Okay, there can be a huge number of factors contributing to the fact that fish won't bite. I realize this, but will try to narrow it down to the top ten. Or at least the top ten from my perspective. I mean, what other perspective would you expect me to give? So with my apologies to David Letterman, here are my top 10 reasons why fish don't bite.

1) The moon is wrong. It's a well known fact that fish are more active, and therefore feed more during both a full and/or new moon. This may sound strange, but it's true. Just search the phrase "moon phases". You'll get more information than you know what to do with.

2) The fish aren't eating what you're throwing. I know this sounds stupid, but it's true. I've been trout fishing with a worm when a mayfly hatch starts. Let me tell you something. It was game over for the worm and I. The trout become so focused on mayflies that they won't look at anything else.

3) Your casting a shadow where you're fishing. This is especially true while river fishing for trout. If you cast a shadow into the water that you're trying to fish, the trout will see it and not bite.

4) The angler wades through the area that they intend to fish. To me this is one of the ultimate "rookie" mistakes, and I see it time and time again. If you must wade through an area, but would like to fish it as well, fish it, then wade through it. A person wading through the water makes fish really skittish.

5) Not enough weight on your line. This one is directed at river fishing. I see too many anglers not using enough weight when fishing in current, because they don't want to get snagged. My mentor used to say, "If you're not getting snagged, you're not fishing in the right place." Getting snagged is part of fishing in the current. If you don't have enough weight, your bait will flow through the current right below the surface and not be seen by the majority of the fish.

6) Line diameter. Using line that is too heavy for what you're fishing for. This one is especially true when fishing in clear water situations. It doesn't matter if you're lake fishing or river fishing. The thicker your line, the easier it is for fish to see. And if you're line sticks out to the fish, they won't bite. I've personally been using six pound test with no success, and then switched to four pond test. As soon as I switched the size of my line, I caught fish in the exact area that I couldn't even get a bite!

7) Hook size. If your hooks are too big, many times the fish won't bite. This is especially true with live bait fishing. I personally use size 10 hooks about 80% of the time. You'll be amazed at the size fish you can catch on small hooks.

8) Lure size. This one goes right along with the previous two. Many times people think that the bigger the lure, the bigger the fish, but this isn't necessarily true. Just like with hook size, you'll be amazed at the size fish that can be caught on smaller lures. Again this is especially true in clear water situations, such as those you find in many trout rivers.

9) Lure color. If the color that you're using isn't working, change it. This is obviously simple, but true. I've fished for two or three hours with both live bait and bright colored lures with almost no success. Then, in a last ditch effort, I switched to a black Rooster-tail. Bam! Two eighteen+ inch rainbows in the next fifteen minutes.

10) Wash your hands! This is an absolute must if you smoke, chew, or touch anything smelly. Fish have an incredible sense of smell, and if the bait you're using smells like a cigarette because you touched it.....No bite for you! When in doubt, a grab a handful of gravel or grass and rub it in my hands. I swear to God this is true. The fish can smell whatever you've had in your hands.

So there are 10 factors that the angler can control, because as we all know there are plenty on factors that are just out of our control. Hopefully, these will help you catch a few more fish.

Trevor Kugler - Co-founder of JRWfishing.com
Trevor has more than 20 years of fishing experience, and now specializes in ultralight trout fishing.
http://www.jrwfishing.com - products and information to save you time and help you catch more fish.
email - tkugler@jrwfishing.com

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