If you’re like me, the first thing I thought was how is that even possible??? I’ve been fishing since I was 3 and have caught a lot of fish in my time, but 5,000 in one year. That’s just a crazy number. At least that’s what I thought until a Twin Troller owner in the Nashville, TN area started sharing his photos with us, and then submitted the following article to give a few pointers on not just how he did it, but how you may be able to do the same. Like with any great feat there are both do’s and don’ts on how to accomplish the feat, and this month we’ll share the do’s and hold off with sharing the don’ts until next month. Hope you guys enjoy. I know I did.

How would you like to catch 5,000 fish in a year? I’ve done it and so can you. Out of the 209 days I fished in 2019, I caught 5,045 fish. I’m a busy guy with a full-time job and am very involved in various civic community activities. So how did I do it? I’ll share with you what activities it took to meet this challenge. Warning: THIS CHALLENGE IS NOT FOR THE CASUAL ANGLER, ONLY ATTEMPT IT IF YOU ARE HARDCORE!

Part I: The 10 do’s and don’ts of catching 5,000 fish in a year, beginning with the do’s.

Number 1.  Commit to fishing three to four times a week. This does not mean you fish three or four 8-hour days, as this is not possible for most fishermen. Instead, take advantage of the time that you have throughout the week, even if it is just a few hours at a time. Completing this challenge will take a consistent effort for 12 months, and these hours quickly add up. This means you will have to find ways and places to fish when conditions are not ideal and most anglers are off the water (I like having the lake to myself anyway). This challenge will cost you something, but the journey is awesome! I tell my wife of 29 years that “I’m going fishing” when I can because, “It’s good for me.” However, I would not recommend this plan to a newly married guy because he may not stay married very long!

Number 2.  Build or join a network of buddies that have a passion for fishing. There are other serious anglers who fish three to four times a week. Many of these guys are retired or work as guides. You want to make friends with them. How do you do this? I started by hiring a guide on my local lake (nashvillefishingguides.com) to go hybrid bass fishing. We fished for half a day and caught about 30 fish. He taught me how to catch hybrids on my local body of water and I ended up catching 650 hybrid bass in 2019. My guide had already built a network of anglers on our local lake that he communicated with which I was able to join. These networks exist and it’s important to get plugged into one.

Number 3.  Make sure your fishing rods, line, and hooks are in good repair. You may think this goes without saying, but if your gear is not in great shape you just won’t catch as many fish. My success rate went up when I finally purchased a good quality fishing rod and reel combo. (I suggest a St.Croix rod and a Shimano Stradic reel. Last year, I caught a 24 lbs striper on a medium action St. Croix rod while trolling for Walleye!) Having a quality rod that is light-weight and sensitive is critical to catching lots of fish. Don’t scrimp on the fishing line either. There are many good brands of fishing lines, but I rely on Suffix brand lines and VMC hooks. Additionally, always carry extra treble hooks on the boat and replace them after catching 20-25 fish.

Number 4.  Stay local. No one has unlimited time and money to spend fishing. Your fishing time is precious, so protect it! One of the easiest ways to do this is to keep travel time to a minimum. List all the bodies of water within 1 hour of your home. This list should include all lakes and rivers with public access. Start by visiting each body of water and trying to find spots in them that have the potential for you to catch 100 or more fish in a day.

One of the biggest keys to catching large numbers of fish in a day is to pick a fishing location with the potential to produce big numbers. Just remember: no matter how good a spot is, the fish must be there and willing to bite or you won’t catch many that day. I take a week of vacation each April so I can take full advantage of our local white bass run. Put yourself and your baits where the fish are. There’s no need to travel all over the country to reach this goal – stay local.

Number 5.  Use a spoon to vertical jig, cast, and troll. A 1/4 oz to 1/2 oz spoon is one of the most versatile lures available. You can catch just about any species of fish with a spoon. I prefer a white Bomber Slab Spoon in 1/4 oz but good luck finding them on the shelves. (You will probably need to order them online.) Eventually, you will find situations where the fish are stacked-up in one small area or schooling. If you have a spoon ready to go, you may be able to catch 50 fish in an hours’ time and 200 fish for the day. Be sure to have some spare #4 and #6 red VMC treble hooks available to replace the hooks dulled from catching so many fish!

By: Mike Pehanich

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