Sportfishing Quiz

Expand your knowledge of fishing tips and tricks by taking our sportfishing quiz.

July 28, 2018

Successful fishing requires a wide array of separate skills. How many of these do you know well enough to incorporate them into your fishing without thinking about it?

1. You are rigging a 30-pound conventional reel for offshore trolling duty and want to double the line before attaching the leader. Which would be the best knot to use for making the double line connection?
A. Offshore knot
B. Spider hitch
C. Bimini twist
D. Surgeon’s end loop

Sportfishing Quiz
Answer: C. The Bimini twist is the best choice for doubling line in big game applications. Tied correctly, it provides 100 percent of the stated breaking strength of the line and acts as a shock absorber for game fish that are prone to jump, like marlin, sailfish and tarpon. The Bimini twist may seem difficult at first, but with a little practice this resilient knot can be tied quickly and easily. Dave Lear

2. While drift fishing near-coastal waters, a large school of bait starts swimming towards the boat. You can obviously see the school is being harassed by larger fish just below the surface. To trigger a strike, you should:
A. Cast your bait (or lure) way out in front of the bait school in the direction it is swimming and wait.
B. Cast into the middle of the bait school.
C. Tie on a sinker to place your bait on the bottom.
D. Cast the bait to the trailing edge or side of the school and use a slow or erratic retrieve.

Sportfishing Quiz
Answer: D. Schools of bait fish swim in compact formations to make it harder for predators to isolate individual fish. Hooked baits or lures trailing just behind or slightly off the side of the school mimic injured bait and are more likely to be eaten by the pursuing game fish. Dave Lear

3. Anglers are switching to circle hooks when using bait because of improved catch rates and conservation benefits. Which of the following correctly describes how to properly set a circle hook?
A. When you feel a strike, lean back and forcefully set the hook by twitching the rod tip several times.
B. Place the rod tip down into the water and set the hook by swishing the tip in a Figure 8 pat-tern.
C. Lock the reel drag down as tight as possible and place the rod in a rod holder.
D. When the fish begins taking drag pause briefly (count up to 10), slowly raise the rod tip and then reel steadily until the line comes tight. Afterwards, fight the fish in a normal manner.

Sportfishing Quiz
Answer: D. Circle hooks work by turning within the fish’s mouth and embedding ideally into the jaw hinge. For that process to happen you have to allow enough time for the fish to swallow the bait and let it turn inside its mouth. However, for circle hooks to be effective, the hook gap size should match the size of the bait. In other words, big baits require bigger hooks with larger gaps between the point and curved shank. Dave Lear

4. You are anchored over structure, fishing natural baits above the bottom and your line keeps getting cut off. What should you do?
A. Add a short trace of wire leader to your terminal tackle.
B. Pull the anchor and start trolling.
C. Add a stinger hook to the tail or body section of the bait.
D. Tie on a larger hook.

Sportfishing Quiz
Answer: A or C. Several toothy game fish, such as mackerel and barracuda, strike first by chomping off the bait’s tail before they circle back to devour the rest. Adding a short wire trace to the hook eye (always go with lightest possible wire to avoid detection) or a secondary “stinger” single or treble hook to your rig will reduce cut-offs and increase the number of solid hook sets. Dave Lear

5. Which of the following correctly describes how to “wire” or leader a billfish or tuna?
A. Raise your arms straight up, holding the leader above your head and pull on it using a hand over hand motion with the thumbs pointing back towards your body.
B. While holding the leader tight with one gloved hand, lay the slack portion across the up-ward-facing palm of the other hand. Make a couple of overhand wraps by rotating that hand in a clockwise motion, lifting and pulling at the same time.
C. Wrap the leader tightly around one arm and walk to the other side of the cockpit to bring the fish alongside the boat.
D. Grab the leader with your non-dominant hand and pull as you wrap the leader counter-clockwise around your palm.


Answer: B. If not done properly, wiring big fish can be very dangerous. Always keep your bal-ance by spreading your feet apart and don’t pull while leaning over the boat’s covering boards. Instead, slowly straighten your back and lean back slightly while keeping your elbows tucked in close to your chest as you pull the leader. By wrapping the leader clockwise around the palm, the spirals can be released or “dumped” rapidly if the fish surges by straightening the fingers and pointing them at the fish.

6. Downriggers maximize bait presentations at various depths for king mackerel, wahoo and other species. What is the best way to change a downrigger bait or check it after a missed strike?
A. Slowly raise the downrigger ball with the bait attached.
B. Pop the fishing line out of the downrigger release clip and reel it in immediately.
C. Reel the downrigger ball up rapidly to get a fresh bait back in the water as quickly as possible.
D. None of the above

Sportfishing Quiz
Answer: A. Raising the downrigger ball slowly with the bait intact will bring it upwards through the water column and may trigger a strike on the rise. The downrigger ball by itself won’t catch fish and a rapid retrieve of either the line or ball will cause the bait to spin or otherwise look unnatural. Dave Lear

7. With the absence of structure, what are the keys to finding game fish in open water?
A. Blind trolling
B. Local knowledge
C. Changes in water color or clarity
D. Pure luck

Sportfishing Quiz
Answer: C. Abrupt color changes or differences in water clarity tend to concentrate bait fish, since they use these differences to hide from larger predators. Find bait and the targeted fish won’t be far away. Dave Lear

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