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5 Ways to Avoid a Skunk



So here you are several hours into a fishing trip.  In all your planning you had imagined a livewell or stringer full of fish, but now you're struggling to just get a bite.  In the back of your mind you can almost smell it.....a SKUNK!!!  In moments like this it is easy to give into defeat and throw in the towel.  Although there are times that that may seem to be the only option, giving up too easily can really affect your confidence.  You may start to question whether you are that monster catcher that we all know that you are .  That can lead to getting in a funk.  And getting in a funk is no bueno!  So next time you start smelling a skunk, don't give in, try one of these five tricks so your confidence is unshaken. These little hacks can apply to almost any fishing situation.

Downsize-  I like to think of this as three prong approach.  First think about downsizing your bait or lures.  If the fish are being finicky then this may just be the ticket.  Also it will possibly attract fish a little smaller than you may have been targeting.  While that may not have been your first goal, it will help you keep your confidence.  After all...any bite is better than no bite....right?  Next think about downsizing your line and or terminal tackle.  This has worked so many times for me. From surf fishing to crappie fishing, going with lighter line can really help with weary fish.  Thirdly think about downsizing your fishing area.  This may not work in all fishing situations, but if you have a wide expanse of water at your disposal, then this may be the ticket. Force yourself to stick to one area and really break it down to figure out where the fish are.  Sometimes by really dissecting a piece of water you can learn invaluable lessons about it.

Get Radical-This trick is all about getting out of your comfort zone and experimenting.  I mean if you are about to get skunked anyway, why not try something totally different.  Maybe you've got a lure in your box that you always wanted to try, but never felt like it was a good time.  Do it NOW!! What can it really hurt. 

Impersonation- This trick can be a lot of fun!  Sometimes you're in a rut of doing the same thing and this is a great way to shake it.  "What would my buddy do right now?"  or  "what would celebrity X fisherman be throwing in these conditions?"  are good questions to ask yourself.  Then try to honestly fish the way you know someone else does.  This can be just the thing to break out of YOUR ordinary.

Test Line- This trick is mainly for someone who is bait fishing with multiple lines, but could also be the answer for someone who is trolling.   On one of your lines  throw out a bait that you normally wouldn't use, or cast it toward an area you don't normally fish.  Just maybe you'll find out that you are overlooking the area holding the trophy.  If you are trolling, then tie on a lure that you would never use, or try going deeper with that lure or maybe shallower  and just see what happens.  It may surprise you!

Switch Species- Sometimes you just have to be an opportunist.  Maybe Largemouth were your target species but you've been watching the white bass explode on the surface all day.  It might be time to just go catch a few!  You're crappie fishing but all you've seen is carp cruising.  Put that light rod to the test! You haven't caught a redfish all day, but the jacks are blowing up out in the channel. Go get them!  At the end of the day you might not have accomplished your original goal, but you will have had a blast and saved your confidence.  That will always be a win!

Thanks for reading and I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below.



Jason Atkins




  • I caught a crappie on my bass rig yesterday and a bass on my crappie rig. Pretty much sums up my day yesterday. 🤪

  • I have a go to bait when this happens, a jig with a trailer. All of the above is very true, in the 63 years of fishing you must always think like a fish. Have a go to bait, but be patient.

    Vinnie Ciavatta

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