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A Compilation of Fishing Tips as they appeared in

Anglin' With Austin

Ray Austin's weekly fishing column in the Herald-Zeitung.



Tip of the week: weight of fish
For those of you who don’t have a scale, here is an easy way to get a somewhat accurate weight. Pencil and paper, calculator, or fifth-grader needed. Measure the fish all the way around the largest part of the belly, this is your girth, now measure the length of the fish.

Girth x girth x length ÷ 800 = the weight of your fish.


Tip of the week: Sharp hooks will repay dividends.
If you think the hook might need to be replaced … replace it, no questions asked. Slide the hook across your fingernail if it digs in it’s a good hook, if it keeps sliding, change it out. You never know when the next fish might be your lake record!


Tip of the week - Cleaning your reels.
Whenever you take your reels apart to clean them spend the extra $5 on oil made specifically for reels, WD 40 is not an option. Too much oil can cause the reel to not function correctly and leave you playing with your fishing line, not that huge fish.


Tip of the week: Re-spooling braid fishing line.
Braid fishing line has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s smaller than equally strength monofilament line and allows you to spool more length in line onto your reel. Line memory is almost non-existent with braid.
Old braid line will begin to sink itself down into spool therefore causing unwanted rats nests when it sticks in the grooves on a cast.
Each time you buy a new reel take the new empty reel and roll monofilament onto the spool first, this is called backing and also keeps the braid from loosening from the spool. Tie a good knot between the mono and the braid and then reel the braid onto the spool with heavy tension to eliminate the gaps in each layer.
It is a good idea to wet the line while doing this (you can hold a sponge and let the string run through the sponge as you reel). When you are finished do the same thing with the now empty old reel and another one of your braid filled reels.
Rolling it from one reel to the other saves time and money and allows you to adjust the tension on the braid as you go. This also works for your mono reels with that have line memory problems.

Tip of the week: When backing down the ramp use your neutral and not the reverse.
This keeps your foot from hitting the gas and ending up launching boat and vehicle. There is no chance of hitting the gas and backing up into the water. I am sure we have all hit the gas to pull out with the trailer and realized it was in reverse.

Tip of the week- Bring along an ice chest and leave the stringer at home.
Fill the ice chest halfway with ice and, as you catch the fish, put them in the ice. When cleaning them, remove one at a time. If you remove them all at once, they’ll look deader than a doornail then Bam! They thaw and start flopping. You jump, the dog barks, the wife screams… very funny unless you happen to drop the electric filet knife under the running water.

Tip of the week
- Crappie fishing at night.
Fish around trees and timber. Bring a lantern or two but do not hang them on the boat BUGGGGS GALORE, hang it in the tree prior to anchoring the boat. Anchor the boat about ten feet from the tree where you can reach the light with your cast. This will keep the majority of bugs away from you and the boat.


Tip of the week: Summer is here and the thermocline has kicked in, shallow is where it is at. Fishing deep now will yield very few fish due to oxygen depletion. Deepest you need to fish for any type of fish should be around 10 feet.


Tip of the week: Being the catfishing type, I like to be prepared for the big one to hit at anytime.
I use a medium-heavy to heavy action rod when fishing for cats. I’m now changing this up when I’m taking customers on a crappie trip, especially when kids are involved.
Get a light action rod for the predominately smaller sized fish like perch and crappie. This will bring the whole fight part of fishing back into perspective for you and make it a whole lot more challenging and fun for everyone involved.


Tip of the week: If you’ve ever taken a catfish dorsal or pectoral fin to the hand, you understand where this is going.
As soon as you catch the fish and you definitely plan on keeping him for dinner, cut these fins off before they go in the ice chest. This will save you a lot of pain while cleaning the fish at the end of the day.


Tip of the week: Santee Cooper rig is a popular rig amongst catfishing enthusiasts but works well for other species during the summer months.
Easy way to set up your rig is to just tie a weight on your hook approximately three to four feet from your hook. Now take a small cork that will not pull your weight off of the bottom and clip it onto your line in between the hook and weight. This will keep the bait in one spot and off of the bottom.
Fish will be able to find the bait easier with the bait suspended a couple of feet off of the bottom of the lake.
For a detailed picture of the Santee Cooper fishing rig visit my website.


Tip of the week: Nets are important and may cost you the trophy of your lifetime if you do not have them ready when it comes time.
Always have your net in an easily accessible location (not under the life jackets in the storage compartment).
Too many times, I’ve not been within five feet of the net when I needed it, so prepare ahead of time and make sure you can reach it with a fish on your rod and reel.
If you’re bankfishing then have it within arms reach the entire time you are fishing.


Tip of the week: Fishing punch bait is a chore during the summertime.
The consistency is created in a factory and not exposed to the summer sun.
Keep it in an old cooler you NEVER plan to use again. Put the plastic container on some ice in the cooler and this will help you when you are casting the bait.  Most punch baits and stink baits are lost during the cast. The coolness will help the bait stay tight around the No. 4 or No. 6 treble hook.
They also sell little plastic tubes and hairy things that will wrap around the hook and encase the bait making it tough to throw off.
I have pictures on my website of these types of setups.

  Tip of the Week
Take notes and pictures of every lake you fish during a dry spell like what we are having. When the lakes fill back up it will help you understand what you will not be able to see when the big storms hit. Do not forget to check the expiration date on your fishing licenses folks

  Tip of the week
Charts and maps are highly useful when fishing this time of year, especially when traveling to a new lake. The maps show contours, depths, and some even show artificial fish attractors like the ones placed at Canyon Lake. Countour maps of Canyon lake should be available at the Canyon Tackle Box this week. Attractor maps of Canyon Lake can be found on my website under the “artificial attractors” link.  

  Tip of the week
Sunglasses. You do not have to spend $200 on a pair of polarized glasses.
I agree that seeing down in the water is helpful sometimes but doesn’t warrant sending readers out to drop large chunks of change on sunglasses.
Get yourself a pair of polarized glasses that suit your budget. From $10 and up, these glasses not only work for seeing through the glare on top of the water, but also protect your eyes from hooks.
I personally had a gar slip off of a hook when I had pressure on the line and the hook slapped me in the glasses. Without these glasses, I would probably be without an eye right now.
Keep the tension on the fish at an angle and not pointed directly towards you.

  Tip of the week
Fishing with punch bait or stink bait for catfish can be a slow process.
In order to let the bait to fully work, let it sit at least 20 minutes and spread the smell around the water.
Sit at least 20 minutes in order for the bait to work like it is designed. If no bite in 25 minutes, then you should move on.

  Tip of the week
My favorite knot is the Palomar knot if this knot ever came loose it was because I did not lubricate it correctly, basically I forgot to spit on it. Easy and fast to tie. Take your line and double it over, run it through the eye of the hook and hold the tail and mainline, tie a loop back around the mainline and tail, take the doubled end and push the point of the hook through the doubled over loop and bring it back up to the eye of the hook, spit on it, pull it tight and cut the tail off. Hard to explain in writing I have detailed pictures of it on my website along with a picture of my quick snelled knot at


Tip of the week:
This is probably my best tip ever. Put a float on your auto keychain RIGHT NOW! Get up off the couch and drive to a store and buy a float if you do not already have one!! If you drop it in the water, you just pick it up…self-explanatory. YES! I SWAM to the bottom of the lake this week looking for a truck key. I was lucky. I found it. On a different trip this summer, I learned that a computer chip ignition key made by a mobile locksmith costs over $100 dollars.


Tip of the Week
Shopping for a boat to fish out of? Be sure and check the weight that the boat will carry safely and legally. There are a lot of boats out there that carry the maximum horsepower and carrying a large motor will cut down on your carrying capacity. Take the time to look at this and figure what the biggest party is that you will carry.


Tip of the week
Rigging live bait correctly can be the difference between catching or losing a good fish. Barely hook the bait through the back of the fish, right behind the dorsal fin.
You want to be able to set the hook by pulling the hook out of the baitfish as easily as possible when the predator is leaving with the bait.
Lay back as hard as you can when setting the hook. The rod will not help in this situation and it is completely up to you and your setting abilities.
Just because you are reeling the fish in does not mean the hook is set.
Several times over the last month or two we have had a fish on for about 10 seconds only to have the fish release it. It's a sick feeling when you have a hook come back to the boat with the bait still on it — rookie.
Set the hook like you want to break your rod. Check out the baiting illustrations on my Web site .


Tip of the week
Spend the money on the good waterproof cold weather gear. You won’t regret it. The good gear should last for years, while the cheap gear will fall apart on the coldest day of the year


Tip of the week
Bilge pumps are great pieces of equipment to have in the boat.
I have two for good reason. I always have a backup on hand if the first one goes out. Have it pre-wired to hook directly up to the battery in case of an emergency (you never know when you are going to need a second one running simultaneously). Be sure to include enough wire to reach the battery from any point on the boat.


Tips of the week
Bank fishing is not easy around rocky lakes like Canyon.
Invest in a comfortable chair and rod holders that will stay in place, while holding the rod.
Ron, a good customer and great guy, told me about chasing his skiing rod from the bank, into the water. He soaked himself, his phone and lost a new rod in the process.
Anytime you are taking non-waterproof items around the water, carry them in a Ziploc bag.

Tip of the week

Spend the money on the good waterproof cold weather gear. You won’t regret it. The good gear should last for years, while the cheap gear will fall apart on the coldest day of the year


Tip of the week – If you are using braided line on your reel, check the rods on a regular basis. The braid is just like a mini rope and it burns the guides on the rod. It will create a groove in a guide and that groove will cut the line faster than you blink. I know this because after setting the rods up in my center console, the weight and hook hit the floor so I retied the line, put the rod back in the holder and it hits the floor again. The grooves are very small and unnoticeable to the naked eye. Give your rods the once over just to ensure that the guides are not damaged.


Tip of the week

Cold snap is coming. This is the ultimate battery killer. Prevent batteries from discharging by putting them on a slow charger, wrap them in blankets or remove and store in the garage. Always check the battery before dropping the boat in the water. If you don’t, be sure that you have a paddle onboard.



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