Don't be a purist. Use live bait. Try to match it with what the fish normally feed on.
Using lighter fishing lines. The small size line can't be seen as well.
In order to use those light lines, it's a must to have a good working drag on your reel.
Smaller, sharper hooks work just as well as the big ones - sometimes better.
Try to fish for the type of fish that maybe spawning or hitting.
The way to find this out is to spend some time on the phone calling bait shops. You could spend some time hanging out at a good one, listening and talking several days prior to when you are planning a trip, and plan accordingly.
Start on the bottom and work your way to the top in stages. Once you catch a fish, try to keep your bait at that depth and just move around until you find where they are hiding. If you aren't catching, move until you do. Keep repeating the procedure. Bluegill, crappie, white bass, black bass, sauger, etc!! are all schooling fish. This means more than one around. Once I find them, we usually catch a bunch.
A tip on crappie - they are not like other fish. They don't like to go down after a minnow or bait unless they are in a real feeding fit!!, so fish above them.
You can catch more fish by leaving 8 inches to a foot between your hook and sinker.
Whenever possible, fish dead line (no bobber) over the side of your boat or off the bank. This will sometimes allow them to set the hook on themselves and you have better control of what you are fishing.
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.
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.
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.