allows for some minor varnish defects, but no paint loss other than maybe very, very minor chips at the tail or belly weight, and no hook drags. Hooks should be consistent with the paint finish.

Excellent plus means almost perfect.

Mint means perfect and untouched. (In coins, this means un-circulated. In lures, it would mean that the lure had never been used for fishing.)

If a lure has been touched up in any way or manner, some collectors will feel that it is no longer collectible. You’ll need to decide on your own what you think about that.

In the end, there are no hard and fast rules on grading, so you have to set your standards and live with them. If the bait meets your standards, the collect it!

You’ll also need to decide on your own what type of collector you’ll be: in it for the value or in it for the “fish tale.”

Fishing lure collecting resources:

Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you collect anything?
  • What do you think about collecting antique lures?

Set Your Hook: Casting

Casting for Beginners

I was thinking of a fishing tip for this week’s post when I remembered a GREAT casting illustration I had saved to my computer from

As a recovering member of the I-can’t-cast-to-save-my-life club I loved the illustration for how to cast.

How to cast

For beginning anglers, I recommend using a push button spin-cast reel. Learn about types of freshwater reels. So, assuming this is the type of reel you have, let’s get started.

  1. Place your thumb on the push-button and hold it in.
  2. Still holding in the button, bend your elbow and point the rod tip behind you. Keep your elbow near your side.
  3. Release the button as you whip or cast the rod forward.

If only it were that easy! When I was learning how to cast, ESP Boss got the idea of putting a bobber on the end for weight and having me cast in camp. After “catching” one ponderosa pine tree – somewhere around 25 feet up the trunk – we decided that it was best for me to practice casting on the lake where there were fewer things for me to wrap my line around!

The problem with reading how-to-cast instructions is that you don’t get to DO it! When I was teaching CodeWolf how to cast, I walked him through the above 3 steps but he kept shooting the tackle into the lake and breaking the line.

I finally figured it out: he’s a big strong guy; we were using 4 lbs test!

So when you’re “whipping” the rod forward, do it gently. It’s better to cast too close and try again than to have the line break and the tackle end up at the bottom the lake!

Readers Weigh In:

  • How do you teach casting?
  • Any sure-fire tips to teach somebody how to cast?

Set Your Hook: Bluegill

Catch Those Bluegill!

Bluegill are a tasty pan fish that are a hoot to catch for kids and adults alike. When I was up at White Horse Lake a few weeks ago, they were the ONLY thing that was biting!

And for some reason, bluegill are the stereotypical “my first fish”. I can’t explain it, but I’ve seen it time and time again!



The best bluegill fishing usually occurs in lakes and ponds where largemouth bass are so abundant that the bass growth rate has slowed. That’s not good for bass fishing, but the sheer number of bass makes for great bluegill fishing. Small bass in the 8- to 10-inch range will prey on the small bluegills.

This limits competition for food, thus allowing the surviving bluegills to feed and grow to quality sizes. If fisheries biologists have imposed a bass slot limit on a lake to protect the bass in the 12- to 15-inch range, it means the water has an abundance of small bass that feed on bluegills.

However, many lakes here in Northern Arizona have fishable populations of both trout and bluegill. The only issue with our put-and-take lakes? The bluegill don’t get very big!

Do you know where to go for either bass or bluegill? has your answers!


Bluegill do not grow to huge sizes, so select your rod and reel accordingly. An ultra-light rod and reel with light line will allow you to feel the bluegill’s bite more effectively and you will catch more fish. In clear water, light line is less likely to be detected by fish. Line weights from 2- to 6-lbs test work best.

Larger bluegills can be spooked by heavier line, but most importantly, light line makes it easier to cast smaller baits. If possible, do not use sinkers. However, it may be necessary to use a small split shot or slip weight to make a long cast. Try a 1/64-ounce or 1/32-ounce worm weight above a small bead attached to the line about 10 inches above the bait. If you choose to use a bobber, make it the smallest you can find. Strike indicators, like those used by fly fishermen, are best.

Hook sizes from #6 to #10 are most effective. Hooks with long shanks will allow you to more easily remove them from the bluegill’s tiny mouth and thin wire hooks work best for holding small baits.

Live bait works especially well for bluegill. The most common baits are worms and night crawlers. The key is to use only a piece of a worm – just enough to cover the hook (keeping it small!) Other productive baits include crickets, grasshoppers, red wrigglers, and meal worms. Artificial lures also work well for bluegill. Some of the best lures are black jigs (1/32 ounce and smaller) and tiny spinners.

Personally, I use corn to catch bluegill, but regardless of what bait you like, it will need to be small if you want to catch a lot of bluegill.

Bluegill don’t like to chase their food, so a slow or almost motionless presentation is often best. A small bait hanging below a bobber is usually more than a bluegill can resist. Be sure to use a small bobber – just big enough to float your bait. If your bobber is too large, the bluegill will feel the resistance and spit out the bait. Setting your bobber from 1 to 3 feet deep will usually do the trick, but if fish are deeper you will need to fish deeper. Slip bobbers are a must for the serious bluegill angler, because they allow you to fish at any depth.

At the end of the day, use what works best for you! Good luck and happy fishing. Let me know how it goes!

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