ALLPHIN: A Fisherman’s Blessing
A very frustrated reader contacted me the other day and let me know he simply cannot catch fish from the shore.
“What can I do to improve?” he sincerely asks.
The most challenging questions are those that would require a special trip to the lake with the person to figure out exactly what he/she is doing wrong. I’ve seen anglers hook the swivel directly to the hook and fish with heavy braided line in gin-clear water. I’ve seen people use weights the size of golf balls and then wonder why they snag up and lose their tackle. Over the 14 years of writing this column, I feel as if I’d truly seen or heard it all.
In order to “tackle” the latest in a long series of very welcomed questions from frustrated anglers, allow me to reach back into the file and pull out a story, parts of which I’ve told several times before in this column. I call it “A Fisherman’s Blessing.”
My father used to take his buddies to Strawberry back in the late 1960s and 70s. At that time, if you could get your line wet you could most likely catch a fish or two. Dad would look at the strange combinations of rods, lines and tackle his friends brought onboard our boat and wouldn’t immediately say anything, but as soon as Dad began catching fish on almost every cast while his friends remained fishless, he would “gently” ask them if they wanted or needed a “fisherman’s blessing.”
Almost without exception his companions would laugh and ask, “What do you mean?” Then my dad would take their lines, cut off their tackle and start over. He would tie on a new rig to match what he was using. The results were almost instantaneous. Amazingly, everyone started catching fish.
Here is my own updated version of my father’s “fisherman’s blessing” going out long-distance to my sincere yet frustrated friend.
For trout in Utah you need to have six-pound-test line. Monofilament will work well, but these days I like fluorocarbon line better. Next, you need a clear egg-shaped float that has a hole through the center so it will slide up and down the line. This kind of “bubble” can be filled with water.
Once the float is threaded on the line, a safety pin swivel should be tied on the line under the bubble. I use a Palomar knot to tie swivels. Then, I prepare two leaders. The first is around 28 inches long and is made from six-pound-test line, too. I tie a simply overhand knot in the leader after doubling it back for four inches making a small loop that will fit in the safety pin portion of the swivel. Next, I tie a size 16 treble hook on the other end of the leader. Due to the small size of the hook, I use a standard Trilene (fisherman’s) knot to secure the hook.
Next, I make up another leader around 40 inches in length and hook it on the swivel too. Finally, I fill the bobber three quarters full of water, and add two small split shots, one to each of the leaders approximately 12 inches above the hook. Normally, 1/16- or 1/32-ounce split shots are sufficient to do the job.
The task then is to choose the right color of Powerbait. I like Rainbow, Sherbert (red), and Lime green. Do not use the same color on both hooks until the fish tell you which they prefer.
Cast out into the lake, reel in the slack and wait five minutes before beginning to slowly reel in. Repeat for two additional casts and move down the bank and do it again.
If you still don’t begin catching fish, don’t be afraid to give me a personal call and I will gladly give you a fisherman’s blessing first-hand. There is nothing like the confidence one gains when he/she has the right tackle.
Don Allphin can be reached at email@example.com.