Jordan Rodriguez holding a large Chinook salmon

I have a long-running joke with my fishing buddies, and it usually comes out when the action is less than stellar. I tell them I’ll never get skunked—not because I’m some great fisherman, but because I refuse to go home until we catch one.

I’m only halfway joking. There have, of course, been times when we had to go home empty-handed. But on far more occasions, persistence has won the day. It’s even led to some of my all-time favorite fishing memories. 

Pulling an all-nighter (it’s a long story) to fish all day for one giant Chinook salmon? Worth it!

Battling through hours of high winds and lock-jawed largemouth to land a 24-inch wall hanger? Totally worth it!

Freezing our butts off in early spring to pull a 28-inch behemoth brown trout from the depths of the South Fork Snake River? Priceless!

Granted, not every slump buster turns into an epic fish story. Just this past week, my friend and I plugged through a slow evening and finally wound up with a couple non-descript largemouth at Lake Lowell. Still, a 14-inch bass never felt so good.

The bottom line is this: No matter how good an angler you are, there will be days when our finned friends just don’t want to cooperate. Some folks will pack it in, figuring there are better things to do. There’s no shame in that. But in my book, pretty much nothing is better to do than fishing, so let’s keep after it until we figure it out!

On slow days, I like to move around. Start with tried and true spots, but if they don’t produce, keep looking.

I also like to try different lures. I’ll give each presentation a good 15-20 minutes, and then move on to the next. If you have a two-pole permit (definitely worth the extra $13.75), keep a live bait rig in the water on one line, and throw various lures on the other.  

If you (or your companions) bore easily, bring a camera, a crossword puzzle or some snacks and frosty beverages to keep your mind occupied. But as long as you’re on the water, make sure to keep a line wet. Odds are you’ll hook up eventually—maybe even with the fish of a lifetime.

Tight lines!