001 – Do learn to tie good knots. Or Just one knot…or just a Uni Knot. This is where the majority of fish get lost. Don’t be ‘that guy’!
002 – Don’t sit at the ramp car park, in your boat, waiting for people to turn up and ask you if you caught anything. And then flop two big rigour mortis ladened fish onto the gunwales. You will look like a tool and sound like one too!
003 – Do sharpen your hooks! Always check your hook point after catching a fish and or getting a snag. If you don’t, you might as well be fishing with a pencil as a hook. It take 10 second…come on people!
004 – Don’t go trout fishing with your Hi-Vis work cloths on. The most solid reason I came up with for this is because you look like a squeezer! Oh, and the trout will probably see you coming from the neighbouring states.
005 – Do ask as many questions as you can about fishing. Not to the point of sounding like a weirdo stalker but ask the right ones at the right time. Questions are good. Answers are what you get in return. Some good, some bad.
006 – Don’t wait for the weather to become more to ‘your’ liking. The weather is the weather, the fish are already wet, get off your backside and go fishing when ever you can!
007 – Do always try to keep fish in the water at all times if you plan on releasing them. Or if you want to see what it’s like to be a fish, hold your breath for as long as the fish is out. See how you go with that! Chances are your untrained and unfit carcass will fail miserably. Do the right thing and think about the fish for once!
008 – Don’t leave fish to die in an esky or bucket if you are going to eat them. Brain spiking and bleeding them on the spot is the best way to prepare your fish for the table. And while you’re at it, add some ice.
009 – Do regularly check your reels are up to the job of fishing because if you plan a trip and you look to late, there’s a good chance you wont get it back from repairs in time. Or just maintain them properly and never have the issue to start with!
010 – Don’t believe everything you read (including this). Forums are good but only to a point where you get to much input from people that just don’t know jack about the subject. You just gotta know when to let it go and make your own way.
011 – Do try to use lighter line with all fishing types. The light the line, the less visible it is and the more bites you get. Simple!
012 – Don’t leave fish to find fish. Classic Stralo saying. And it’s true! If you’re catching a few and you know of a spot that ‘might’ be better, you’re more often than not better off staying where you are. Murphy’s law applies.
013 – Do always try to mix your lures up. Never stick with one type or shape or colour, regardless of what the guy in the pub said. I don’t care how local he is, it’s probably rubbish info because you didn’t buy him a beer! Choice is the key. Fish change their minds (feeding patterns) a lot. You need to do the same.
014 – Don’t cry like a bloody kid when you loose a fish. It makes you look like a tool and it’s a total mood killer. Unless I’m in your boat and then all it’ll be is belly laughter and you getting angry. Suck it up and move on…quickly!
015 – Do look at the moon to see where it is and what it’s doing. The moon is nothing but night and water movement to fish. Some use it to feed and others run from it. It’s all about knowing your target species and working out who’s in the pecking order and where!
016 – Don’t always use fluorocarbon leader material. Yes it has its place but only in clear water. Otherwise you can use good old nylon to great affect. The knots you tie in nylon will act more consistently over a fishing period. Fluorocarbon is like a F1 car – any sort of slight mishap and aggressive activity can and will weaken your knot (fragility). This results in a brake that seemingly came from nowhere…you know the one I’m talking about! And if it’s abrasion your thinking about right now. Forget it. Nylon is as good and in some cases better!
017 – Do try to collect rubbish from the waterways when ever you can. It makes a big difference to how we, as anglers, are perceived by other uses and it sets a great president when they see you doing it. It takes 10 min of your day and makes the place look better for all. Even the wooducks that made the mess!
018 – Don’t ever do the drag of your reel up when the fish is close to being landed. The shorter the line the less stretch and the more pressure you are putting on your knots and hook hold. And as the fight get to the end, the fish is much more tired than at the start, giving you the advantage. A different rod angle to help steer the fish will help and always keep the fish in the water. Never try to lift it out with the line. Fish weight NOTHING in the water and everything when out of it. Remember, you’re only ever fighting their ability to swim, not how much they weight.
019 – Do everything you can to get a kid or two into fishing at least once in your life. It’s all about the sport and the numbers. If we want fishing to continue the way it is and somewhat better in the future, then we’re going to need all hands on deck. Fight the good fight and get people involved.
020 – Don’t ever take more than you need. It’s easy to do in the excitement of it all but stop and think… It’s not just the pro’s that catch and kill fish in this world of ours – we do our share of it as well and every fish is valuable to the resource. Limit your catch, don’t catch your limit!