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As an ancient and popular pastime, fishing is steeped in myths and folklore, and newcomers to the sport (and even many experienced fishermen) often have many misconceptions about fish and how to catch them. Some of these misconceptions come from popular culture, some from lack of knowledge, and others come from advice given by experienced but dogmatic fishermen who incorrectly assume there’s only one way to catch fish. The aim of this article is to make beginner and intermediate level fishermen and women aware of some of the common misconceptions about saltwater fishing, and thus help them to not only catch more fish, but also to have more fun and save time and money. In my view, flexibility is one of the main secrets to successful fishing and an angler who is able to adapt their fishing methods according to different circumstances is likely to be more successful than a patient but stubborn angler who employs the same methods and tactics in all circumstances.

Fishing and Patience

You have to be very patient to catch fish

Of all the fishing myths you’ll hear from people who don’t know much about fishing, this is one of the biggest - in fact, there are lots of successful anglers with very average levels of patience. The patience myth is based on the misconception that the only way to catch fish is to sit and wait in one place for hours and hours until a hungry fish stumbles upon your bait. I’ll call this sedentary style of fishing ambush fishing. The reality is that in most situations successful fishermen actively hunt for fish rather than passively wait for the fish to come to them. And even the traditional ambush style of fishing involves a lot more activity than most people realise. Natural baits need to be changed at least every thirty minutes and inspected after every bite, and ambush-style fishing works a lot better if the angler attracts fish to the area with a steady stream of berley or ground bait. Similarly, it’s often necessary to try several different kinds of bait before the fish will come to the party. In fact, too much patience can sometimes be a liability when you’re trying to catch fish. I’ve often come across anglers that leave their baits parked out in the water for hours while they have a little nap. The result is that small fish and crabs steal their bait and they end up spending much of their time fishing with a bare hook - which obviously isn’t a very effective way to catch fish! Rather than being patient, the successful angler needs to be active and adaptable - they need to regularly check their baits equipment, and be prepared to try out others locations, baits or techniques if they aren’t having any success.

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