Testing the Waters

TroutHow many times have you been fishing and had the hardest time getting anything to bite? I myself have had quite a few days like this. There will be days when you can actually see the fish swimming around you and for some reason they aren’t hitting your hook. You know that the fish are there, but you can’t catch one if your life depended on it. These are the times that you need to “test the waters”. I learned this technique from my brother a long time ago and just recently had an opportunity to put this particular bit of information to use again.

“Testing the waters” means almost what it sounds like. It means, you keep trying everything in your tackle box, narrowing down what it is that the fish are hitting on.

My brother, nephew and I did just this last weekend on Christine Lake in Stark, NH. Christine Lake 1 Christine Lake 3

The fish were in abundance but we couldn’t get them to hit. There were so many fish that at one point I though it was raining, but it was actually the trout breaking the surface of the water. The easiest thing to do is to try and match the insects that are flying around because naturally this is what the fish are eating. Unfortunately for us, we had nothing in our tackle box that resembled these insects. This is where “testing the waters” comes in. Now this particular fishing experiment will take a bit of time, but when it works, you will begin catching fish.

It’s quite simple, take a lure that is proportionate in size to the fish that you are trying to catch and cast that a few times. No hit? try a different lure and repeat. Don’t just try a different lure though, try different colors, different weights and different sizes as well. You will discover that there is usually one or two lures that fish will hit.

We started the day fishing worms and we caught nothing. In fact all we were doing is drowning the worms. The trout of Christine Lake had no interest in them. So, we started going through our tackle box. The first thing I did was to determine the size of the trout that we were fishing for. This was easy to do because we could see the fish. They were literally jumping out of the water all around us and we could also watch them as they swam by the boat which was sitting in about three feet of water. This is a photo of my brother and you can see how deep the water we were fishing in behind the boat.Christine Lake 2 Click on the photo to see it enlarged.

We tried the usual lures, and after an hour I was running out of things to try. I finally put on an old Red Devil. It was a medium size red devil about an inch and a half in length not including the hook.

Red Devil

I began to get hits right away. They were not taking the lure, but at least they were hitting it. So what did I do next? I switched to my ultra-lite rod and reel with 4 lb test and I put on a miniature 2/32 oz Red Devil. This one only about a half inch in length. I cast that and on the very first cast I had myself a beautiful trout about 7 inches in length. C-Trout 1Second cast nothing. Third cast landed another 7 inch trout. Needless to say it was then that we realized that smaller was better on this day. We put away all the other lures we had and only used the smallest of lures.

My brother, using his micro-lite rod and reel with 2 lb test line, put on a very small 1/16 oz micro jig with a half inch mini worm, similar to the top one in this photo.Micro Jig He began catching fish and within 30 minutes had his limit in trout. Luckily since we practice catch and release we didn’t have to worry about limits and could catch fish all we wanted to. It was amazing to be catching fish while the whole time they were jumping out of the water all around us.

The next time you go fishing and you just don’t seem to get any bites, just remember this tackle technique of “testing the waters”. Use the information that the fish are giving you and narrow down your tackle until you find the one or two lures that will finally get you a fish.

Tight lines, The Amateur Angler.

2 thoughts on “Testing the Waters

  1. Great one , Since reading this story, I have gone out and bought many small lures , All different sizes , colors and shapes even plastics and jigs to go with them [ not lead ] and I have checked the jigs heads I have now for lead and replaced if needed. LEAD FREE N.H. My younger brother has shown me that { test the water ] works for all waters


  2. Pingback: “I Go Fish” | DoingStuffDad

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