Ten Percent of the Anglers Catch Ninety Percent of the Fish!

Archived in the category: Articles
Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Ten Percent of the Anglers Catch Ninety Percent of the Fish!

Probably the number one asked question by other anglers is… “How can I catch more and bigger fish?” I believe what they are really asking is; “Can you help me to become a better angler?

If there is any truth to the opening statement on fish catching success, it’s that most anglers are catching fewer fish. Most can increase their individual success to or near the top 10 percent by _mg_22811becoming better acquainted with fish habits and fishing methods. As fishing technology continues to develop anglers must continually gain knowledge of these new methods and styles if they want to be in the top percentile.

There is no single answer, piece of writing or book that teaches you the answers. The answers actually come with experience, application, and a true interest in learning to be a better angler. Having been at this fishing game for over 50 years I truly believe that because it’s something that really interests me… I’m still learning.

Here are some ideas that might help you reach your goal of becoming an excellent or at least a better angler. Hopefully, this may impart some wisdom to those who really want to learn and if you stay dedicated your catch ratios should increase.

It’s almost guaranteed however, that many will ignore the advice and choose to continue doing what they’ve always done which is certainly nature’s selection process. Dare to do something different and remember… “If you do what you’ve always done, the same way you’ve always done it you can only expect to get what you always gotten.”

Be Committed:

Make a conscious commitment if your plan is becoming a better angler. Every professional excelling in their field has an inner drive that pushes them harder and deeper and this natural progression needs to be in you from the start. Without this inner drive and desire you’re certainly in the majority. Becoming a first-rate angler is a mind set required from the beginning. We’ve all heard that fishing should be fun and enjoyable… not work. However, once you get serious and start thinking about what and why you do things it becomes more fun. Whenever you set out to excel at anything, it’s the “Commitment” that’s the hardest part.

Study, Educate and Comprehend:

One way anglers can supplement their knowledge of fish and fishing is to assimilate the knowledge and experience of others. Fishing magazine articles, television programs and word-of-mouth can never replace actual experience, but can have an impact on your success. Watching or reading about the techniques of others can often prove successful wherever you fish. Since few in today’s world have opportunity to fish every day, most recreational anglers rely to some degree on information generated by others.

There are thousands of “How To” books and articles written on every angling aspect. When you read them make certain you understand what you’re reading because you will need to apply it later. Angling styles and techniques change daily so don’t cubbyhole yourself into thinking there is only one way to do it. Today’s fishing industry is continually inventing new tackle and ways of catching fish.

Fishing Tackle:

Becoming a better angler is out of the question just by having the latest, greatest and most expensive equipment. Having the most expensive tackle may give others the impression you’re on top of the game when actually you’re the same average angler with thousands of dollars in tackle not used to its fullest. Having the highest quality tackle is great if you can afford it but all that quality fishing tackle is only as good as the person using it. On the other hand, top of the line tackle, in the hands of someone that understands its potential, certainly makes fishing more pleasurable.

There are thousands of people catching hundreds of fish each year on cane poles or the $19.95 rod and reel special because they understand the habits of fish and techniques required to catch them.

Write it Down:

Always keep a logbook. Keep a small notebook in your tackle box to jot down everything relating to how, when and where you caught fish. Then when you return home, take a moment to record this information in your main logbook. Keeping a good log allows you to duplicate or avoid what you did before and unless you write it down you will forget it.

What information should you keep? Record locations, weather conditions, time of day, moon phase, barometric pressure, wind direction and speed, tide and current data, water depth, ambient temperature, water temperatures, lures or live baits. Also record things like the type of line and leader, how much weight if any, type of hooks, did you use a float, did you chum, the list can be endless but the more you information you have the easier it is to duplicate the good days and avoid the bad ones.

Your logbook should include both good and bad days. Of course the good days are easy to write down however the bad ones can also teach you, so write them down. When reviewing your logbook keep an eye open for developing patterns because they give you the power of prediction, often limiting wasted efforts.

Fishing Reports:

There are literally thousands of highly regarded fishing reports published everywhere… Do not rely totally on the locations, baits and lures given. No one is going to tell you exactly where or how they caught fish because for some reason that information must be kept a closely guarded secret. It seems to be one of the most protected bits of information anyone can have and is seldom shared publicly. Overall, most fishing reports are general and give you a good starting point.

There is a place where you might pick up some useful information, and that’s your local bait and tackle shop. Not only is it a good place to buy your bait and tackle it a great source of information because every good shop has its finger on the fishing pulse for their area. They know what’s being caught, the general areas, and what baits people are using.

It’s also a great gathering place for anglers willing to tell about their last great exploit and provided you keep you eyes and ears open, they often slip up and reveal exactly where and how the img_0216great adventure took place. The idea is… eyes and ears open… mouth closed.

Aptitude and Proficiency:

Angling is a game of choices. When you’re fishing and not catching, the more alternatives you have the better your chances of finding a solution. Proficiency involves many aspects of the fishing game: fishing line, hooks, weights, lures, baits, reels, rods, casting, and knots. To become a better angler you should develop and aptitude for understanding these aspects. One solution would be becoming a better caster and others might be tying specific knots or cleaning and lubricating your rods and reels.

Casting accuracy and distance in good weather, bad weather, high winds, no wind, over-hand, side-arm, skipping, soft-landing is something you should know. Let’s take accuracy for example; placing the right lure at the right time in a strike zone often results in an instant strike.

Casting distance obviously, means the further the cast the larger the presentation area and the larger the area the better your chances of getting your bait in front of more fish. Casting accuracy means reaching that special spot and catching the fish others cannot reach.

Learn about artificial lures and live bait. Normally, live bait always catches fish; however, learning to use artificial’s pits you against the fish. Learning to fooling a fish into eating a piece of plastic or wood that might or might not resemble its natural food takes skill.

Ask most anglers to show you their tackle box and you’ll be amazed at the number of lures they have and the amazing thing is they only use a third of what they carry. Professionals understand which lures produce and which don’t. Normally, they only carry those baits in the color patterns they know will catch fish. Basically, every seasoned angler or professional has what’s referred to as confidence baits. Whether artificial or live it’s something they know they can catch fish on.

Learning where to fish requires certain skill levels and knowledge of the area. Many fish producing locations are considered challenging because they require you to fish shallow, deep, grassy or heavy structure. People fear these demanding locations because they don’t know how to fish them, are afraid of getting snagged, and losing their tackle. Understand that baitfish like structure and since fish like to eat other fish, it stands to reason they also like structure.

Understand the Weather (Logbook Information):

Weather patterns affect fish, baits, and people. You should begin understanding how the weather affects your specific area, species of fish, water clarity, wind direction, water temperature, tides, current and barometric pressure because they can definitely influence your success or failure.

The moon’s affect on tides and current flows, play an important role since changing depths will move fish and impact bait patterns. Any seasoned tarpon angler will tell you they prefer a strong outgoing rather than a slack tide. Why, because a strong outgoing tide moves bait and moving bait means eating fish.

Wind direction can also play a role in when fish eat. Some areas do not produce as well when winds blow from a particular direction. However, when it blows from another direction it has the ability to disturb certain food sources often congregating bait in those areas.

An important part of catching fish is figuring out when they feed. Prime feeding tables are available in many magazines and theorize feeding times based on moon/sun phases along with barometric pressure changes. While giving a general idea of when fish feed, nothing surpasses practical experience and your logbooks information. Try to fish when baits are readily available, fish are interested in eating, and not six hours later. It’s much better to fish for three hours at the right time than eight hours at the wrong one.

This learning process is ongoing and if you’re interested in being the best you can; stay informed about the latest techniques and products. Nothing works better than practical experience, so as you learn something new put that information to use… go fishing.

The top 10 percent of today’s anglers are the best not only because they know how to handle a boat or fishing tackle but because they employ all the options and strategies. So, if 10 percent of the anglers catch 90 percent of the fish… why not become one the 10 percent by trying something different.

This article is owned by Capt. Woody Gore and is copyright protected. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by Capt. Gore. wgore@ix.netcom.com