By Paul Malm
How many times have you arrived at a favorite fishing hole and seen active fish in front of you, or,.. have spotted a big fish right away? You hurry to drop your gear, get rigged up as fast as you can, and start to cast….but by the time you get ready,…the fish seem to have disappeared again. Too late… Shucks!! But…If you get your pre-attack figured out…this can be a problem of the past!
Your pre-attack plan is something that you take care of before you even leave home. Almost every time you go out fishing….you know what kind of fish you are after….which makes getting ready pretty easy! This can save precious time when you get to your spot, ..and can get you better results! Those few minutes of preparation can make the day much more successful.
Before you load up your gear, take the time to check everything out and get it ready for fast action. Start with your rods and reels. Make sure your line is in good shape…it only takes a few seconds. I have seen too many people lose too many fish because of this. Nicks and cuts in the line causes weak spots that will break with pressure. Braided lines will last much longer than monofilament lines, but still need to be checked regularly for wear. Once you know the line is good,..get them rigged up with your favorite lures. For instance…if I am going bass fishing…I will rig up three or four rods ahead of time. There will be a spinner bait on one rig, then a plastic worm rigged on another, a topwater next, and a crankbait on another! That gets a variety of effective lures ready for immediate use upon arrival at the spot. This eliminates any wasted time and can get you on fish right away! If one isn’t working…just grab another rig and start casting again. No time lost on swapping lures and tying knots.
The same goes for small fish, or the big ones. When out for pike or musky, I will have several rigs ready to go. Do you need steel leaders for pike and musky?….YES!! You don’t want to lose the fish of a lifetime because you forgot that you are fishing for a critter with very big, very sharp teeth. Many hearts have been broken over this simple oversight. Tie them on before you go! On my spinning outfits, there will be one rigged up with a favorite spoon, and another rigged up with a smaller bucktail. Then, on the baitcasters, there will be a bigger swimbait rigged on one, then another with a large bucktail or large canoe spoon, and maybe another with a large crankbait or a Bulldawg on. Sometimes the lure selection will be determined by weather conditions and water levels. You don’t want to lose a $20 lure because it is too heavy for the shallow water you are casting. This is something that can be determined ahead of time, too. It is pretty easy to get on the computer and check these variables for where you are going. The info available these days is amazing if you check into it.
Now that you have the rods and reels ready to go,….it is time to get the tackle box ready ahead of time, too. Pre-rig several swimbaits, so you can just swap out for another. This goes for many of the plastic baits we use today…twister tails, plastic worms, etc. Also have a proper selection of your other favorite baits ready for swapping out. This will save a lot of time if the fish are being picky and don’t like your first offerings. Instead of floundering around with loose tackle, and trying to figure out what to use….you already have everything ready to go, and it takes mere seconds to make the change…instead of precious minutes. I cannot explain enough what a huge difference these little details can make for a successful day out.
Just as a “for example”….and this has actually happened many times..….this last Tuesday, I hit the river from shore to do a little casting for the big toothy critters. As I was approaching my spot, I could see a large pike just on the shoreline. I immediately dropped everything except one rig with a spoon on it and started casting right away. On my second cast…the fish hit!! It was a 14 pounder!! I had not been there for five minutes!! Without the pre-attack…that would not have happened.
The pre-attack works for all fish you are after. If you fish for panfish, bass, walleye, pike, musky, catfish, or even if you are out to just catch chubs….be ready for the action before you get there!! Even when out fishing for chubs to use as bait for bigger fish, there will be two smaller rods and reels rigged strictly for getting the chubs. Again…no wasted time switching gear! In the case of using live bait rigs, it is still the same. Of course…you don’t put the live bait on two hours before you leave for your spot. That’s just silly! Lol. But….Get your rods and reels ready to go before you hit the water. Rig with sinkers and proper hooks, maybe even a bobber,.. beforehand. It only takes a second to put the live bait on the hook,..but if you are not pre-rigged…again…lost time and possibly lost fish!
I plan every trip ahead of time. Planning will start as soon as a couple days ahead in some cases, just to make sure all is in order. Not only does this get your gear prepared,..it helps to prepare you mentally for what is about to happen. This is the kind of stuff that will make you a sharper fisherman. I cannot tell you how many times that we have gotten to a spot, and there will be fish right in front of us. If we were not ready for those circumstances, there would be many large fish that would not have been caught! So… get your pre-attack on before you hit the water, and find out what a difference it can make! Good luck and good fishing