Locals only or Worldwide?
“Pssst…..hey buddy? I got what you need, GPS coordinates, reef names, secret
spots full of shell guaranteed to give you what you’re looking for. I got it
all.” In a wide eyed frenzy the unsuspecting and overly enthusiastic angler
who’s hungry for information does exactly what you would guess, he buys it all.
Anything for an edge and everything for a big fish. The quest for these big fish
drives many folks to extreme measures and often different locations. The biggest
key to success is just simply knowing the what, when, where, and how of each
location and all that starts with information.
Gathering information for a fisherman takes on many forms. For years it was a
difficult task to find out anything truly helpful on a new body of water without
spending the time to get to know it. Anglers went to great lengths to acquire
local knowledge. Hiring local guides to give a “Readers Digest or Cliffs Notes”
version of a particular area was the most logical way to get your feet wet. For
those a little more adventurous there was the overhead method, taking a plane or
helicopter for a ride with a camera and a map. Lots of B.A.S.S. guys employed
this method for many years since you could cover so much area in such a short
amount of time.
Fast forward to today and the all the electronic wizardry that’s available and
you can just about make the claim that there are no more “secret spots”.
Websites like Google Earth will show you just about anything out there in clear
vivid detail. Companies like Navionics make GPS and mapping chips that are so
detailed it’s ridiculous. They even make them updateable from their website so
you get the latest and greatest information available.
Now with all this electronic help it’s awful easy to get lulled into a false
sense of security. Several years ago I saw a boat on Sam Rayburn that had run
aground and flipped over on what was supposed to a submerged hump. 2 anglers
from out of state armed with a high dollar GPS were involved in the crash. Yes
they were on the right route. Yes they were following the coordinates. No they
didn’t realize the lake was 10 feet below pool at the time so they crashed. A
GPS doesn’t make you invincible nor will it guarantee you that you will be fine
if you follow the track. This is where local knowledge and plain old common
sense comes in to play.
There is no substitute for local knowledge or time on the water, it’s just plain
priceless. If you are so fortunate to find someone willing to share some
information by all means respect their areas and do your best to reciprocate the
exchange of information when you can. The exchange of information between
fishermen can be the difference in struggling and success. On a recent trip to
Gulf Shores Alabama I couldn’t help but want to fish the surf in front of our
condo as it appeared to be alive at times with bait and all sorts of activity. I
took a trip to the local tackle shop, J and M Tackle, and got all the info I
needed to make my trip a success. These folks were really nice and very willing
to help an out of state angler like myself. It’s very rare when you can’t get a
good tip or piece of information at the local tackle shop; it’s the first place
to start asking around when you go to an unfamiliar body of water.
Now an even helping of electronic help and local know how will certainly put you
on the right path to success but don’t ever rule out bringing your own secret
weapon. Many times I have seen anglers show up at an unfamiliar body of water
and use a technique that the locals never dreamed of and be successful. I guess
that’s what makes the sports so interesting, the fact that there are no
absolutes and anything can happen. Here’s hoping you find all you need on the
information highway and each stop along the way.