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June 28, 2013

20 Ways To Catch More Fish

The best fishermen are consistently successful because they've learned to do all the little things right.

18. Remove a Hook from Your Hide

Very nice work. Plenty of snap on the initial strike. A good, quick pump of the rod to make the hook set more meaningful. Now, depending on how deeply you've sunk the barb into your own flesh, your choices are good, bad and worse. If the barb protrudes from your epidermal layer, removing the hook is a snip. Just cut the wire below the barb and back the hook out. If the barb is embedded but close to the skin surface, it's time to grin and (literally) bare it. Push the hook point the rest of the way out, cut it off behind the barb, and put it in reverse. A deeply embedded hook point requires a nifty bit of macram¿ff, line lashing, Newtonian action-reaction physics and a quick, courageous yank. It's not so bad. Really. Here's how.

First, double a two-foot length of fishing line (at least ten-pound test) and slip the loop around the midpoint of the bend in the hook. Hold the line ends between the thumb and forefinger. Now, with the free hand, press the hook eye down against the skin to keep from snagging tissue. Don't let the hook shank twist. Grasp the line sharply, line it all up nice and straight, breathe deep and yank. As unlikely as it might seem, this little trick really works well. 

-T. Edward Nickens

19. Take A Great Fish Photo

With catch-and-release being all the rage, taking great photos of your fish has become increasingly important in preserving memories of your catch. To take the best quality pictures possible, without buying fancy equipment, follow these easy tips.

Tip 1 Photograph on the boat - Shoot the fish while it's alive and colorful. Avoid back-at-the-dock shots with faded, stiff and gutted fish.

Tip 2 Tell the whole story - Include photos of the guide rigging the tackle, the sunrise over the ocean, the birds working over blitzes or the marks on the fishfinder. Photograph your buddy with a bent rod and then his fish coming aboard or being released. Always include the tackle, and never cut off the fish's tail.

Tip 3 Watch the background - Check for level horizons. Look around all four sides of your viewfinder for parts of other people or other distractions such as a rod seemingly protruding from the angler's head.

Tip 4 Avoid hard shadows - To lighten black shadows thrown by hats, fish or boat tops, set your camera to flash during bright conditions when it's not normally required. Or simply ask the anglers to stand in the sunlight and remove their caps.

Tip 5 Vary the fish and camera positions - A head-on shot of a big, toothy critter is exciting. Try lifting the fish two-thirds out of the water like it's being landed or released. Hold the camera vertically if the fish is held vertically and then zoom in or step closer to eliminate "dead space." 

-Tom Migdalski

20. Keep It Fresh

Seafood tlc begins the moment the fish is landed. If possible, shuttle the catch directly into an ice-filled cooler or fishbox and shut the lid. Letting it flop itself to death on deck is not recommended, as this will cause bruising of the meat not to mention the crew. Try to dispatch the fish quickly and get it on ice. Note that some fish, most notably tuna, should be "bled out" prior to icing to maintain peak flavor.

No matter what the species, the most important thing is to keep it cool. With a small or medium-size fish, placing it on a bed of ice (chipped is best, but cubed is okay) is ideal. A very large or long fish should be stored in an ice-filled, insulated fishbag if it won't fit in a fishbox. Keep the fish as flat and secure as possible, and do not place any heavy objects on top of it.

Once the fish has been filleted or steaked out on a clean surface, rinse it with salt water (fresh water contains chemicals that can taint the taste), place it in a clean plastic bag and keep it well chilled. The longer the meat is kept unrefrigerated or exposed to the air, the faster it will deteriorate. Obviously, this problem is compounded in hot weather.