The major reason why fish are lost is poor equipment. You as Dad may have the good stuff, but the wife and kids get your hand me down worn-out junk!!! Now you know why they don't want to go with you.
Now once good stuff has been obtained, we'll go to the second most important reason - it's maintenance. Clean reels with smooth working drags, rods with good eyelets - they're a must to land good fish.
Line!!! New!!! Repeat, !!!New!!! Put on new line every three trips. What is between you and the fish once you have it on? !!!Line!!! !!!New Line!!! What is that 30 lb. cat, 7 lb. bass or even a big crappie worth, $1.49 for a spoon of line??
Once you've got it on your reel and are using that new line, how about getting into the habit of checking the first three feet of it every 3 to 4 casts. Make it a habit. I've checked, found a nick and retied only to land a big one on the next cast.
You're in pretty good shape, but we have two things left which still make a lot of difference. One of them, is to learn one knot, learn it until you can tie it without thinking, in the dark, in the wet, in the cold with fingers' freezing. Now make another habit of checking your knot each time you check your line - knots get weak. Grab your bait or whatever you're using and yank hard. I'm sure a fish will do it for you, but if you don't, and you'll lose him.
I left the greatest secret until last. Everyone knows it, but they don't do it and it costs millions of people good fish every year. Buy a good, no several, good hook stones. Keep them where you can see them in your boat, in your pocket if walking. Now just as with checking your line, now start a habit of checking your hooks to see if they're sharp each time you check your line and knot. I've lost a good fish, checked my hook and found it dull.
I didn't hit anything or pull my bait through rocks, so how did it get that way? Your guess is as good as mine. During the winter's long nights, go through and resharpen everything. If it won't hang in your thumb nail surface when pulled across it at most angles, it won't hang that big one's mouth either.
You've got them, these tips. Make and break pro's every day on tour. They will help you get into that elusive 10% club. I know - I'm there!!
How to Catch More and Bigger Fish
Mealworms are easy to grow at home. These come in two sizes - small and giant. I like the small's, but I have a buddy who grows the giant's. Get a new 5 gallon bucket (no lid). Buy these from your fast-food places for around $1.00.
WD40!! Yes, WD40!! I used to put new lines on my reels every week, cleaned them after each trip. I bought bulk spools of 3,000 yards of line, because I was fishing a tourney each week.