STORIES OUT THERE FISHING By: Keith 'Catfish' Sutton, WorldFishingNetwork.com 20 DIY Tips and Hacks for Anglers Everyone enjoys saving a little time and money, finding a better way to do something, and improving their equipment to fit the need; here are 20 do-it-yourself tricks you might find useful Try removing a buzzbait skirt and adding a plastic minnow when fishing heavily pressured waters. The buzzbait will look more like natural forage and you may get more strikes. (Keith Sutton photo) If you’re like me, you love learning nifty new tips and hacks that can make your bass-fishing activities more productive and enjoyable. For example, I once was repairing a reel and found it difficult to read the tiny type on the schematic and parts list. “I have the same problem,” a friend said. “So I enlarge the parts sheet on my copy machine until it’s easier to read.” Problem solved. Editor’s Note: You can accomplish the same thing with a smartphone camera. Take a picture of what you’re trying to read. Then use the zoom-in features of your smartphone. Another fishing buddy showed me how he uses a bit of Super Glue to stiffen the weedguard on a jig when fishing extreme heavy cover. This reduces hang-ups even more, increasing his catch. Helpful do-it-yourself tips like these can work wonders to improve angling success and reduce tackle problems. Here are more to try. Scent Holder for Tubes When using a fish attractant with tube lures, insert a piece of cotton or packing foam through the bottom and push it to the top of the tube before rigging. When the hook is inserted, this material stays in place. Attractant then can be applied inside, and the scent holds much longer. Picking out Backlashes An inexpensive tool for removing backlashes can be found in paint stores. A paint-can opener with a curved lip on the end works great. Patience Saver Squeeze a split shot on your line’s end after removing a baitcasting reel from a rod for storage or travel. This prevents the line from slipping through the guide and prevents tangles. Stocking Checker A roughened line guide can fray line and cost you a fish of a lifetime. Check for damaged guides by pulling a piece of nylon stocking through each one. The stocking will snag on rough spots. Cork Protectant Coat cork rod handles with Armor All Original Protectant to keep them soft and clean. Apply two coats, buffing lightly with fine sandpaper after each. Hold-Tight Dividers Movable dividers in tackle boxes sometimes slide up, allowing small tackle items to get combined. Put some silicone sealer on the bottom of each divider to hold it in place. You still can easily remove the divider to redesign or clean the tacklebox. Bearing Packer When repacking your trailer’s wheel bearings, fill a sealable plastic bag two-thirds full of bearing grease. Add the bearings, squeeze out the air, zip the bag and knead to pack the bearings while avoiding excessive clean-up. Make a Tube-Worm Dip the head of a plastic worm in fish attractant and slide it into the open end of a 3-inch tube bait to create a new lure with different action and bulk. Mix or match worm and tube colors to create new bass-catching enticements. Just Like New White paint chipping off your spinnerbaits? Don’t toss the lures. Freshen the finish with white appliance touch-up paint that comes with a brush applicator. Reduce Line-Tie Abrasion The twisted-wire line ties on many spinnerbaits can abrade line caught in the loop. One solution is sliding a 1/2-inch-long section of 1/8-inch clear plastic tubing on your line prior to tying your spinnerbait. After tying your knot, push the tubing over the knot and line-tie loop. This keeps the line from snagging in the loop. Silver Minnow Hack Many anglers add a pork frog or eel when fishing a Johnson Silver Minnow spoon. Another sweetener is a 4-inch, curly-tailed grub threaded onto the hook and secured to the spoon’s butt with a dab of Super Glue. Pocket a Line Cutter The credit-card shaped letter openers available at many office supply stores are great line cutters, even for braided line, and fit inside a shirt pocket. Removing Line Twist Anglers fishing with spinning rods often experience line twist problems. When this happens, remove your lure, release 100 feet of line and drag the line behind your boat while idling. When you have moved a short distance, retie. Your problem is solved. Used Line Holder Keep a coffee can with a big X cut in the plastic lid where you can stuff scrap fishing line after retying or respooling. Bend Your Blades When fishing with prop baits, you can bend the front and rear blades forward to reduce the distance the bait moves forward with each twitch. This allows the bait to stay in the strike zone longer. Rope Fastener To keep the rope on your trolling motor from whipping about while motoring, put a strip of Velcro on each side of the handle and another strip on the motor mount. Stick the handle to the mount before heading to your next honeyhole. Cable Tie Fixers Keep a few small plastic cable ties handy; they can be used many ways. For example, if your rod’s reel seat breaks, take two cable ties and crisscross them around the reel foot and the rod, cinch them up and problem fixed. Stake Out Your Boat The corkscrew-type dog stakes available at pet stores provide handy shoreline tie-ups for your boat. Handy Holders The small plastic tubes and clear plastic boxes many candies come in are great for storing split shot, rattles, beads and other items of terminal tackle. Versatile Milk Jugs Keep a clean, empty gallon milk jug in your boat for various uses. Carry extra bait in it, bail out your boat or top off your minnow bucket. Fill it with sand for a handy anchor, or tie on a weighted line to turn it into a marker buoy.