Ever wonder why the most successful fishermen just seem to know what to use and where to throw it? It’s because of their ability to read conditions, which, by the way, anyone can learn to do.
The best fishermen are keen students, and they know their target species’ preferred comfort zones and forage and feeding strategies. Just as importantly, they understand the conditions that turn on feeding behavior. All of these determine where you’ll find biters.
For consistent success, be alert to changes in water color and temperature (and current, tide, wind and other factors, where applicable). Professional anglers are constantly processing this information. Their ability to decipher subtle signs allows them to be at the right spot at the right time — and throwing the right baits.
The speed at which good anglers adapt to everchanging information is what distinguishes them from average guys. Largemouth bass might have been blasting topwater plugs sky-high every morning, for example, but when that pattern shuts off, savvy skippers will start prospecting adjacent cuts and drop-offs for deep-holding bass. And when that first fish coughs up crawdads, not shad, you’ll know that you made the right move.
It takes time to gain such expertise, of course, but you can shorten the learning curve by keeping a log of each trip. Keeping a logbook that details trip activity and notes environmental factors will, over time, prove invaluable.