Master These 10 Fishing Fundamentals

Whoever said it's the little things in life that make the biggest difference was certainly a fisherman. Try these 10 "little things" for some big results this season.

#1 - Back a Boat Trailer
Place your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. While watching the mirrors, move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. Move (don't turn) the wheel in increments.

#2 - Anchor a Boat
With the anchor line attached to the boat, and an anchor sized and configured correctly for your vessel, gently lower the anchor over the bow with the boat facing into the wind or current. Never throw an anchor; the line may foul.

#3 - Prevent Bird's Nests
The automatic bail on your spinning reel is a cool innovation, but it should be used sparingly. Automatic bails put undue twist in fishing line, which can eventually cause bird's nests. It's best to flip the bail manually.

#4 - Pick a Spinnerbait Blade
When the water is murky, a Colorado blade provides the best vibration and attracts more fish. In weed-choked areas, willow-leaf blades, with their narrow design, slip through vegetation easier and with fewer snags.

#5 - Learn The King Sling knot
Run 8 to 10 inches of the tag end of the line through the bait's eye. Hold the tag end and main line in your left hand to form a loop. Make four turns around the tag end with the bait in your right hand and the standing line above the loop. Slip the bait through the loop. Tighten.

#6 - Tune a Crankbait
If your bait runs to the right, gently bend the line-tie eye to the right with a pair of pliers. If it runs to the left, bend the eye gently to the left. It doesn't take much to correct the problem, so bend the eye very little.

#7 - Spool a Baitcaster
With the line tied to the reel spool, lay the filler spool on its side in the box. Make sure the filler spool is parallel to your reel's spool. Reel until full. With spinning reels, load line onto the reel spool in the same direction the line leaves the filler spool.

#8 - Fish a Trailer
If you're fishing a bait with a trailer and getting plenty of strikes but not hooking up, try this: Remove the trailer from the hook. Reaffix it by hooking it through the head. Do not run the trailer down the hook shank. You now have more hook shank to hook the fish with.

#9 - Handle a Fish
Catch-and-release is great. However, if you damage your fish prior to releasing it, it's all for naught. Never hold a fish out flat by the lower jaw, as most bass jocks do. This puts undue strain on the fish's skeletal structure. Instead, support its weight with both hands.

#10 - Hold a Reel Right
When spin-fishing, place your entire rod hand in front of the reel's stem. This gives you a mechanical advantage on the rod. And at day's end, your hand won't ache from having had a reel's stem jammed between your fingers.

From the May issue of Outdoor Life magazine.