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Fishing Methods and Techniques: Pole Fishing, Fly fishing, Spin Bait Casting, Surf fishing

The Best Methods are needed to maximize the catch and get your big fish before the sun goes down!

There are as many fishing techniques and fish-catching tricks as there are anglers on the water. Whether you're an experienced angler or just beginning to discover the joys of fishing; whether you're surf casting, bottom fishing, or trolling in deep water; whether you're on the Atlantic, Pacific, or Gulf coasts, this fishing guide of fishing methods and techniques will help you to choose your method, what kind of rod is right for you so you can land more fish.

Pole Fishing

Pole fishing is a highly specialized version of float fishing. Poles provide a level of precision that a rod and reel just can't produce. Just once you learn how to use it, you'll ask yourself why it wasn't sooner.

What makes pole fishing the leading competitive method on fresh water?

  • Bait presentation is the first and most important reason.
    The short distance between the tip of the pole and the float makes the rig under angler's constant control. Whether holding the float still, moving it left-right with various speeds, slowing it down in a current, or sometimes lifting it up and down, there is always a right way to manipulate the hook bait in order to cause to be it appealing to any nearby fish. Often you just have to copy nature. Just try to match the same look how is the natural forage laying, or moving along the bottom. Also good to use hook bait that matches or imitates native insects or other food items living in the water.
  • Accuracy is the second main advantage of pole fishing.
    Because we feed ground bait to attract the fish under the pole tip, our hook is constantly around a small concentrated area of feed, i.e. in front of the front of the fish's mouth!
  • Being able to fish with the lightest of tackle is the third indispensable advantage of the pole.
    That means a smaller float, thinner line, and/or a smaller hook. It is a fact that lighter tackle always produces more bites, since, obviously, it is less visible to the fish.

Poles can be used to fish shallow or fast rivers, to small ponds or large lakes. They come in different lengths, strengths and designs. They can be used to catch a small fish like Roach, or to tame the hard fighting Carp and even Salmon. Poles allow you to fish with a great level of precision and sensitivity. It is a very popular technique with match fishermen, and when used in the hands of a professional, can result in a huge weight of fish. Poles are big, long and taper to a fine tip. The line of a float rig is tied onto the end of the pole tip. It can also be set up to attach to the end of a piece of elastic, placed inside the pole tip or attached to the pole tip. The elastic is used to assist in fighting fish. The attached float rig hangs from the pole tip and is literally pushed out over and into the water. The length of line between the float and the pole tip can vary in length for the different types of fishing.

There are a few different techniques that can be used to land fish on a pole.

  • Dabbling involves dabbling baits next to stumps, riverbanks, holes in moss beds and other tight spots.
  • Sling-shot In order to get a bait or lure under overhead structure like docks or limbs, hold hook by the bend, pull back to put tension on pole and release.
  • Strolling is basically manual trolling along a bank that is free from obstructions.
  • To tire the fish by making it swim around is the most common method.
  • To trick larger fish into swimming toward you and into your landing net. Once you hook the fish, you need to push the pole tip away past the fish, so it is between you and the pole. If you put a bit of pressure on the line, the fish will move away from the pressure, and go towards you.
  • Carbone pole rods used for pole fishing
    Daiwa mountain stream pole rods

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Hera Fishing

Hera fishing is the greatest and very popular sport that is allied with the conversation of our fish while enjoy a day stream. Hera rod fishing comes with a real pleasure and joy derived from fishing because it has long been termed an "art". Hera fishing or Herabuna fishing came from the word "Herabuna", one of the Japanese Crucian Carp (Carassius cuvieri), hard fighting fish, a very popular sports fish throughout many places in Japan, China and most of Europe, especially in Russia, Germany and UK.
    It provides a tremendously wide variety of fishing in freshwater or saltwater, catching Carp on sweet corn, Trout, Salmon or Striped Bass on a fly, a Northern Pike, Walleye, Largemouth Bass or Crappie on life bait with pole float, Catfish or American Eel on a dead fish. It does not matter if you use it for Striped Bass or Bluefish from the beach inshore, Smallmouth Bass or Perch with a worm from the beach on a lake, is great to use for any other game fish from any place. With Hera fishing method your catches will improve amazingly. The control that it gives you over your float tackle is superb.

Hera rods used for Hera fishing
Daiwa top Hera rods

Bait Casting

Bait casting is a style of fishing that relies on the weight of the lure to extend the line into the target area. Bait casting involves a revolving-spool reel (or "free spool") mounted on the topside of the rod. Bait casting is definitely an acquired skill. You can find helpfull information on the How To Fish and Help pages. Once you get the hang of the technique, you will be casting your lures right on target into the places where fish are feeding and hanging out. With bait casting, you can use larger lures (1/2 to 3/4) and cast them for longer distances.

Casting rods used for Bait Casting fishing
Daiwa Interline rods

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Spin Casting

Spin casting is an ideal fishing method for beginning anglers, and the same time professional anglers use it for bass fishing. Spin-casting is easier than bait casting. You can use it to cast both light and heavy lures without tangling or breaking your line. You can use an open-face, closed-face or spin-cast reel for spin casting.

Spinning rods used for Spin Casting fishing

Fly Fishing

To define fly-fishing:
1. An artificial fly is used.
2. The line is what propels the weight-less fly forward, the fly itself has no weight to be cast at any distance.
3. A specific casting technique needs to be performed to cast the line.
With fly fishing, various materials are used to design a very lightweight lure called a fly. Fish think the fly is an insect and they take the bait on, or just above, the surface of the water. It takes a little practice, but fly fishing is a pure and exciting way to fish.
    Unlike other casting methods, fly fishing can be thought of as a method of casting line rather than lure. Non-fly fishing methods rely on a lure's weight to pull line from the reel during the forward motion of a cast. By design, a fly is too light to be cast, and thus simply follows the unfurling of a properly cast fly line, which is heavier and casts easier than lines used in other types of fishing. The angler normally holds the fly rod in the dominant hand and manipulates the line with the other close to the reel, pulling line out in small increments as the energy in the line, generated from backward and forward motions, increases.

Steelhead Trout and Salmon techniques
Floating line/indicator nymphing is a great method for smaller rivers where the fish are in less than 6 feet of water. This method is effective when sight fishing to fish holding in shallow water; allowing you the option of placing your fly right in front of a resting fish. Usually the best to use 8-9 wt rods and over-lined reels with a heavier weight floating line.
Spey fishing is the most popular method. Swing flies on long spey rods and pointed leaders, trying to attract a fresh run steelhead to take your offering.
Trout and Smallmouth Bass techniques
Floating lines. Light rods, light floating lines, tapered leaders, small flies, and rising trout. 90% of a trout's looking for food below the surface. 4-6 wt fly rods and light reels holding your floating line.
Sinking lines. Cast to the banks and structure while presenting your fly through the water. You will have tremendous, aggressive strikes! 5-7 wt fly rod and reels are loaded with either full sinking lines or sink tips.

Fly rods used for Fly fishing

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Dobu or Korogashi Fishing

Dobu is Japanese traditional freshwater fly fishing method, "Old Schools" since the feudal time, using group of nymph-like wet flies in a sinker rig. It was popular game in the medieval time, and mostly enjoyed in western Japan circling Kyoto where craftmen worked the fly patterns into the state of art. Uses long handrod from 9 to 11m (27-33 feet), 4-5m leader with 3-4 droppers, and tenbin boom with sinker on one end and another dropper on the other end. Angler reaches out the rig into the point on side, gently soak it to designated depth, and scan until the rig reaches the most downstream point drawing arc. Mostly used it to catch ayu, dace, and chub.

Tenkara Fishing

Tenkara is Japanese traditional freshwater fly fishing method using single soft hackle fly to catch mountain creek trouts such as yamame and iwana. The former became artifacts for it was enjoyed by swordsman class, and the latter became craftwork of remote site fishermen. Primarily used for small stream trout fishing, tenkara today is one of the most popular methods of angling among fresh-water fisherman in Japan. It is particularly effective for fishing pocket water and faster flowing streams. Some of the main advantages are its elegant simplicity, the very delicate presentations with the light line, the ability to hold the line off the water and a fly in place on the other side of a current, precise casting, and greater control of the fly.
    Traditional tenkara used bamboo hand rod, horse tail for taper line, and silk for tippet. Fly patterns were soft hackle which cover mostly beaneath the surface film. Modern tenkara use glassfiber or high-grade carbon-fiber, extremely light and strong hand rods the most portable of fly-fishing rods in 3:7 reflex for taper line and 5:5 reflex for level line. Lines are now made out of fuloro carbon and fly patterns welcome western dry fly patterns as well. They also have a handle similar to fly-fishing rods that can be made of wood (the more prized rods) or cork. As in fly-fishing, it is the tenkara line that propels the weightless fly forward. Most common rig uses running line (tapered or level) ( tapered furled line is twisted monofilament) between 3.9-7m and tie a 30cm-1m 4lb test leader (tippet) to the end of the line. The length of running line is deterimined by the size of the stream, and in the deepest of small stream, leader is directly tied to the tip of the rod to execute dapping. The main advantage of furled lines is the delicate presentation and ease of casting. They are easier to cast against the wind. A regular fly-fishing tippet is used to connect the fly to the line (which is too thick to tie directly to the fly). Artificial flies are used in tenkara fly-fishing. These are tied with thread, feathers and sometimes fur as in western fly-fishing. Traditionally used a special reverse hackle wet-fly known as "kebari" in Japan.
    Casting requires a slower and shorter stroke to completely turn the tippet over. A snap cast better to use when wanting to change direction of the fly without false-casting, while an under-hand cast is good for getting under a tree. Tenkara is very well suited for: fishing a dry-fly (virtually drag-free due to the supple line and little line in the water), dapping a fly on a pool or holding it on an eddy, Czech-nymphing and high-sticking, playing a soft-hackle wet fly, and manipulating the traditional reverse hackle flies.
    The basis is the action which is the same as fly fishing. The grip places a single finger on the top of the handle. This is good for rod control. There are two kinds of basic casts, the overhead casts and the backhander casts. The back-cast throws up the line on the head and stops it in the position at 1 o'clock. After Line is stretched behind, it is pushed forward. When not learning this timing with the body, the level line doesn't stretch. The fore-cast is made by pressing forward with the whole body. The rod position is stopped about 10 o'clock. The fly returns a few(5cm) arm immediately before falling to the surface of the water. It should land softly on the water. It lands softly on the water when excluding power from the line.

Tenkara rods used for Tenkara Fly fishing
Daiwa Tenkara rods used for Tenkara Fly fishing

Universal Tenkara rods are the most powerful type of Tenkara rod series. They feature the best characteristics combining the power and strength of Hera rods and extreme flexibility and sensitivity of Carbon Pole rods with the supreme casting ability, exceptional fighting capabilities and the simplicity of Tenkara rods. They are truly universal rods making it quite possible to win a hardest fight with even the biggest monster. Catching big fish with the Tenkara Universal rod is challenging and very much fun.
    With Universal Tenkara rods you can land a bigger fish such as Steelhead Trout, Atlantic Salmon, Common Carp, Largemouth Bass or even big Striped Bass.

Tenkara Universal rods used for Tenkara Fly fishing

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Ayu fishing

Ayu fishing is one of the several narrowly defined styles of fishing in Japan. It was practiced by Samurai as long as 430 years ago. It uses very long rods (5 - 7 meters) and flies but not fly-casting is required. Ayu fishing originated at least 430 years ago when anglers discovered they could dress their flies with pieces of fabric and use those to fool the fish. The art became more refined as the samurai, who were forbidden to practice martial arts and sword fighting in the Edo period, found this type of fishing to be a good substitute for their training: the rod being a substitute to the sword, and walking on the rocks of a small stream good leg and balance training. "Only the samurai were permitted to fish. So, the samurai wo enjoyed ayu fishing would take sewing needles and bend them themselves, and make their own flies by hand.
    Ayu fishing may be done with flies or with a decoy fish. As ayu fish are very territorial, they usually attack the live decoy fish used as bait.

Daiwa mountain stream pole rods used for Ayu fishing

Dapping Fishing

Dapping can be considered a style of fly-fishing, at least by our definitions, but tenkara fly-fishing is not dapping. Dapping ranges from the ancient method of simply touching the fly up and down on the surface of the water, to the modern use of blowline by which the wind carries the fly to fish. Dapping may be seen as but one of the techniques that can be practiced with a tenkara rod, just as it may with a western fly-rod, though a short rod would make it more difficult.
    Dapping rods are commonly much longer, as long as 40ft, and modern "dappers" could use reels as well. A reel must be with a fast retrieve to bring in a fish and keep the blowline from getting wet. "Dapping casting" techniques: ones only uses the wind to blow on the line, then drops the fly in place and maybe imparts some life to it.
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Still Fishing

The simplest of fishing methods can also be the most effective. Still-fishing is a matter of putting your bait in the water and waiting for a fish to find it. Depending on water depth and what you're trying to catch, you may want to still-fish near the surface, at a mid-water depth, or right down on the bottom. Using a float, or bobber, makes it easy to fish near the surface, or you can add sinkers to your line to fish deeper.
Still fishing is a versatile way to go. You can do it from a pier, a bridge, an anchored boat or from shore. You can still fish on the bottom or off the bottom in ponds, lakes, rivers and streams for a variety of species. And you can still fish during most seasons and during any part of the day. You have to be very patient. You need to wait for the fish to bite.
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Drift Fishing

Drift fishing allows you to fish over a variety of habitats as your boat drifts with the currents or wind movement. You can drift fish on the bottom or change the depth with a bobber or float. Natural baits work best. But jigs, lures and artificial flies will produce good results, too. You can drift fish on ponds, lakes, rivers and streams any time of the day and year.
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Live Lining

Your line is "live" when your boat is anchored in a flowing body of water like a river or stream. Use live or prepared baits and keep them on or just off the bottom. Live lining off the bottom allows your line to drift with the current through holes and rocks where the fish may be holding.
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Longlining attracts fish with a central fishing line that ranges from one to more than 50 miles (80 km) long and carry thousands of hooks. This central line is strung with smaller lines of baited hooks, which dangle at spaced intervals. Baited hooks are attached to the longline by short lines called snoods that hang off the mainline. After leaving the line to "soak" for a time to attract fish, longliners return to haul in their catch. Longlines are set horizontally either on the ocean floor (demersal longlines) or near the surface of the water (pelagic longlines). Demersal- or "bottom"-longliners float their hooks just off the seafloor to catch fish that live on or near the bottom, such as cod or halibut. Pelagic longliners used to catch open ocean fish, such as tuna and swordfish.


Droplines are similar to longlines but are set vertically either down underwater cliffs or just in the water column. They have a weight at the bottom, a series of hooks attached to snoods, and a float at the top of the line. They are not usually as long as longlines and don't have as many hooks.
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To attract fish or get them biting again, you can throw "chum" into the water where you're fishing. You can use ground-up bait fish, canned sweet corn, dead minnows in a coffee can (for ice fishing), pet food, even breakfast cereal. Or stir up some natural chum by scraping the bottom with a boat oar. Be sure not to over-chum. You want to get them interested in feeding; you do not want to stuff them before they get a chance to go after your hook. Chumming is not legal in all states. Check local fishing regulations.
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Bottom Bouncing

Bottom Bouncing is done from a drifting or trolling boat, and it's a great way to attract or locate fish during most seasons and times of day. Use a buck tail jig or natural bait and drag it along the bottom. The dragging motion causes the lure to bounce along stirring up small clouds of sand or mud. After a few strikes with bottom bouncing, you can drop anchor and apply other methods to hook the particular kind of species you've attracted.
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Trolling or Trawling

Most trolling is done using a small electric motor that moves the boat quietly through the water so fish aren't spooked. But you can also troll by towing a lure while walking along the edge of a shoreline, bridge or pier. The speed of the boat determines the depth of your bait. And the depth of the bait is determined by the species of fish you're trying to catch. Use a spinning reel or a bait caster for trolling.
Trawling is one of the most common methods of fishing in the world. Trawling involves towing one or more trawl nets behind a boat or in between two boats, either through the water column or along the ocean's floor. Trawl nets are usually shaped like a cone or funnel with a wide opening to catch fish or crustaceans and a narrow closed end called a cod-end. Trawls can be used in water of various depths down to around 3000m, and nets differ by their mesh size. Midwater trawlers catch faster swimming schooling fish such as sardines. Bottom trawlers catch fish that live on or near the seafloor, such as cod, flounder and shrimp.
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Purse Seining

A purse seine is a large wall of netting that encircles a school of fish. Fishermen pull the bottom of the netting closed (like a drawstring purse), herding the fish into the center. Purse seiners either haul the net aboard or bring it alongside the boat to scoop out the fish with smaller nets. This method used to catch schooling fish, such as sardines, or fish that gather to spawn, like squid. The most popular fish caught by purse seines are tuna used for canning.
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Jig fishing is popular and challenging. Why? Because the person fishing is creating the action that attracts, or doesn't attract, the particular type of fish he or she is trying to catch. Here's how it works. Cast out and let your jig hook sink to the bottom. Then use your rod tip to raise the bait about a foot off the bottom. Then let it drop back to the bottom. You can jig up and down, side to side or up and down and sideways. Jig rigs come in all sizes, shapes and colors, and can be used with or without live bait.
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Jig and Worm

Attach a worm to your jig hook and use it to bottom hop or sweep through your target area. To bottom hop, cast to the target and let the jig sink. Then reel in slowly, twitching the rod with every third or fourth turn of your reel. To sweep, cast to the target and drag the jig parallel to the bottom while reeling with a fairly tight line. Slow and steady gets the fish when you're sweeping with a jig and worm.
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Ice Fishing

Fishing through a three-foot hole in the ice? Yup. It's a unique way to catch multiple species of northern, fresh-water fish. And thanks to advancements in garment design, portable fish houses and fish locating devices, it's becoming more and more popular every day. One- to three-foot rods are most often used and simple reels hold the line. You can also ice fish with tip-ups. When a fish hits your tip-up gear, it releases a lever that raises a flag or rings a bell.
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Fishing From Boats

Big or small, motorized or outfitted with paddles, a boat simply allows you to cover more water. But for most folks, a boat simply makes fishing a lot more fun. The boat you choose should be based on where you want to fish and what kind of fish you're stalking.
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Catch and Release

Catch and release was a way to reduce the cost of stocking hatchery-raised Trout In Michigan. Since then, conservationists and sport fisherman alike have promoted catch and release to ensure sustainability and avoid over fishing. Proper catch and release fishing techniques also reduce fish fighting and handling times and help avoid damage to fish skin, scales and slime layers- damage that can leave fish vulnerable to fungal skin infections.
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