Fishing is a fun and relaxing sport that allows you to experience mother nature up close and personal. But let’s face it, fishing is always more enjoyable when you actually catch something. If you’re tired of going home empty-handed, consider the following tips on your next fishing excursion.

#1) Set the Hook

When you feel a tug on your line, set the hook by pulling up on your reel. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and won’t need to set the hook. Other times, however, fish will simply swim away after biting your bait or lure. Setting the hook secures the fish to your line, giving you a better chance at reeling it in.

#2) Use Native Live Bait

When fishing with live bait, choose bait that’s native to the lake or body of water in which you are fishing. Some anglers assume that all minnows are the same, but this isn’t necessarily true. Different waters, for instance, have different minnows living in them. Whether it’s creek chub, golden shiner, red shiner, crayfish, etc., use bait that’s native to your fishing hole.

#3) Fish Shallow Waters During Spring

Fishing in shallow waters during spring can increase your chances of success. Catfish, carp, crappie, bream, bass and other common species typically move to shallow waters to spawn during this time of year. This is actually an instinctual habit that’s triggered by spring’s warmer temperatures and longer days.

#4) Use Jigs for Bass

When it comes to bass fishing, few lures offer the same level of versatility and effectiveness as the jig. Featuring a weighted sinker with a hook, jigs live up to their namesake by “jigging” through the water. This motion mimics the behavior of bait fish, making them particularly attractive to bass, both smallmouth and largemouth.

You can use jigs to fish for bass year-round, and in both saltwater and freshwater. Jigs are also available in countless colors and color combinations. Feel free to experiment with different colors to see which jig color yields the best results.

#5) Use Top-Water Lures During and After Rain

Some anglers call it quits and head home when it begins to rain. If you’re not afraid of getting wet, however, you can actually use this weather to your advantage by fishing with a top-water lure. Rain typically brings out insects, which in turn attracts fish closer to the surface. By using a top-water lure during or shortly after it rains, you can target these fish looking for an easy meal.