Help a beginner get some action!
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Thread: Help a beginner get some action!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019

    Smile Help a beginner get some action!

    Alright, So the short of it is this...I grew up fishing rural ponds in VA and could always go out and snag a LMB or a catfish fairly easily. Fast forward about 20 years to today and I am lucky enough to have a little amount of time to fish...but I know very little.

    I've fished every day this week for about 4 hours each day...from about 8-830 until I give out...around 2 or 3. I am not having much success, can ya'll help me figure out what I may be doing incorrect?

    I can fish at Roberston Millpond in Wake county and catch bluegill pretty easily...they are small though, I wouldn't keep any. I have been to Falls Lake at several different locations and have only caught two very tiny sunfish.

    I'm switching up baits. I've got plastic worms, real worms, little fake shad with jigheads, quarter sized fake frogs.

    I've got a few rods ranging from 5' ultralight to 7' medium. I'm mostly using a slip bobber and adjusting the height of my bait...sometimes i'm on the bottom other times about a foot or two from the top.

    Today I was at beaverdam lake and fish were literally jumping out of the water all around me (I was in a kayak) and I couldn't seal the deal on a single fish...or even get a bite.

    Am I going at the wrong time of day? Will I have more luck in the fall? Just looking for some advice and thought the local (North Carolina) forum would be the place to ask....I appreciate it!

    Edit: I forgot to mention what fish I'm actually trying to catch...I'm all over the place with it really, I go from trying to catch bass to crappie or maybe a catfish, but again I'm a novice.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Cary NC


    To catch fish, you need to fish where they are at. With that being said when you go fishing cover alot of water and a variety of different places and situations until you establish one that stands out as the thing to do for that part of the day. Once you figure out what kind of structure or areas the fish are in, then focus on similar areas with similar features and skip over the things you have already tried that are not effective. Also always be on the lookout for signs of life in a particular area... baitfish, bream, herons and such all indicate there is life in that area. Those breaking fish you are seeing and not catching are more than likely not bass, often times carp, bowfin and catfish will splash as well as small perch and white bass.
    smallpeas likes this.

    Take a Bass Boating!!!
    Life Jackets and Kill Switches save lives.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012


    If you're looking to catch larger Bream and other panfish,this time of the year, you might look for a drop off the goes from 3 or 4 feet to 6 to 8 feet. They might be shallower on a cooler/overcast day,but when its hot, look for the bigger Bream in a little deeper water.
    smallpeas likes this.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    You listed several artificial baits - and you said you're mostly using a slip bobber. There are very few applications for artificial lures fished under a bobber - not saying it can't work but generally those things, that's not how they are fished. There are a lot of different ways to fish a plastic worm... Texas rig, Carolina rig, shakey head jig probably the most common. You'll have to YouTube those for tips on how, but there is no substitute for being shown how by someone with experience!

    Ask around for someone who might be willing to take you fishing, go with you, or if you can afford it, hire a guide on a lake you'd be likely to fish on your own, and tell them what you want to learn. If they know you're more interested in tactics, techniques, and how to start patterning the fish (what Neilslure was talking about - trying to figure out patterns you can replicate) than just simply flipping fish into the boat, you may find a guide willing to teach you some things.

    Some of the guys down here in Florida who aren't guides will sometimes be willing to take someone out with them for half or most of a day if the person throws in maybe a couple hundred bucks for 'fuel and bait.' My neighbor has done that a few times.

    The internet can be a great resource if you look for instructional videos, too.
    Good luck, hang in there!
    smallpeas likes this.

    - Sam
    "Things are only impossible until they're not!"

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Rocky Mount


    I am still a novice and my suggestion is probably worth about what you are paying for it, but I tend to stick to targeting one species on each trip. It helps with not having to carry your entire tackle box, and you can focus on the techniques for each type of fish. As mentioned above, YouTube is your friend.

    That being said I, I've been wanting to float/fish Robertson Millpond for a while now and would be happy to try my hand at fishing it with you if you'd be interested. Shoot me a PM if you want.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2019


    Okay, so you have already caught some panfish and have used what I assume are light jig heads. Great - you're on your way to catching anything that swims providing your lure finds fish. That's what lures do - find fish that bite if they will.

    I've fished every type of lure for bass for over 50 years and have found that light jig heads and soft plastics get more bites on average than anything I've cast. Sure it's nice to catch fish in the surface, using a skirted jig and trailer on bottom, but for species variety - and considering you just want to catch fish, go with what works a majority of the time: soft plastics.

    Soft plastics include 6" Kut Tail Worms, curl tail grubs (not my preferred tail design) and a hundred other plastics rigged on ball head jigs weighing 1/32 - 1/8 oz. Anyone who've read my posts on different fishing forums know I include photos of lures and the fish that was caught on them.

    5' rod is fine for short casts and pan fish but not good for fighting large fish. 5'6"- 6' light action is my preference. Medium action rod may not have enough bend to cast light lures easily. I use spinning and spincast reels (pushbutton) filled with 8# test braid line sometimes with a 6# test fluorocarbon leader. This combo allows a sensitive strike detection and faster hooksets without cross-their-eyes/ over-the-shoulders hooksets.
    Once you feel the line tick, you raise the rod until the fish panics from feeling the sharp point catch in its lip and then you pull the rod tip away and 45 degrees to the side. Two fast jerks of the rod tip after that insures a good hookset. Note: get a small file and make absolutely sure you hook point is sharp !!! Check it often.)

    Presentation matters!!!!! - always regardless the lure. One thing small light lures require are slow presentations with angler manipulation: lure action you produce. The lure's shape and action does the rest. Part of presentation is the depth you fish a lure. It could be in water less than a foot or deeper than 10'. Sonar is nice especially with a sidefinder, but many cheaper sonars only indicate fish below the transducer and not where fish are all around you. Your lure is your fish finder so cast it everywhere and retrieve it slowly.

    As I said, soft plastics in many designs catch many species. Here are a few (some of which aren't sold anywhere):

    Kut Tail Worm on a 1/32 oz ball head jig with #2 hook (note the different species):

    Beetle Spins have been around for decades and catch many species:

    (Note curl tail grubs attached to the light jig)

    When anglers mention finesse lures, they usually mean lures with very subtle actions. This is key for catching more fish more of the time. I have my own idea why, but all I know is that it's true. Here are examples of finesse action lures and the fish they caught:

    spike tail grub

    Minnie-Stick Grub (hand poured) with wacky (center hooked) light jig:

    Crappie Magnet catches everything and in most colors:

    Don't go nuts trying to pick the best color. A few will do always! Lure action, size, shape and your presentation matter more than color but color can enhance the combination. (I hate black or grape finesse plastics - just my bias - but use both when using plastic T-rigged worms on bottom.) Note the clear plastic:
    cone tail grub:

    The above are just a few of the lures you can cast that catches anything including catfish:

    The above 7 pounder caught on a clear tail cone tail

    This 4 lb sucker bit this Crappie Magnet grub:

    Most of my best catches are from 9am to 5pm. It's just a matter of finding a pattern consisting of depth(s), shoreline or deeper structure (humops, points), hard (rock) or soft bottom, vegetation (grass, isolated pad, under tree branches in shade), etc. Cast cast cast !!! You got to find them before you can catch them. Let the lure go to the depth the fish are at which much of the time is near the surface to mid depth.

    Tip: Watch the lure as you move it in the water. Note its action at the best retrieve speed and your manipulation. Most of the time is should not be a steady retrieve but with pauses and rod tip twitches to allow the lure to dance, quiver, waddle and anything that drives fish to strike a creature that's just plain annoying. (I never match forage - it requires too much guesswork.)

    Good luck and any questions you have please ask. It's easier if you make fishing simple.

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