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June 2002
Silver Spoons
August 2002
Starting Flats Fishing
September 2002
Beginning Gear - pt. 1
October 2002
Beginning Gear - pt. 2
November 2002
The Courteous Angler
Dec 2002/Jan 2003
Reflections at the
Tide Change
February 2003
Jerkbaits, another look
March 2003
How important is presentation?
April 2003
When to fish...?
May 2003
New ideas
September 2003
Flats Fishing 101 (recap)
December 2003
Another flats fishing year ends
Jan - Feb 2004
New year, new opportunities
March 2004
Flats fishing on any budget
August 2004
Special Request - Hurricane Report
Getting in to flats fishing
August 2002

I am back. Not that I went anywhere. I did make a few fishing trips but that was not the reason that I have missed some updates on the site. I had the idea for this article soon after I posted the June article. I am still working out some of the site function and hope to simplify the process of adding new content. Enough of this.

Step 1: Go do it
Going back a little more than a year I am recalling how I returned to fishing the waters of my youth. I am not sure why I ever quit and surprised I was not more active when there were no real responsibilities to keep me away from it. When I look at the concerns of anglers today and how much the fishery has changed (not for the best I think) there is no doubt that I missed the real 'glory days' of salt water fishing in Florida. So, too many years later, I have some catching up to do. My first forays back to slat water angling were in the Florida keys with a fly rod chasing tarpon and bonefish. This may not have been the easiest way to return to fishing salt water. I use a fly rod on mountain streams for trout but it is different in many ways. I found myself trying to learn new tackle and hoping to make a decent cast. If you have fished the Keys you may be familiar with the wind on the ocean side (if not you may be living right). Spotting fish was not that difficult but getting opportunities to make a presentation was less likely. Still, I was immediately hooked. Just the act of fishing would have been enough. Add to that the incredible blue water, beautiful grass flats and an island mentality. There was no doubt I would repeat this as soon as possible. Take that first trip and there is a real possibility that you will have a strong urge to repeat your adventure.

Step 2: Find a fishing buddy
I had to think about this second step for a while. I am not sure what could have kept me from doing more flats angling after the Keys trips. In a couple of three day trips I had not a single hook up (not counting an instant that a smaller bridge tarpon hit my last resort bonefish fly). I was inclined to say 'practice' or maybe having some successful outings. I think having someone who shares your interest, adds to the fun. I fish alone on many occasions but catching that big fish is always better when someone else can see it with you. I usually am much better about getting an early start if I have the commitment of meeting a fellow angler.

Any angler will do. It should be someone who you don't mind spending some time with. But better still would be to find a fishing partner who knows what they are doing. This was a key for me. I did not set out to do this. On one of my first trips out I met an angler that I immediately recognized as someone how knew what they were doing. I fished wit others on several occasions but made it a point to try to spend any time I could asking questions and observing how this angler found fish, presented lures, what equipment was used. I have had the opportunity to do this in the past when I began to learn about stream fishing in North Georgia. By my fourth trip I had caught the first redfish in my life and it was a very respectable 27 inches. I fished the hole that that my knowledgeable partner discovered and using the same lure. I learned quite a bit that day. My last several trips down I located my own fish. In a recent tournament I had the third largest red (28.5 inches), a month later I landed a fish that was about 30 inches. Last month I was down and located a school of reds that I put several other anglers in our group on and ended the day with two reds 30 inches and another five slot sized fish. Fishing with others encouraged me to continue even when success was just avoiding the skunk. Having others to learn from brought success much faster than my trial and error would have.

This is where we will stop for now. In the next article I will talk about equipment.

Let me know what you think.

Good Fishing,

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