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How to detect a bite when fishing

May 18th 2014 15:07
One of the most basic aspects of fishing, and yet, one that is hardly ever mentioned is knowing when you have a fish on your hook--a bite.


If you're ripping a lure across the water fish have to hit it hard and fast. When you see a bobber go about a foot under the surface, you can pretty well bet a fish made it do that. But, what about the subtle bites you get?

How does one learn how to “feel a fish” on the end of your line? Unfortunately, it’s a conditioning thing and no amount of reading is going to take the place of experience so, you have to get out there and fish, fish, fish until you learn the good pulls from snags.


One of the best ways to get a feel for things is to start fishing in clear water where you can actually see what your lure is doing. Aside from the kick you'll get out of watching a fish bite, you'll see and learn how it feels as your lure goes through vegetation, gets hung up on rocks, scoots across a sandy bottom, or bumps a submerged stump.

That's not to say there's not some pointers to remember. Keep these points in mind and learning may be just a bit easier.

First off, I'm going to admit that I'm going to plagiarize someone here. When you think you might have a bite, it doesn't cost anything to check. That little tidbit has served me well over the years and it's a good place to start. In the beginning you may be checking nearly every cast but, as time goes on and you get the feel of things, you'll find yourself check less and less (unless you are getting a bite.)

Another invaluable tip is to know the weight of your lure. That sounds simple and something you may subconsciously do any time you tie on a new lure or hooks. However, it's probably going to feel different in the water and don't forget it's going to be bumping underwater obstacles and going through vegetation.


Another good move is to reel in the slack line and hold the lure still with a taut line before moving it again. If a fish has taken your bait but hasn't really pulled at the line, this may help you detect the strike. Often times, the fish will move against the current or move sideways and it's easy to detect a bite in these circumstances. Awareness like this can be a key to developing your sense of feel.

Another key goes along with what you just read. Watch your line. Subtle bites may not pull at the line but often result in a slight quiver or other movements of a taut line. When in doubt, check it out!

Lastly, (perhaps this should have been first) any time you feel unexpected tension, reel in and check it out. You may be snagged on rocks, a twig, or bring up a leaf but, you may haul in a fish too!




Remember to take the hooks outta yer pocket before ya sit down!

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