Many anglers look forward to their weekend fishing trip to get time on the water doing what they love. More times than not their trips are not as successful as they can be and a lot of that comes back to the old saying ” Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. This little article will give you a good start how to plan out your fishing trips to increase your percentages on catching fish.
One of the first things to select is the days you are fishing. If its a annual fishing vacation planning is very important especially if the fishing is seasonal. If your focus is pelagic gamefish try to focus your time during the height of the season so your percentages are higher to find those fish in the area you are fishing. If its fishing on the next weekend your time is set so some of the other factors will be more important to determining your success.
Good information is key prior to taking a fishing trip. There are several things to be thinking about but the most important is the ability to make sure you have a good idea where the fish will be located. If its inshore fishing or chasing offshore species the same thing applies find good sources for up to date information. The best possible scenario is to form a code group of anglers that you know and trust who spend time on the water. If you get the right guys, and these guys understand what they put out is what they get back information wise. Some guys fishing during the week can feed information to the weekend guys and vice versa. Nothing like finding guys with the same passion and push to catch fish especially if everyone is helping each other. Where do you find these guys? Local fishing clubs, friend of a friend, fishing chat room, launch ramp, or maybe even a tournament. People that are to be trusted need to earn that trust. You find people that put you on fish, try to do the same for them which is a fast way to develop that code fishing relationship. If you see guys catching fish and not putting info back into the pot obviously they are not the right people to code with. This kind of information is super important to finding the fish so listen and evaluate it to make the best possible guess you can.
The second thing that is critical to successful fishing is finding the right baits and techniques to catch the targeted fish to are chasing. This sometimes can be very difficult especially to successful tournament guys to give away information on “how to” catch fish. What you need to be thinking while developing your plan is seasonal time of the year in regards to bait runs, possible historical data on what worked last year, weather, lunar phases if they play a part, tides, currents, and anything else in your regional area that might make the difference. There is a lot of information on the web to look at in regards to increasing your catch ratio and local magazines can be helpful to reference. As for tackle, you should have a basic idea of what you will need if you have spent a few seasons on the water. If you are new to the sport, nothing better than going to your local tackle store and talking with the resident tackle expert. This way you have the basic idea what tackle is being purchased for the task at hand.
Seminars are excellent ways to get pertinent information by local experts that gives you hands on experience by guys catching fish. This type of information is invaluable for future trips. Captains that fish for a living spend more time on the water so they are able to give you a better picture of things to look for, and ways to think when targeting gamefish. They are the guys that know the baits to use and the techniques that work from one time to another. This information is available prior to season so make sure you are aware of any possible seminars coming your way. Make sure you are on the local tackle store mailing list as well as visiting any shows in the area.
Tackle prep is super important making sure your line is good, you have the right terminal tackle(hooks-sinkers etc.), good leader, and most importantly all the basics are covered. Super important is to have all your knots covered so you can tie them in a tight spot but more importantly make sure they are cinched down. Pig tails are the worst thing to see once you have lost a fish and the prior planning slogan covered above will haunt you even more. You remember the fish you catch, but the ones you lose are always in your head throughout your life.
If you are using your own boat there is nothing more important then making sure your safety equipment is on the boat. Make sure you are coast guard approved before launching. Visit the US Coastguard site prior and look under safety equipment required on your vessel. Make sure you have the appropriate things to land fish like the right net or gaff, plus a good pair of pliers, fillet knife, and for safety a small set of bolt cutters for a hook emergencies like a 10/0 in a buddies hand to cut the barb.
One of the most important things to watch is weather starting 10 days out watching it daily. Things can change and there is nothing more important then knowing you are safe going on the trip. NOAA has regional maps and one really killer phone app that is out there is called windy which gives you on the minute reports and future predictions on wind in the area you are looking to fish. Nothing more important especially if you are doing a canyon run with friend, or fishing the outer islands with the family. Safety first.
The last most important thing is enjoy your days fishing. Take the family and kids when possible so they understand your passion on the water. Nothing better than developing future fishing partners for the years to come. Keep what you can eat and let the rest go were this applies. Do your homework prior to fishing and work on developing relationships with similar minded people that share the same passion.
Fishing through Life and Life through Fishing is what it’s all about.