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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
When to fish...
April 2003

Is there any question?
This may not be a question for some of you who read here. You fish at every opportunity. Geographically, there are those who can fish everyday if work and the 'to do' list allow it. Of course, you are the envy of the rest of the fishing addicted world. Outside of those who fish whenever they choose, many are still likely to make some decisions about when to fish. You may be a planning quick trip or the adventure available to only once a year. Read on for some thoughts on determining your plans.

Factors for planning a fishing trip
As I was out on the road today it dawned on me that our current technology does not allow us to control the weather. I am not sure that humankind should be able to do this. However when you realize how much the weather effects our lives, even in our current level of technological advancement. last weekend I was in the Jacksonville area and there was a major golf tournament which was influenced by the weather. I return to the Atlanta area and another big tournament is also forced to adjust for weather. It may be different where you are but the weather in most of the places I can and do fish regularly have had some dicey weather for about the past 6 months.

How bad does the weather have to be to keep you from fishing? Maybe it is based on your personal comfort requirements. In that case it may change in relation to the length of time since your last fishing opportunity. I drive from 350 to 500 miles one way to fish on the flats. That means that when I commit to the trip I will do everything in my power to fish when I arrive. Reading a recent article there was mention that a light rain may actually favor the angler as the rain may make the fish less aware of the angler's presence in the shallow water. On a mountain trout stream the rainy days was a 'must fish' as the potential for catching large fish was improved. Weather that affects your safety should not be ignored.

More predictable in our planning to fish is the tide; charts are freely available to note the tide at a given location. The fact is that weather can make a difference in your tides. As you move south and the amplitude of the tides is reduced, a strong wind can have a major affect on the tides. Tide can be tricky even when you know what it is supposed to be as the affect can vary depending on where you are fishing; outgoing, incoming, at the change, or other.

Another weather factor that has been erratic for the past few months is the temperature. This can be equally important as the tidal movement. The times I have fished in the Keys it is critical that the water be within a small range for various species to be active in a an area.

Along with the rain the wind can be a factor in disturbances due to fronts moving through. As mentioned this may affect the tide level and the safety of a small craft on the water. Add to that the problems related to trying to make a cast with accuracy and distance. The wind will also affect your travel on the water and your drift while you are fishing. Of course you can not overlook the effects of the moon and solar system.

Are the conditions ever right?
With all of the factors that can affect a simple fishing trip you have to wonder if you the conditions are ever favorable. For those anglers that keep a detailed log it may provide some information on potential success for varied weather scenarios. With the complexity of the tidal environment the 'right' conditions could be different from one angler and species to another.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to be on the water within an hour you probably can overlook some of the conditions that are less than ideal. Your investment in time is such that it is worth the gamble. I am not sure that it is much different though if your time commitment is greater. If a fishing opportunity comes up infrequently and scheduling the time includes allowing for a trip to get on water you are likely to work around some adverse conditions.

I have heard many anglers who say you fish whenever you have the chance irrespective of the tides, wind, temperatures or rain. That may be the best plan. Not to say that you can not optimize your trip by making an effort to select a date when as many factors as possible favor your success.

Knowing that so many factors can determine your success it is wise that an angler be flexible and resourceful. This can be the difference between a day on the water and catching fish. If you take note of the angler that always seems to able to pull out a nice fish they are persistent but also have some option that works. It may just be 'thinking outside the box' and using an atypical presentation or lure. Maybe it requires going away from the confidence lure you would normally rely on.

Go fish..
We are due some better weather including the weekends. Even if conditions are not ideal, if it is safe you may as well get out and fish. I know experienced anglers increase their opportunities to catch fish but luck must have something to do with catching fish or I might never have caught anything.

When do you fish and have the best success? If you have some good advice you want to share with others send it to me and I will post it. As well, if you have other fishing tips, submit them for additions to the new
'Tips and Tricks' section of the site.

Let me know what you think.

Good Fishing,

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