There are various myths or misunderstandings that surround the sport of fishing. Many of these fallacies keep anglers from fishing a certain way or during certain times, ultimately, preventing them from catching more fish. In this article, we’ll go over some of the most overused fishing myths and talk about what’s true and what’s not. No matter what species you target, we hope this article helps build your fishing confidence.
Myth #1- You must get up early to catch fish
Many anglers think they have to get two hours before daylight to get ready and on the water before the sun even thinks about coming up. Although fish activity is normally the highest the first couple hours of the day, especially when throwing topwater lures, this doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish after that period. No matter the species, fish often feed in windows throughout the day and anglers can experience some amazing fishing once the sun high in the sky.
A lot of times, fishing is better later in the day that early in the morning. For example, inshore saltwater anglers know how to fish the tides and hit certain areas when the tide is just right. The proper tide could be when the sun is at its highest point, but if the fish are where they should be, anglers can capitalize bigtime.
Myth #2- Fish won’t bite it’s too hot or cold
Fishing when it is miserably hot or cold isn’t always fun. However, the most avid anglers know that extreme hot or cold temperatures doesn’t completely shut down the bite. Although the fish may be less active and not be as willing to bite, many of them are still catchable in these situations. Fish constantly have to eat even in severe weather. It’s just a matter of being around them during a feeding window.
When it’s really cold, slowing your retrieve, using smaller profile baits, and fishing shallower are great ways to produce more bites. In hot conditions, speeding up your retrieve, fishing in current or fishing deep water are all techniques that generate more bites.
Myth #3- Fish wont bite in the middle of the day
Many anglers believe that catching fish during the middle of the day is impossible, especially during the summer. This is not the case at all. I can’t count how many times I’ve caught my biggest fish of the day between the hours of noon and 3pm, even during the hottest part of the year.
As mentioned above, the bite is often better in the middle part of the day, especially during the cold months. This is because as the sun gets higher, the water warms and the fish become more active. Yet, even during the hot months, fish can be caught during the warmest part of the day. I’ve heard it said that the fish are always biting somewhere, even if they aren’t for you. Anglers simply have to adjust based on the situation and find the feeding fish.
Myth #4- Fish will always react the same and be in the same areas
One of the biggest fishing myths is that fish will always act the same. They’ll eat the same baits or lures and live in the same areas. If anglers figure them out once, they’ll be easy to find and catch forever into the future, right? Actually, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Fish are constantly moving and adapting to their surroundings. They could be living in grass one day and under a row of boat docks the next. Although season has a lot to do with where fish are from one day to the next, there are always outliers.
For instance, most of the bass in a lake should be out in deep water during the summer, but there could be an occasional ten pounder laying in a foot of water along the bank. Fish are constantly throwing anglers curveballs. Just when we think we’ve got them dialed in, they do something different or go somewhere else. It’s a constant challenge to stay around fish, but that’s what keeps us coming back for more.
Myth #5- Fish move about the water column aimlessly
A lot of people may think that fish are just randomly swimming about the water column, looking for their next meal. However, just as we drive on roads, all fish use different types of underwater highways to travel from area to area. They find the ditches, drains, channels, and roadbeds that efficiently act as lanes to travel in. These areas provide fish with a way to travel back and forth in search of food and protection from predators. Therefore, areas such as channel swings and the mouths of canals creeks are good places to target.
Myth #6- You must own a boat to catch fish
One of the most overused fishing myths is that anglers need a boat to effectively fish. That’s false because there are a variety of alternatives to a boat. Kayaks, paddleboards, or canoes are all great options for anglers without a boat. However, if those aren’t an option either, bank or wade fishing can also produce some awesome fish. I’ve caught plenty of giant fish while fishing from my paddleboard and while bank fishing. Anglers without a boat often have an advantage because they can fish certain places boaters can reach.
Myth #7- Fish aren’t smart and can’t learn
The fact that some people don’t think that fish are smart and don’t have the ability to become educated is astonishing to me. Although some fish are caught many times throughout their life, most highly pressured fish eventually start learning what is real and what is not. I’ve seen it time and time again. When fish are targeted with the same spread of baits and lures over and over, they begin to catch on and become more aware of their surroundings.
For example, subtle noises or splashes on the surface will begin to spook educated fish. Typically, if a group of fish hasn’t seen a bunch of pressure, they are more willing to bite and the opposite is true of highly pressured fish. It becomes much more of a challenge for anglers to catch those fish once they begin learning what is real and what’s not. However, that’s what makes it fun!
Myth #8- You can only catch big fish on big baits
It’s been said that big baits catch big fish. While that is somewhat true, it doesn’t mean that some giant fish can’t be caught on an average or smaller sized bait or lure. A bigger bait often just decreases the chance of catching a smaller fish. However, small fish can still inhale a big bait. I’ve seen a 10-inch bass swallow a 14-inch worm.
In addition, big fish don’t always want a giant bait. This is especially true when the forage in the area is on the small side. A lot of times, matching the hatch is more important that throwing a big bait.