Cutline:  Finding fish by understanding the variables keeps every fisherman interested.

 

Capt. Chuck Uzzle

For the Record

 

One of the biggest and most intriguing factors that keep fishermen coming back 

day after day is the process of discovery, figuring out the puzzle so to speak. 

The task of sifting through all the variables and making sense out of all the 

factors in order to establish a pattern is what drives many anglers. Unknowingly 

we all go through the same process every time we fish but without the fanfare. 

Most of us don’t realize we are even doing it, establishing a pattern, but just 

as sure as water is wet we are doing exactly that. 

Now there are way more folks who fall into the category of “routine” fishermen 

than those who actually take the time to go about establishing a solid pattern. 

The guy who hooks his boat up, launches at the same launch, fishes the same 

spots, and throws the same bait trip after trip is a “routine” fisherman. The 

law of averages eventually rewards this guy with a good trip or two, just enough 

hope and success to keep him coming back day after day. Now I can’t tell you 

what the “routine” fisherman does is wrong because different folks have 

different goals and expectations. If “routine” fisherman has a good time on the 

water and enjoys his trip then more power to him, but there is much more out 

there see and a whole lot more fish to be caught. 

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the technique of establishing a pattern I 

ever heard of was demonstrated by a very accomplished guide on Sam Rayburn by 

the name of Will Kirkpatrick. Will actually taught classes on fishing and showed 

anglers how to apply the techniques he taught. One of the best ones was “how to 

establish a pattern”. Anglers in the class were given a stack of 3 x 5 note 

cards before they went out to fish. On the cards the anglers were to write down 

a variety of information every time they got a bite or caught a fish. Water 

depth, surrounding structure, water temp, lure, retrieve speed, and so on were 

all noted by each angler. At lunch or dinner that evening the anglers were to 

bring their stack of cards and start sorting through them. Little by little each 

card was put into a stack until they were all done. It was amazing at the end of 

the sorting process how each angler could now physically put their hand on one 

stack, that was usually the largest, and see exactly what the common 

denominators were in their pattern. This process is what we as anglers need to 

be able to do mentally in order to narrow down the options and realize just 

exactly what the pattern is for that specific day. 

Okay so now you understand the method of how to decipher the pattern, the only 

question is “how do I get started?” A few basic questions first come to mind 

that should shed some light on the subject. First one has to be about things you 

cannot control, meaning weather conditions. Weather obviously plays a huge 

factor in determining your strategy for that days trip on the water. For 

arguments sake we are going to make weather a non-factor, it’s drop dead perfect 

conditions and no water is off limits due to bad winds or other limiting 

factors. The next uncontrollable factor has to be tides, either you have them or 

you don’t, no in between. Tidal movement will certainly influence your approach 

and should determine where and how you start your day. 

A truly dialed in pattern is a thing of beauty and helps to promote confidence 

in any angler. When you step on a boat to go fish with your buddy or a guide and 

they tell you something is going to happen and as soon as you stop at the right 

spot it starts then it seems as if everything in the world is right. The more 

skilled you become at putting these pieces together and being able to decipher 

the puzzle the more enjoyable your trips on the water will become. Don’t become 

a creature of habit, take the clues you are given and put them in order in a 

very simple and basic fashion and watch what happens. The results become much 

more predictable and your time on the water becomes much more pleasant as your 

results get better with each and every trip. It’s always been said “knowledge is 

power” , the more you know the better off you are.