4 Bad angling habits it’s time to stop

by Tim Allard | September 2, 2016

Bad Angling Habit

Ditch these fishing faux pas for more rod-bending action and safer adventures.

Bad habits are part of human nature. Most anglers have at least a couple poor practices they could stand to lose. While bad habits can be tough to stop, they can mess with a good day of fishing, so the effort’s worth it. Below are four common bad angling habits that are easy to correct with a mere pinch of effort and planning.

Bad angling habit 1: Using a rod guide as a hook keeper
This infraction’s a common one. It happens when the rod’s stripper guide is used to store a hook and secure a bait. It’s a bad practice because it risks damaging the guide’s insert. The rough guide could then weaken fishing line, resulting in a lost lure or, worse, a fish.

There are several quick fixes. If the rod features a hook keeper, use it. If not, consider buying an aftermarket keeper to attach to the blank. For bait casters, a hook can be safely secured to the reel’s upper face plate (just watch the line).

If you just can’t kick the habit, use the guide’s frame to secure a hook under light tension instead of the ring. The frame won’t touch fishing line.

Bad Angling Habit - Lying around lures

Bad angling habit 2: Leaving lures lying around the boat
This one’s a personal pet peeve. I’ve seen too many close calls of folks almost getting stuck by a lure left lying around in a boat. It’s understandable that red-hot fishing action can be the culprit for messy lure piles, but it only takes a little effort to put baits back in a tackle box once done. If nothing else, make it a matter of habit to tidy up baits once the action wanes or before moving to the next spot.

Granted, certain lures, like spinnerbaits and bucktails, should dry before storage to prevent rusting. Hang them safely out of harms way and let your buddies know about the sharp drying rack. Then get baits back in a tackle box once dry.

bad angling habit - cast with purpose

Bad angling habit 3: Casting without purpose
An angler can take hundreds of casts in a day. A common mistake’s doing this haphazard. Instead, make each cast count. Consider where a lure’s going and why; look for prime targets likely holding fish. If covering water, cast to work different water than the previous toss.

Cast with purpose and you’ll catch more fish. It’s that simple.

bad angling habit - not taking care of yourself

Bad angling habit 4: Not taking care of yourself
While fishing can be relaxing, anglers mustn’t be too laid back to the point of neglecting oneself. Obvious? Absolutely. But, each season I see badly sunburnt anglers at boat ramps, to name just one faux pas.

Here are 5 easy things to do to stay comfortable in these still hot conditions.

  • Wear sun-protective clothing, such as wide brim hats, sun gloves, long-sleeve shirts, and nylon pants.
  • Use sunscreen and reapply regularly throughout the day.
  • Cool off with a swim or by taking a break in the shade of an island.
  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated keeps you alert and prevents sunstroke.
  • Pack a variety of healthy food and eat often to keep energy levels up. Oranges, apples, mixed veggies, nuts, noodle salads, and bagel sandwiches are favourites in my cooler.

Bad habits can be tough to break. Unfortunately, letting them linger can impact fishing success and, in some instances, can take a physical toll. Kick these four bad angling habits and expect better fishing days ahead.

Get Tim’s tips for making fishing fun for the whole family here. 


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  1. Judy wrote: Number 1 tip: Wear your personal flotation device.