The Ottumwa Courier


April 20, 2013

Babe Winkelman

Think about fishing trips that could have been great, but certain little things happened to prevent you from filling the limit or getting that giant trophy to bite.

To make the most out of your time spent on the water, it's important to pay attention to the details. Even the tiniest details. So here are some tips that will help you enjoy more success this season...


How many times have you heard your buddy or the guy at the bait shop say "oh you should have been here yesterday!"? Seems like it never fails. But there's a good way to avoid this, and that's by keeping your finger on the pulse of what's happening in the lakes and rivers around your area.

Pay attention to local chatter. Ask questions among your fishing friends and at the bait shop. Believe me, the local tackle store WANTS to keep you informed because if a bite is on, that means they'll sell more bait!

Also, stay tuned to the fishing forums online to get the area reports for different lakes and species. Even secretive fishermen can find it hard to keep their mouths shut about a hot day/lake/bait that they've experienced.

When you hear about fish that have gone active, be prepared to get up and go. I know this can be more easily said than done - since people have schedules to keep and obligations to meet. But if you can remain fairly flexible about the exact day that you're going to hook up the boat and go, then you can improve your odds of being the guy who says "you should have been there yesterday."


Never underestimate a fish's ability to smell or taste. They do both quite well. Their sense of smell operates through two small holes that may look like nostrils but are called "nares." The nares open up into a chamber lined with sensory pads. Fish rely upon their sense of smell for two reasons: to detect food and danger. So, if an underwater smell is completely unnatural, they can and will stay clear of that area or go into a negative, cautious mood.

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