There is so much to learn if we can truly listen to what people are trying to tell us. Spending most of my life fishing, first with my father, and later in life with some of the best in the business has taught me it is very difficult to listen and truly hear what people are saying.
Most people have a similar problem wanting to carry on a two way conversation but instead of listening they are thinking about the next thing they will be saying. If you are lucky enough to spend some quality time with an advanced angler its always good especially if you are fishing to let them tell you how they succeed at catching fish. Two things that can really accelerate your learning curve is watching people rig there tackle asking the right questions at the right time, and watching techniques employed by guys in the know. These two chapters in a fisherman’s life are never ending. The more you learn through others that have the experience of catching fish, the better off you are. There is nothing that replaces time on the water and if you are around people that spend their time on the water successfully, these are the guys to turn your attention to.
The art of listening is easy if you can see the opportunities that exist right in front of you. No matter if its a half day skipper, one of your friends, or a renown captain in your area. Key is to make sure if they are comfortable enough to talk with you regarding fishing, that you listen. Its a lot easier to talk versus listen to people that have the knowledge to share, its human nature. Many of these fishermen are willing to share their information, it’s just a matter of asking them. Many of these individuals are charter boat captains and a good investment to any fisherman is to book a day with one of these guys. A lot of them are fishing daily so they follow not only the conditions but the habits of the fish. Its key to show your interest by asking questions on trips like these while the day progresses. Some of the best times are while you are running to the fishing grounds. The best way to start is talking what tackle you will be using and the rigging process which usually will pertain to baits or lures you will be using. Find out everything you can about leaders, knots, hooks they use and why plus pay attention to bait selection and how they hook it. The smallest details can lead to more fish caught.
The single most difficult task can be finding fish and talking with a seasoned captain on specific pieces of the puzzle he looks for during the day on the water can help you determine your own process in finding fish. Key things to ask or listen for in conversation include seasonal changes, water temp, natural bait sources for targeted species, current, lunar cycles, and structure. Seems like a lot of information but captains use this information to find fish throughout their trips. The more of these elements that you can figure out, the better your percentages are to catch fish. Maybe its water temperature and the ability to find bait close to structure, or could be lunar phase on the right current line. Doesn’t have to be all the elements but a combination of the right ones will lead to an awesome day on the water.
Remember, information gained is powerful especially from people that are successful at what they do. Nothing can beat quality time on the water learning but if you can supplement it with learning from people in the know either thru fishing with them, or listening during the conversations, it increases your chances of catching fish versus learning the hard way.
Some other good sources of information are reading articles by local captains, following chat boards, and creating a code group(Friends or local peers on the water) to share information with on your trips. All this can help your fish catching opportunities progress which will continue to put more information in your memory banks.
So next time you encounter a seasoned captain or angler that is willing to share his experiences, listen carefully and thank him for his time.
Hope this helps you catch more fish.