Patterns are the key to success on the water

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I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this happen, Joe Angler reads the fishing report in the paper or hears about one at a local tackle shop and decides he better get down there because the fish are literally “jumping in the boat,” or so the story goes. Well, Joe Angler gathers up all his gear the next morning and at sunrise he is at “the spot,” only problem is he is not alone, not by a long shot. Joe Angler now has dozens of boats all in the same small area all expecting to do a number on the fish; they are all sadly mistaken.

Joe Angler now is stuck out in a big way, he has taken to the water with no game plan other than to get to “the spot” and let the carnage begin. Joe Angler has fallen for one of the worst traps any angler can fall for, old information. There is a saying in the fishing world that holds true most of the time, “If you are not the one telling the fish story you are probably too late to take advantage it”.

Let’s look back at what Joe Angler might have done to help prevent this from happening again. When Joe read the report he should have looked for more pertinent information than “go to spot A”, he should have been concerned with patterns. Patterns in the fishing world consist of things like depth, structure, time of day, moon phase, bait, presentation, and many others. Instead of worrying about the exact location of the fish “Joe” should have been concerned with how these fish were caught and on what kind of pattern the fishermen used to catch them. Freshwater anglers are much better at this approach than saltwater anglers are; it seems saltwater folks get a little too concerned with exact locations.

If an angler can take some important information like depth, structure, and presentation from a report they can find water that will fit this pattern and that water will more than likely be much less crowded than “Spot A”. Over the last few weeks I have watched boat after boat of Texas anglers go to the same spots over and over on Calcasieu, it’s unbelievably comical because it looks like people waiting on a parking space at the mall! Rather than going out and looking for signs of fish these people are looking for signs that say “fish here”, and when that spot doesn’t pan out they look like deer in the headlights.

By taking useful information from a report an angler can make a much more informed decision on how and where to fish. By striking out on your own and doing some work you can find spots that many fishermen over look, when this happens you will become the one telling the fish stories instead of listening to them.

For the next several weeks we will be in discovery mode as several different patterns will emerge and all of them will catch fish. Many anglers will crawl out of the boat onto virgin flats in search of that one big fish while many others still will be waiting for the flocks of gulls to give away the next big school of fish. For those who decide to start early, the lessons they learn during this time of the year can be beneficial later on. By trying new areas you never know what you may “stumble” on, that one shell patch you didn’t know was there may be the key to your next great day on the water.

Discoveries like shell reefs, humps, guts, and other bottom contours are infinitely more valuable than a fishing report referring to “Spot A.” So next time you hear about a great fishing report be sure to listen to all the information and then decide what to do, the difference between hearing the report and listening to the report could mean the difference between a day on the water and a great day on the water.