10 Common Fishing Mistakes

Learning often happens through the process of trial and error, but if you know about some of the most common fishing mistakes, you can avoid making them and cut down your learning curve. Check out this list of some of the top fishing mistakes, so that your time on the water will be safer and more successful.


  1. Not checking the Weather Conditions

Always check the weather forecast before making plans to head out on the water, and continue to monitor conditions while fishing via a smartphone app or a marine radio. Pay attention to any wind direction shifts, note any sudden drops in temperature, watch for lightning, and keep an eye out for rough water.


  1. Not Having a Fishing License

Not checking for updates to the fishing regulations or renewing your fishing license happens more often that one might think. These days, it's easier than ever to check current fishing regulations and renew your fishing license because it can all be done online.


  1. Using old or Worn Fishing Line

Always inspect your line and leader prior to a fishing trip. Replace your line if it appears frayed, you notice any abrasions, or if it feels brittle. When in doubt, change it out.


  1. Using a Dull or Rusty Hook

Not only will it be harder to hook a fish with a dull or rusty hook, you also run the risk of your hook breaking. When saltwater fishing, give your hooks a quick freshwater rinse and allow them to dry before placing them back in your tackle box.


  1. Using Hooks that are the Wrong Size

Using hooks that are the wrong size tends to be another one of the most common fishing mistakes. The most important thing to remember is to match the size of the hook to the size of the bait you will be using versus to the size of the fish you plan to target.


  1. Not checking your Safety Gear 

Check your PFDs to make sure there are no rips, tears, or broken straps. Make sure any sound-producing devices are in working order, your first-aid kit is properly stocked, and that fire extinguishers and visual distress signals have been inspected. Keeping your gear properly stored and inventoried on a regular schedule are important parts of fishing safety.


  1. Forgetting to check the Drags on your Reels

Use a spring scale or digital scale to make sure your drags are set properly. As a general rule of thumb, your drag should be set to 25% of the breaking strength of the line you are using.


  1. Allowing too much Slack in your Line 

Allowing too much slack in your line while fishing. Not maintaining a connection to the line is next on the list of top fishing mistakes anglers make. Be sure to reel up any excess slack in your line so that you can feel bites and ensure a firm and efficient hookset.


  1. Using a towel to Handle Fish 

You shouldn't be using a towel to handle fish that you intend to release. Anything but bare, wet hands or a rubberized landing net has the potential to remove the protective slime coat on a fish. Damage to the slime coat can open the fish up to disease and infection.


  1. Storing your hooks on the inside of your fishing rod guides

This can lead to chipped or damaged rod guides. There are ceramic inserts on the interior portion of many guides, these inserts can chip or crack if subject to sharp fishing hooks. Use the hook keeper!

By avoiding these common fishing mistakes, you will have safer and more productive adventures on the water.