You help your overall catch rate by being prepared and knowing where to fish...
By Ron Brooks
Do you fish the same areas over, and over again? Those same flats; that same channel cutting through the grass; the same ledge or wreck; you know all of the places you fish sometimes like the back of your hand.
You got to know those places over time by being familiar with them. So how can you go to a completely new area and have a chance at catching fish the first time out? Try some of these tips to get you started.
- First of all, buy a good chart of the area. If its an inshore location, you will need it for navigation. If you are going offshore, wreck locations, bottom contours, and GPS numbers are on lots of fishing maps.
- Stop at a good tackle shop and ask a lot of questions. Don't expect a lot of good answers in the early morning when they are busy. Come a little later in the morning when bait buying the rush has slowed, and simply tell the owner you are new to the area and that you would like his or her help in locating some fish. They will be eager to help you, because if you are successful, it is likely they just found a new customer! They will mark a chart up for you if you buy it from them, and that chart can end up being the best investment you can make.
- When you get your chart, sit down one evening and study it. Find the cuts and channels. Locate the deeper holes or humps. Find the flats that will empty to a nearby channel at low tide. Chart study of this nature is basically eliminating large expanses of water rather than finding specific holes or places to fish. In any given area, there are literally miles of water that are not worth your while fishing. By simply eliminating that water, you can concentrate on more productive water.
- Find out what the tides will be on the day you plan to fish. When you talk to the local tackle shop be sure to ask which tides to fish.
If all else fails and you have the funds available, hire a guide. One day of fishing with a guide can teach you the areas to fish, the bait to use, and the tides to fish. Granted, the guide may take you to only one location, but you will at least have that location on which to count. Lots of you guides may get angry at me for suggesting this, but let's face it, it's a paid trip and you'll only be giving up one location, not your entire black book!