Let’s face it, social media has made the fishing world a smaller place. Locations and techniques that were once guarded by a secret handshake and a personal voucher are now available to all anglers like samples at a Costco.
It’s all part of living in the information age. Anglers scour media outlets seeking a mountain of information in hopes that their next trip will be more successful. Fortunately or unfortunately — depending on how you look at it — trophy speckled trout always seem to be one step ahead. Their evasiveness across all estuaries seems to adapt to our thirst for knowledge. This sometimes leaves us scratching our heads. And that’s inspired me to write about one key component that is often overlooked: intuition.
I continue to educate myself on the latest equipment and techniques through the myriad of resources available online. I immerse myself in conversation about what is working in an area and where I should focus my efforts. And like many anglers, this doesn’t always lead me to success. What I’ve found to be most successful during many of my trips is my ability to make adjustments.
If you’re fishing an area that has been producing fish on topwaters and suspending baits, and the bite has seemingly shut down, you need to peel back the onion of why it’s not producing and consider adjusting your technique. Maybe it’s because there has been an environmental shift in conditions? Maybe the bait is staged differently on the flat? It could be a host of things. But figuring out and adjusting your technique could be the difference in your angling success.
As a result, a simple switch to a soft plastic with a varied retrieve might produce a bite. And when it does, strive for consistency. Another example may involve the fish moving all together. But having that intuition and confidence to make adjustments and find high-potential water comes with experience only achieved on the water.
Intuition vs. info
You should always trust your fishing intuition. I grew up under the fishing instruction of my dad. He always told me, “Son, don’t read about the news, get out there and make the news.” For years I heard that phrase. And as I continued to grow as an angler, the more it made sense.
What he was saying was, don’t fish an area just because you’ve heard it has fish. Instead, fish the conditions and find the fish. Too many times, I’ve watched him stop the boat and fish a spot we’ve never fished before and be successful. I’ve also been back to those spots on occasion and have had limited success simply because “conditions just weren’t right.”
Angling information, on the other hand, is what we find online. This could be tutorials on how to use your electronics, to better storing your soft plastics. It can also contain spot information from local forums about where fish are being caught. But it won’t necessarily put fish over the gunwales — your fishing intuition will.
I’ll leave you with this. My dad and I, on our first trip down to South Texas, fished with Capt. Mike McBride, a mentor and now a good friend. As you would expect, my dad and Mike got to talking about the centuries worth of trout fishing knowledge they both possessed. As a fly on the wall, on a flat in the lower Laguna Madre, I heard my dad utter his coined phrase to McBride. “Son, don’t read about the news, get out there and make the news.”
McBride, perpetuating his agreement, decided to move the boat one more time to adjust to a water-color change driven by the strong wind. Immediately, McBride and I went back-to-back on big trout. And without hesitation he looked at my dad and said, “Don’t read about the news, read the water, then make the news!”
I can’t encourage you enough to store what you’ve read online in your memory bank. Draw from that knowledge when required. But never second guess your intuition. This, and only this, will make you consistently successful.