In today’s world everything is faster — faster cars, faster boats, faster Internet — and regrettably, most anglers seem to take this approach to fishing as well. This week I will be speaking in the generalities of angling, not just points on the fly. I urge all anglers of all ages to slow down when you are out on the water; take it all in and learn. Though most of us can find fish in our local waters, if you take the time to observe you will catch more and have greater success in areas that are not your normal stomping grounds. Fly anglers tend to fish very methodically as blind casting all day will wear a fly caster out; this is not as true of a statement with the spinning rods as one can search an entire area relatively quickly and with little energy expended. Spend a day moving slowly and watching the mannerisms of the fish and I am sure you will be rewarded.
Running and gunning is the norm out on the Gulf, but too many anglers do the same in the flats and backwaters. They try a spot for 10 minutes and if they have no success, they fire up the engine and move on — unaware of the fish they are running over or away from. Try this instead: Next time you get on your favorite flat set the anchor and do two things. One, sit up as high as you can with a good pair of polarized glasses and just watch. Be quiet and be patient — just observe and do not even pick up a rod. Two, get out of the boat or kayak and walk around slowly and quietly. When doing this, try not to look for fish so much as look at the habitat. Studying the habitat will teach many things, not just what is the bottom cover made up of. Look closer — what kind of critters do you see scurrying around? Do you see baitfish, shrimp or maybe crabs? Seeing these types of things will allow you to return to the area the next day with a proper understanding of what the target species will be hunting. Walk on around an oyster bed at low tide and flip over some oysters and rocks; take note of the size, shape and color of the animals living in, on and around these areas. Why throw a crab imitation if there are clearly none in the area?
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