I get to do a lot of fishing in new and different places ranging from far little corners of the world to neighborhood hot spots. Whether I find myself fishing for billfish or dunking a chum bag to entertain our guests kids with whatever species will come along, I first want to get the bite and be sure the entertainment level is as high as possible, boredom is a sure recipe for a disinterest in fishing, no matter what age we are. Whenever I fish a new place I try to apply some very basic and methodical techniques to help me find fish and then hopefully get some bites and entertain myself and those fishing with me. It is a very basic and easy process that rarely fails. Basically we put pieces of a puzzle together and then go hunting.
First, I have to obtain the most recent local knowledge about what has been biting and where they have been biting. In most cases, any information from five to six days old coupled with the most recent information I can gather will help me to start putting together a pattern of activity that I can then try to break into and put myself in position to catch the particular species we are targeting. Sometimes, we don’t even target a species, we just wants bites and entertainment, especially when the kids are along. We gather this information from the local tackle shops who are usually always dialed-in to what’s happening. If something is biting, they are selling tackle and want to help you go and catch fish so they can sell more, just ask. If you are in a completely new location,look into booking a charter or getting a day with a guide to see what techniques they are applying and perhaps even get a general idea of where they have been fishing. The internet has also become a great place to do this research, just about every local fishing area has a website containing message boards filled with posts from guys that have recently fished and usually share more information than you may need. This information will also help you determine what fish you have the best shot of catching depending on the season.
Next, we obtain the best charts to help us fine tune our knowledge of the local spots and the names they are referred to. By having this information, if we hear of a bite starting to happen somewhere and we know the spot, we can make a move and get there hopefully before the bite ends and have some action. Even if we are too far to move at the time, we can use that information for the next day, so as the fish and action move, we move with,them. Keeping an ear out to the vhf radio chatter for information can be deceiving, be,sure to note the names of the local charter boats that fish regularly and try to determine if,the information is solid and is worthy of a move, don’t take the radio info as gospel and,learn to read between the lines.,Now that we have all this information, we know where to go and we have the right,locations we need to apply it. Being properly prepared in the tackle department will,dramatically increase our entertainment prospects as well. Having a solid plan and all the,gear to catch tuna on one day may be useful, but if they don’t bite and something else,,like kingfish are biting and you don’t have the gear, you are missing the opportunity.Having a good selection of tackle including conventional and spinning tackle as well as a,variety of terminal tackle allows you to take advantage of what we call “opportunity fishing.” In other words, if what we specifically target doesn’t cooperate, we may happen upon another situation that would allow us to entertain our anglers with bites and we have to be ready to switch gears and take advantage of that possibility. From my home port there are many days the sailfish don’t cooperate, yet we can entertain our anglers and fill in some time by moving inshore and maybe catching some kingfish or getting to some wrecks and working them with different techniques to get bites from several different species. Being prepared and willing to work to take advantage of the opportunity will turn many so-so days of fishing into fun ones.
Lastly, never underestimate the power of chum or a fish attractant, especially with kids onboard. Anchoring up or drifting with a chum bag over the side will generally provide a good deal of entertainment for the kids and get some bites to give them the thrill of catching a fish. Using a chum or fish attractant will keep your kids entertained and have them asking you to take them again. By applying these very basic principals, you can improve your fishing and catching as well as provide entertainment that will remembered for years.