Three Fishing Tip Checks to Make Before You Fish
By Ron Brooks
I receive lots of mail asking me for fishing tips or help for a particular area. The fact is that I have fished numerous places up and down the east and west coast of the US, including the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, I have not fished all of them recently – a man can only be in one place at one time! So providing real time fishing tips is sometimes difficult.
The fishing tips I offer are general tips, unless I have recently had success at any one location. By general, I mean that given the same tide conditions, time of year, and weather patterns the odds are that you can find fish in the places I mention. But, there is no guarantee that the fish will be there. No one to my knowledge has found a way to make the fish stay in one location for extended periods of time – the simple truth is that they do move and they do migrate. They may not be where I caught them when you decide to go there.
So, just where can you go to catch fish using the tips I offer? There is a way to be successful and make these tips work for you.
Check the TideRegardless of where the fish are, they behave the same way on a given tidal condition. Whether outgoing or incoming, certain tides will make the fish behave in a certain way. Some locations are good on an outgoing tide; some are good on an incoming tide. Make sure you know what the tides will be on the day you plan to fish.
Check the WeatherWill it be hot, or will it be cold? What is the water temperature? Is the day going to be overcast? All of these questions need to be answered when you plan your trip. Fishing that may normally turn off in the heat of the day under a blistering sun may turn hot as a firecracker on an overcast day. Cooler water may drive the fish to an area they normally won’t inhabit with warmer water.
Check for BaitOnce you are on the water, you need to look for signs of baitfish. Even on the best day under the most favorable circumstances, a given location may not have fish present because the bait may not be there. Fish are almost always foraging for food, and if their food is not there, it is likely they won’t be there either. I always look for signs of bait in the area, either moving bait like schools of baitfish, or stationary bait like oyster bars. A good, live oyster bed will hold far more fish around it than a dirty, old bed with lots of dead shells.
Bottom LineIn the final analysis, the simple truth is that you won’t catch fish on every outing, regardless of how well you prepare. I shudder to think about the number of trips I have been skunked, even on a charter trip. Charter customers can become very irate when they are skunked!
You will be skunked from time to time as well – you may as well face it. But planning ahead and answering these basic questions will put the odds in your favor, and over time, you will be even more successful. Learning new locations, keeping notes (a fishing log is ideal), and be patient enough and smart enough to move when the fish don’t bite – all of these will play a part in your fishing success.