How to catch different types of fish

We asked pro angler Tom Redington how he lands prizewinning fish — and how you can, too. Here are his hints for catching various species of fish.


LARGEMOUTH BASS

bassTactic: Wacky Worm

Tackle needed: 4- to 7-inch plastic worm, size 1 to 1/0 worm hook, a few small nails (for weight)

Where: Shallow areas (5 feet deep or less) in ponds and lakes

Key spots: Near any “cover” or hiding areas like lily pads, cattails, laydown trees and docks

How-to: Tie the hook to your line and then run your hook through the middle of the worm. Push one or two small nails into the end of the worm. The slow fall of the worm makes an easy meal for bass, so use just enough nails to allow you to cast (fewer nails = slower fall = more bites). Cast your wacky worm and let it fall on a slack line when it hits the water. Once it hits bottom, let it sit in place for about 5 seconds. Next, reel up the slack in your line and hop the worm toward the surface with a couple of gentle raises of your rod, then let the worm fall back down to the bottom on slack line again. Let the worm sit in place each time for about 5 seconds, and repeat this 5 or 6 times each cast; then reel in your worm and cast it back out. When a fish bites, you’ll either feel a tick on the line or just see your line swimming off to the side. If either of these things happen, reel up the slack and snap your rod to set the hook and you’ll be hooked up!

Bonus tip: Use a weedless hook with a weed guard to help reduce snags.


SMALLMOUTH BASS AND TROUT

troutTactic: Shallow Cranking

Tackle needed: 2-inch or smaller crankbait that runs 4 feet or shallower, in natural minnow or crawfish colors

Where: Clear rocky streams and rivers

Key spots: Areas where fast current meets slow or slack current — behind boulders and laydown trees, beginning and end of rapids

How-to: Trout and smallmouth bass live in many clear, rocky streams across the country. Trout are normally found in colder streams, especially those starting in the mountains. Smallmouth live in warmer streams and rivers. Small crankbaits look like minnows when moving near the top of the water and look similar to a crawfish when they are hitting rocks on the bottom. Cast your crankbait upriver and bring your bait down with the current, reeling it at a steady pace. Fish are hiding around changes in the current, so steer your bait directly through these spots. Slowly crawl your lure through big rocks and trees in the water, and then pause it for a second after it gets past them. Many bites will come as you stop and start it. With a little practice, the bill of your crankbait will help it come through rocks and trees without snagging.

Bonus tip: The larger the bill on a crankbait, the deeper it runs. Try a few different models of crankbaits, and
select one that occasionally hits the bottom.


PANFISH (CRAPPIE, BLUEGILL AND SUNFISH)

crappieTactic: Jigging

Tackle needed: Small jigs that are about 1 inch long and weigh 1⁄32 to 1⁄8 ounces, in various colors and materials

Where: Shallow areas (5 feet deep or less) in ponds and lakes

Key spots: Near shallow cover like those for largemouth bass, spawning beds

How-to: Large groups of bluegill and other sunfish will spawn around cover in shallow water from late spring through summer, making for very good fishing. To spot spawning beds, wear polarized fishing sunglasses and look for groups of 10 to 50 dinner-plate-size dark circles in an area. Small light jigs work best on small fishing line, so tie them to 4- to 8-pound test line. Cast them around shallow rocks, weeds, docks and logs, letting them slowly fall to the bottom. Hop your jig off the bottom with small lifts of your rod, and work your bait halfway back to your boat or the shore with a hop-and-drop retrieve. Panfish and crappie are often aggressive and attracted to bright and shiny baits, so experiment with flashy jigs with some orange, yellow, pink or silver mixed in. Different materials have different actions, too; sometimes the fish like the subtle action of jigs made from hair or marabou, while other days the wild action of jigs with plastic or tinsel skirts is better.

Bonus tip: If the bite is tough, try putting a small section of a worm or adding a small minnow to your jig’s hook and let your bait sit on the bottom with long pauses.


CATFISH AND CARP (AND ALL SPECIES WHEN YOU USE THE BONUS TIP!)

catfishTactic: Worm and Bobber

Tackle needed: Bobber, hook, split-shot sinkers, earthworms

Where: Any river, pond or lake where fish swim

Key spots: Cast repeatedly to any place where you catch a fish

How-to: This technique is how most of us learn to fish and has probably caught more fish than all other baits combined. Tie a hook to your line and then attach a bobber 12 to 36 inches above the hook (shorter distance when fishing shallow and longer when fishing deeper). Crimp a small split-shot sinker on your line below the bobber. Depending on the size of the sinker and the bobber, you might have to use more than one. Use enough weight so the bobber will stand up, but not so much that your bobber will sink. Next, thread an earthworm on your hook, making sure to run the hook point through the worm a few times so it doesn’t fly off during the cast. Cast your worm out, and let it drift with the current or the wind. Cast up-river when there is current or upwind if not, and your worm and bobber will naturally drift down to the fish. The natural look, smell and taste of live bait like worms attract fish, and they find it hard to resist this combo. Fish will often nibble at the worm at first, so wait until the bobber goes under the water to set the hook. Big catfish and carp love this offering, which makes for a great battle. In addition, many different types of fish will eat a worm; you never know what you
might catch throwing this rig.

Bonus tip: Use a live minnow instead of a worm; this works for just about all types of fish.

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19 Responses to “How to catch different types of fish”

  1. Mossberg
    March 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    I fish a lot and these tactics are great.

  2. cometdoodle
    June 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    you give great tips and good luck in fishing season.

  3. the Docter
    August 23, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Im going fishing right after school

  4. fish on
    August 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    ya great tips I just caught a catfish

  5. fishe dude
    October 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    actually to catch big cats you don’t use a bobber u use a sinker then tighten the line my dad caught a 8 lb blue catfish that way

  6. evil
    November 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    i loved that

  7. fish dude
    November 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

    AWSOME

  8. minecraft dude
    December 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    AWESOME ! :0

  9. minecraft dude
    December 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    fishing is awesome:)

  10. minecraft dude
    December 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    awesome

  11. minecraft dude
    December 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    fishing is awesome alex :)

  12. awesome
    December 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    sup bro jackson

  13. minecraft dude
    December 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    bye bye alex

  14. alex
    December 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    sick info

  15. minecraft
    December 15, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    fishing is awesome :) :) :) :) :) ) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    • minecraft
      December 15, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

      tough stough

      • Anonymous
        February 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

        ya

  16. Dj
    March 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    Use a minnow trap to catch minnows

  17. Dj
    March 17, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    That is the steps to make a minnow trap

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