Easy Ways to Catch More Fish

A wise old man I used to fish for Musky with when I was younger told me one day, “10% of the fishermen catch 90% of fish”. Whether that’s accurate or not I can’t say, but the more I have thought about that over the years, the more I think he really was onto something with that statement. Fishing can be a complex affair and some species are easier to consistently catch compared to others, but at some point no matter the species, fish just do not want to cooperate. In this article we will discuss some great tactics to improve your time on the water, despite the species.

old man fishing

Do your Homework

This is one of the most paramount parts of being successful on the water, you have to do your due diligence on the species you wish to pursue and really study up on that particular species, habitat, habits, forage base, locations at different times of the year, and more. Knowing the fish in and out is extremely important, do your research online, read about it in fishing magazines. There are an absolute ton of resources at our disposal today, and the average person has more information in their pocket thanks to smartphones than any human being in history. While you can study and research your preferred fish species at will, there really is no substitute for experience on the water. I have always told my Guide Clients, “Fish don’t read magazines“ and this has always been my way to show my clients in the boat that you need to adapt and think outside the box from standard tactics and presentations on a regular basis.

learn the waters

Learn the waters

You won’t catch fish if you don’t know where they frequently spend their time, this changes with weather patterns and seasons. GPS units have really changed the game if you’re on larger bodies of water, giving the angler the ability to set waypoints on structure such as drop offs, points, humps, brush piles, rock piles etc. along with the GPS modern sonar including side imaging has changed the game, giving anglers a precise picture of what’s below the surface, and even allowing the angler to distinguish between vegetation types, like milfoil or cabbage. My rule for any angler fishing a new body of water, is to spend a good portion of your trip without a rod in your hands, I frequently fish new lakes and depending on the size, spend multiple hours zig zagging over breaklines, mapping and exploring, and looking for baitfish. This process helps me eliminate dead water, and allows me to focus on the best looking structure and areas I want to spend my efforts on.

Find the Bait Find the Fish

This tip is predominantly for predatory species but certainly applies to prey fish like bluegills and crappies as well. This goes back to the rule of “you won’t catch fish if you’re not putting your bait by fish”. Baitfish congregate in different areas throughout the day, and season depending on weather conditions. If you find big schools of bait fish one day, chances are they are gone the next, so finding the food on every trip should be a major consideration. The general rule of thumb is if you find bait, the big fish aren’t far away. For panfish species and the like, this is also true, bug hatches for instance are an indicator of potential feeding activity Here in northern Wisconsin it’s well known that during the mayfly hatches in spring fishing can become very tough due to the overwhelming amount of available food for fish like panfish and trout. You can also see bug activity on your sonar, in the evening larvae and bugs from the bottom of the lake will rise in the water columns in certain areas. This can also make fishing a feast or famine affair.

Trout fish on hook

Don’t Leave Fish to Find Fish

This saying in the Musky fishing world is like holy scripture, but it applies in many cases to all fish species. If you’re on a spot that is normally successful, and are catching or seeing fish but not catching them, it’s usually only a matter of time. Fish feeding moods can change quickly, so if you know the fish are there, don’t leave to try different spots, or if you do, make sure your back on that spot at peak feeding times or if any type of weather changes occur. I know this might sound like common sense, but I see people do this on a very regular basis. In one instance on the water, I fished a 300 yard stretch of a lake for 6 hours straight, casting up and down nonstop and never left to fish another spot. I contacted 9 muskies but couldn’t get any of them to commit until moonrise when I finally hooked into a 48 inch fish. Persistence pays off.

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My Dog Has Crusty Scabs On His Back

There are several causes of crusty scabs on a dog’s skin.  You are probably concerned that there is a skin problem, allergies, bacterial infection, fungal infection or even ectoparasites. 

Crusty scabs on a dogs back
Crusty scabs on a dogs back

What If the Crusty Scabs Are Caused By Allergies?

Allergies can certainly be a cause of the crusty scabs on your dog’s back.  Your dog might have an environmental allergy to pollen, laundry detergents, shampoos, soaps, cleaning products and lawn chemicals.  Food allergies can also cause skin problems in some dogs.  If you know there has been a recent change in your dog’s environment or food, you may first try removing the change to see if the crusty scabs heal.  For example, if you washed your dog’s bedding in a new laundry detergent and the dog immediately thereafter developed the crusty scabs, try rewashing the bedding in your old detergent. If after removing the recent change, your dog still has crusty scabs on her back, a veterinarian may need to prescribe an anti-allergy drug along with steroids or have you apply an ointment or lotion on the affected areas.

What If the Crusty Scabs Are Caused By a Bacterial Infection?

Bacterial skin infection on a dog
Bacterial skin infection on a dog

 A bacterial infection called folliculitis may be the cause of the irritation, bumps, sores and scabs on your dog’s back.  This can be caused by allergies, psoriasis, fleas or injury. A bacterial infection may occur when your dog is continuously scratching his skin, breaking through the layers of skin creating cuts where bacteria gains entry, develops an infection and causes puss-filled sores and crusty scabs. Causes of the itching could be external parasites. 

  1. Fleas:  Check your dog for fleas.  Look for an area where your dog’s hair is thin; under the arms, the groan or belly, then examine the area for very small black insects.  A dog with fleas can obsessively lick, scratch and chew at the skin which can result in sores.  A flea infestation can cause blood loss, which can lead to anemia.   
  2. Mites:  Mites can cause mange in a dog.  It is a common skin problem in a dog that produces similar problems caused by fleas.  If the skin condition becomes severe, your dog’s hair may fall out and the skin will be covered with crusty scabs.
  3. Ticks:  Ticks are an insect that will partially embedded themselves into your dog’s skin.  Most dog owners can remove a tick themselves.  There are several devices on the market made especially for removing ticks.  If you do not have one of these on hand, use a pair of tweezers, position them as closely to the dog’s skin as possible, firmly grasp the tick and pull out of the skin.  Be sure you have also removed the tick’s head.  If the ticks heads remains embedded in the skin, it can lead to infection.    

Additional Causes of Crusty Scabs on a Dog’s Back

  1. Fungal infection: A fungal infection called ringworm can result in red, irritated skin, bumps, scaly skin, itchiness and hair loss.  Puppies under a year old are most prone to this kind of infection.  Ringworm gets its named because it appears as a circular, ring-like patch of irritated skin.  Your veterinarian will want to see the dog and will prescribe an ointment.
  2. Hormonal imbalance:  Your veterinarian can diagnose a hormone imbalance if it is the cause of your dog having crusty scabs on her back. 
  3. Auto-Immune Disorder:  Whenever a dog’s immune system becomes compromised it cannot fight skin irritants, or the dog’s own immune system may be working against itself.  This can also cause crusty scabs, but needs to be diagnosed by your veterinarian.
  4. Nutritional Deficit: Your dog may not be getting all the proper minerals and vitamins necessary and develops skin irritation, itchiness, and rashes that lead to sores and scabs on your dog’s skin.  Your veterinarian will prescribe a specifically, balanced diet that is formulated for your dog’s needs.  This food will keep the skin healthy, moisturized, and coat glossy.
  5. Yeast Infection:  This is a common kind of skin problem.  Yeast is normally present on the skin of a dog’s body.  Problems occur when the yeast population builds up in a warm, moist place and causes irritated, itchy, discolored skin.  A dog will chew, lick, and scratch the skin causing sores and scabs.  Your veterinarian will diagnose and prescribe a treatment
Yeast infection on a dogs skin
Yeast infection on a dogs skin

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Is Watermelon Good for My Dog?

Yes!  Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. It is also 92% water; which during hot summer months, helps keep your dog cool. Watermelon seeds and rinds, however, are not good for your dog and could actually cause serious health problems. So please, avoid feeding the seeds or rinds to your dogs.


How is Watermelon Good for My Dog?

  • Watermelon contains potassium, vitamins A, B6 and C.  It also contains a healthy amount of nature plant fiber which is beneficial for your dog’s digestion.
  • Watermelon also contains lycopene which is a healthy antioxidant that helps prevent some cancers.
  • Watermelon is fat-free, low in calories, low in sodium (salt) and cholesterol-free.
  • Watermelon is also a fantastic source of water.  Giving your dog a snack of watermelon on a hot day will be refreshing and help prevent dehydration.

When is Watermelon Bad for Your Dog?

Eating anything in excess, even for dogs, is bad.  Watermelon should never make up a large portion of your dog’s diet.  If you give your dog an excess amount of watermelon, some dogs will experience diarrhea and other gastrointestinal upset.

When Is Watermelon Dangerous for Your Dog?

Watermelon should be removed from the rind (the outer part) before feeding the melon to your dog.  You will also need to remove as many of the seeds as possible, or purchase a seedless variety.  The rind is very hard, difficult to chew and could cause intestinal blockage in the dog. The seeds, especially for small dogs, may cause blockage, which can lead to serious intestinal problems.  Large dogs should not have any problems passing a few seeds, but it is best to remove as many seeds as possible.

What Are the Danger Signs If Your Dog Eats Too Much Watermelon or the Watermelon Rind and Seeds?

If you feel that your dog has eaten too much watermelon, or the seeds and/or rind, you will watch for:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation 
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain

If your dog develops any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian for treatment.

Only Offer Natural Watermelon to Your Dog

Some products are marketed as watermelon flavored, but are in fact made up of entirely artificial products. These artificial products may contain sugars, chemicals, and other substances that can make your dog sick.  Artificial watermelon products frequently contain xylitol, which can be toxin to dogs.  Never feed your dog any foods with large amounts of sugar as it may cause gastrointestinal problems, obesity and diabetes.

dog eating watermellon
Dog eating watermellon

How to Offer Watermelon to Your Dog?

Watermelon can be a quick, healthy treat for your dog.  Remember to remove the seeds and rind before offering it to your dog.  Cut pieces of watermelon into cubes for an easy to eat treat.  Another satisfying way to offer a watermelon treat is to puree the watermelon in your blender.  Pour the puree into ice cube trays half-way, then fill the rest of the way with plain, low-fat yogurt and then freeze.  Do not use a yogurt full of sugars or other additives.  After the cubes have frozen, place them in a zip-top freezer bag and store in your freezer.  On a hot day, offer one of the cubes to your dog for a healthy treat.  If you want to make the watermelon cubes more delicious, you may add other safe and healthy ingredients like blueberries, lemon, and black salt. Lemon contains vitamin C, which is beneficial for the dog’s health in the hot season.

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