Wow! This Intenet thing is really a big help lately. Tides, fishing reports, tons of information, fishing gear and so on, it’s all there. The only thing missing is the first hand experience of fishing by you, the person fishing. Getting on the water and fishing is the only way to keep up with consistent patterns the fish take.
Here is a good example of how being there improved my chances of catching some nice fish. Last year on vacation to Martha’s Vineyard the fishing pattern of the false albacore changed as the week progressed and being there was the only way to know what was happening as most of the anglers are tight lipped. I like fishing the Cape Poge “Gut” early in the morning down on the flats because the fish explode on the bait in shallow water and when hooked have no where to go but out. The fish enter the Gut where the first anglers positioned near the mouth of the inlet get the first shot at the fish. The fish move down the shoreline on their way to the flats and inside the pond where I wait with others anglers to get in on the action. But things began to change later in the week for some reason and the albies headed down the center of the channel after entering the inlet passing us by on their way back into the pond. Only the first set of anglers was hooking up near the inlet, also the anglers on the other side were catching hooking up more often. If they did come close enough to us down on the flats they were under our rods traveling at break-neck speeds, picking off bait and darting away. If I had not been there to learn this pattern I would have ended up going away without even having a chance at the fish. Learning the where and when to fish is important, even a first hand report over the Internet is no substitute for being on the water.
Heading to a fabled fishing area or recent hot spot is no guarantee of success. Being successful is hard work and takes a some trial and error. Just because the fish are hitting on the incoming morning tide on a particular day doesn’t mean the next day the same will be true, though it probably will if everything remains the same. Things may change to the afternoon incoming and only being there will give you the answers. Night fishing for bass is a good bet but after last year’s late November run it proved to be early morning at first light that was the only time that the fish came alive and that changed every couple of days. I fished all night without a hit but started taking fish just as the sky began to lighten up. I passed on this information to others hoping to save them time and making the most of their day on the water. You guessed it, not a fish at first light, they began hitting later in the day, around 2pm. Good thing they stayed for the whole day to find this out.
Having a fishing friend help you out is much better than the Internet. It is the personal experience that brings the little secrets to life. How the person tells the story is another plus. I love to hear a good fishing story, especially one with details of wind, water and wildlife. Pointing out what type of bait was around is a big help as it prepares me for the next time out. Spearing, sand eels, herring…….what was around means carrying the right selection of flys and lines. Hooked a fish on a slow retrieve with a Clouser…..this means they were deep or at least near the bottom. Found them with a popper…..this means the were really active or the popper was used as a searching fly. These are all clues on how to catch your quarry next time out.
Share your information, telling others of you good fortune does not mean that they will cash in on your success, especially if the adventure was a week ago or even a couple days ago. Tides and the wind could have changed and with that so does the fishing. I have found the members of the Salty Fly Rodders to be very free with their information and I hope this practice continues. It is good for the club and creates a closeness among members that translates into success for everyone.