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Post Column: Biggest tip for fishing newbies: go fish more

As I talk to more and more people about fishing, I encounter more and more people who enjoy fishing, but don’t seem to have the motivation to improve their skills. They aren’t catching many fish, which discourages them to “fish harder.”

Just as with any sport or activity, if one wants to become a better fisherman, he or she must invest a great deal of time practicing and experimenting. Actively fishing on a consistent basis is the most important aspect when it comes to catching more fish. The more you fish, the more you learn.

The basics involve casting accurately and efficiently and controlling the lure. These are the two most important keys to keep in mind when trying to haul in a big bass. The lure needs to be in what is called the “strike zone” — where the fish will notice the lure — for as long as possible.

After attention is gained, the bass will then decide whether or not to eat the lure. This is where lure control comes into play. The designs and technology of lures today are incredible. They look and act like real, living prey — if used effectively.

There are many different types of lures that vary in shape, size, color and material.

When beginning, I recommend learning how to use a small variety of baits instead of buying all of the top-of-the-line lures. These can get quite pricey and if they aren’t being used effectively and efficiently, it is just a waste of time and money.

Mastery of a few well-known techniques in the beginning learning stages of fishing is more beneficial than using the seemingly unlimited combination of oddball techniques. It’s a lot like a baseball pitcher; one must learn how to master the fastball and changeup before they learn to throw a knuckleball.

OK, so you’ve learned the basics, or have previous understanding of them, but you’re still having difficulty catching fish. In my experience, the mental side of fishing is just as important, if not more so, than the physical. The two things the beginning fisherman must have in order to obtain long-term success are patience and confidence.

For the beginning fisherman, these can be the most difficult aspects of the art. In the learning stages, catching fish isn’t always going to happen, which makes it tough to stay patient. It is something to learn while fishing, but if it can be obtained, the chances of catching fish goes up dramatically.

Along with patience, one must also have a high level of confidence. If you think fish won’t get caught, odds are ... fish won’t get caught. Being a confident fisherman enables the focus to be put on the basics. One of the biggest reasons for not catching fish is “sloppy” fishing.

Learning the basic skills of fishing and being confidently patient will result in catching more fish. This creates a cycle where catching more fish builds more confidence and more confidence leads to catching even more fish. When fish are being caught, the sport becomes highly enjoyable and in the end, enjoying fishing results in fishing more often.

This revolves back to the beginning, where becoming a better fisherman involves investing a great deal of time practicing and experimenting, and actively fishing on a consistent basis. The cycle is never-ending.

Ryan Dentscheff is a junior studying journalism, president of the Ohio University Anglers Organization and a Post columnist. Send your fishing questions to

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