I do fish the tides. Fish follow the bait in and out, back and forth. And the bait moves in and out, back and forth with the tide. Bait means food, and fish are always looking for food. Hey – that’s why some fish migrate as far as they do! When the bait leaves an area to head north or south, the fish follow.
So this morning I’m looking for fish to be coming out of two particular feeder creeks that empty into the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). I'll be targeting redfish and flounder, but I expect a few trout to show up as well. The water has warmed a bit because we have hard warmer days, so the fish will be sensing that and should be on a feed.
As usual, I’ll be looking for bait at the mouth of those creeks. If the bait isn’t present, the fish will probably not be there, so I have some back-up plans in place.
Do you have some “go to” places you fish when nothing else works? I have more than a couple of them, and I find it very difficult to run past them and work to find fish when I know I could stop right there and catch fish. If I stopped every time, they would cease to be my “go to” places! I’ve even slowed in the past and looked as I went by and have seen bait working – knowing there are fish there! It’s awfully tempting to just stop and catch.
But when I make a fishing plan, I try to stick to it. I don’t just think of a few places to fish – I make a concerted effort to plan my day. I look at the tides, my fishing log, the weather, the wind direction, and even the day of the week. Yes, the day of the week matters as far as am I fishing the weekend or a week day. Boat traffic - or lack thereof - plays a big part of my fishing plans. I try to be very deliberate about my plan.
Does that mean I have turned the joy of fishing into some kind of time constrained exercise in being on time? Well, I guess you could lock at it that way, but if I want to be successful, I have to plan, and I have to plan around the tides and time. I guarantee that you do the same thing unconsciously.
I don’t take out a schedule book on the water and see that we need to move to be in location x because it’s time to be there! But I will know my plan and time frames well enough before I leave that I can be where I need to be.
I’m not going to leave location “x” for location “y” if I am on fish and we are still catching them! The plan I made is to help me find fish. If I find them, and I am catching them, the plan has worked and I will now enjoy the fishing. But if I do not find fish at location “x” and I am there when I think I should be, I will not waste an entire morning casting and not catching. I’m moving on with my plan. It actually does work for me.
Even in a small boat on a lazy day, you can make a fishing plan that should help you be successful. The key is sticking to your plan. Plan your fishing – then fish your plan!