FlatsFisher.com banner flats fishing information
Search r_gearshop
Article Archive

Back to current article

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
Another flats fishing year nears the end...
December 2003

Too late to change anything now.

But there are several things I would change if I could. I did not fish nearly enough. When a precious opportunity to fish came I did not always make the most of it.
That is something I can change in the future. There may be a difference in the motivation for anglers who get out on the water. There are those that rely on the fish they catch to supplement their food supply. It is uncertain how many would fit into this category. Likely those anglers could care less if fishing on the flats, the beach or a bridge. After all, many of the game fish that are targeted on the flats are regulated and the effort to catch a meal that meats the requirements could be a drain on limited resources. The point is, the fishing most recreational anglers do is just for fun. Nothing is riding on whether fish are caught or not.

Still, an angler judges the trip by catching fish, or a species of fish and/or a quantity of fish. All anglers can repeat the cliche that 'a bad day on the water is better than <fill in the blank>' which is probably true. Getting skunked still makes a difference though. Getting that first fish early in the day can take off some pressure. But this is fishing for fun, should there be any pressure? An angler can not escape the fact that fishing has performance requirements. Unless you are just content to be outside and maybe just wetting a line while you are there.

When I am fishing I enjoy the outdoors but I am have a purpose when I make a trip. More than some when you figure I am driving a few hours to get to my destination. To have better results I need to make those changes I mentioned.

Here is a 'Top Ten' list of things that also may help others have better results on the flats.

1) Get on the water early. The tides are important of course but getting on the water at sun up or just before and getting to your planned starting point will improve your chances. Too many trips I caught up with my fishing partners and heard about the bite rather than getting in on it.

2)Have everything ready to go when you get to your launch or put in. I always plan on doing this but never quite get it done. There is just 'one more thing' I need to load. This causes confusion and is a good bet to make you forget something you need. I do quite a bit of fishing from a kayak. There are many benefits compared to a power boat but one limitation is that you can't just throw all the rods and tackle in an sort it out on the water. This is where the pre-planning can pay off.

3) Don't take everything. This is a hard one for me. I like redundancy. I want to be prepared for almost anything that may come up. The problem is, too much 'stuff' and you can not find what you need when you need it. The debate about minimizing and what is a must have on the water will never be resolved. Use your best judgment and if you think you can do without it leave it. One option is to compartmentalize your gear. Make it fast and easy to select the gear you need for the fishing you will be doing that day.

4) Don't forget the necessities. Personal Floatation Device. Polarized sunglasses; got to have them. Flats Hat. Water. First Aid Kit. Emergency communications (cell phone, GMRS/FRS Radio, Marine Radio). Knife/scissors. I also suggest sun screen. By the way, a recent article in the 'Shallow Water Angler' magazine mentioned using hand cleaners to remove the sent of sunscreens, insect repellents and even snacks. Some research indicates that fish can be turned off even by minute residues that get into the water.

5) If you have not been on the water in a while, do some research so you know what is biting and maybe an idea of where to focus. Even better is to keep a log. I still have not started this but from personal accounts and articles I have read it may be the most valuable information you can have. You should note temperatures, water conditions, tides, weather patterns, among others.

6) Be certain that all your equipment is in working order. Rods guides should be checked (never can tell when you may knock out a guide insert). Reels should be fully spooled and lubricated (even better, have the reels serviced annually). Check your knots and shock leaders. Check your hooks.

7) Get some rest before the alarm goes off. There is never enough time. I usually find myself scrambling to get things ready just before heading out for a trip. I get excited. Just like a kid and Christmas. There is some new idea that I want to try or something I remember I needed to change from my last trip.

8) Stick to the basics. Or at least rely on the basics mostly. It can be hard to pass up the hot new lure. There are still tried and true lures and methods that just seem to work. I guess even those came from someone trying something different though. You can not miss by far if you have a jig (jig head and grub), a spoon, a topwater and maybe a suspending or diving plug. If you are fly fishing a basic streamer fly or clouser will typically catch something for you. There are many other great lures. I know, I think I have bought one or two of each. Limit the experimenting with new lures. If you do find something new though pass it along.

9) Don't get stuck in a rut. Another cliche but something to keep in mind when fishing. It is easy to limit your range to the spots you are comfortable with. You get to know an area, have some luck there and it is easy to pick that spot when you are making your plans. This is where the fishing log can be helpful. There can be benefits to fishing different areas. It keeps you sharp as you make adjustments for the different environments, currents, structure wind and such.

10) Last, I have it on good authority that starting out the day with a blueberry muffin may make all the difference.

Wrapping up another year I want to remind all anglers to conserve our natural resources. If you don't need to eat the fish you catch make sure they are released in good condition. As more interest grows in the outdoors so does the pressure that is placed on a finite resource. Anglers are faced with restrictions in the form of marine protection zones in the future. Hunters can make 'preserves' workable but the same thing is not easily implemented for anglers. So, help protect our fishing options by returning fish, preventing pollution and reminding others to do the same.

Get out and fish. Wherever you go, whatever you use make it a point to enjoy yourself.

Let me know what you think.

Good Fishing,

Search | Home | Articles | Reports | Reviews | Photos | Resources | Species | Contacts | Gear Shop
Privacy Policy - [Copyright 2004 Webb Information Exchange]