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Top 10 fishing priority rankings


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I know this is a more theory or concept related question, but I'm wondering how others would rank certain aspects of tactics in relation to success either real or perceived (ie old wives tales/superstition).

The 10 aspects are: Depth (both of boat and bait), speed, color, bait, overall presentation, wind, movement direction, overall mindset of oneself, time of day/weather, water temp. I know there are other factors that I have forgotten, so feel to add others to your list and omit others to replace. I do realize that different species will have different levels of importance to certain aspects, so include your main target species.

My ranking for walleye would be: (1) overall presentation, (2) speed, (3) depth, (4) wind, (5) bait, (6) time of day, (7) water temp, (8) overall mindset of oneself, (9) color, (10) movement direction

My list may be totally off target, but I guess that's why I'm not a professional. What's your ranking and why? I ranked overall presentation #1 because I believe that presenting just about any bait, and most depths where there fish are, in a way that they want it is the most important. I also ranked color low because I refuse to believe that the difference between an action packed day or a snoozer afternoon could be influenced 100% by color of presentation. Water temp would probably be higher, if I'd ever had a thermometer on my boat. So i don't factor that much into the equation. Thanks

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This has been my experience.

#1 Mindset. Don't fish memories.

#2 for me is depth. My experience is that fish will hang out where the bait are. If there is an abundance of bait at a certain depth, then the fish will be at that same or similar depth throught the lake until something changes.

#3 is probably bait: The wrong bait = no fish.

#4 color: The wrong color = less fish.

#5 time: Time can interralate to #2, depth. Mornings and evenings can move walleyes shallower for feeding if there is not a good food source deeper and it is a super sunny day where they may have hid deeper to stay out of the bright light and warm water.

#6 Speed: somewhat for the fish, mostly for bait control. Moving a bait faster or slower than it was designed will lower it's usefulness. It can also make you blow fish when used at the wrong speed.

#7 Water temp is questionable. It relates to all above but each above is more important in my book.

#8 Wind, a factor for boat control. It becomes a factor when you cant keep your boat over fish, or if you can't control the speed of your presentation. Example, this weekend I caught all my fish by hiding from 25mph wind gusts, not in them.

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There are so many factors that it is hard to list or rank; location, time of day, temp of water, type of bait, colors, winds, clouds, fishing pressure, types of line, experience, memories, insect hatches, angle of sun, weeds, jigging, rigging, plugs, bobbers, lucky underwear.....

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all ideas are important but I think you need to grind things out many days.

Hunt and peck and move around a bit and eventually some days you'll figure things out OR end up being in the right place at the right time. It seems many days we pick up one here and one there and then get a flurry of activity in an hour or so and then it shuts off. So time on the water is right up there many days if not all.

I think a lot of people catch a lot of fish off of good docks in average locations because they fish that spot a lot. Time on the water is the key.

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Depending on the time of year I'll regularly hit spots that produced in the past at the same time of year unless conditions radically change. Once I have fished a spot thoroughly then I'll move in or out depending how I think the fish are reacting to the current conditions. I think to many peeps get hung up on where they caught fish the last time out or last year that they don't move enough to put them on fish. Location, knowing the species your after and the water you fish is most important. I have to say, I have found fish away from the usual spots many times just by poking around in the general vacinity where I found them the previous outing or year. So yes, location is key but you also have to be on top of the conditions and have a reason to fish deeper or shallower based off what you have learned to be on fish consistently.


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#1 overall presentation - I think the following add up to this (depth, speed, wind, movement direction, bait) If your presentation doesn't match the target fish you want it will be a long day. Example: No sense putting the drop-shots to drag cranks in 40 FOW in June when the smallmouth are up on the shoreline.

#2 Weather/ time of day - I match my tactics with the current weather conditions. Depending on the weather I sometimes alter my original target and go with another species.

#3 Water temp - Can make a big difference because fish occupy different habitats depending on water temp.

#4 Mindset - I'm usually very motivated, but sometimes when the weather is kicking my butt and I'm cold and wet I can get a bad attitude. Seems like the results parallel my attitude.

#5 Color -Not much of a factor as far as I'm concerned. Might make a marginal difference, but it's rare.

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1) weather

If the weather isn't right, I'm not going out fishing. Particularly because of a lack of access to the right tools to fish "all weather" situations. For example, with today's wind, I'm keeping my fly rod and canoe packed up tight. It's a good day to take a look at health insurance plans.

2) location

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I will add weather as my top priority as well.

But will add a specific component to that.

Barometric pressure.

I am a big believer in "fronts" and how high or low pressure systems effect the fishing and timing of the fishing bite.

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heavy rains, lightning, and strong winds and gusts wont find me on the water. outside of that my first ranking is getting a chance to go. from then i just go to enjoy the day. if i get fish it's a bonus and if i dont i still had a great time just being there. the places i fish, i have fished for many years so the locations are already found. you look real good when they are hungry, and blame the weather or something when you do poorly grin. good luck.

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that's right. that's why i said in my post that the lakes i fish i normaly go to the locations where i normaly have luck. not that i'm sort of some expert, but it's many years of fishing these lakes and over time i have found the structures, bays, points ect that i'm comfortable with. yes, location is no. 1 as far as finding fish, however they still have to be on the feedbag and bad weather can turn that off in a hurry in my opinion regardless of location [speaking of lakes]. good luck.

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