More and more people are going boating these days. There’s nothing better than being able to jump on your own boat and leave behind the concrete jungle on a whim. Even for just a few hours, fishing on your own boat is a therapeutic experience.
Of course, every fishing experience improves greatly when you’re actually catching something. Finding great fishing spots is often a result of many days of trial and error. It might even take years before the truly great spots are discovered.
You don’t need to fish in the dark, so to speak. Rather than just looking for areas already popular among anglers, you should seek out your own little oasis. Fish may congregate in popular waters, but the bites won’t be great.
For some help finding good fishing spots, we’ve gathered this list of tools and strategies.
Gadgets to Help Navigate
Technology has brought fishermen a lot of opportunities to find fish. You have apps that curate fishing spots and high-tech sonar to spot activity. While the fishing apps do help avoid wasting time in dead zones, they aren’t very reliable.
These apps should only be used as suggestions. What you should really be using are portable depth finders to find hidden fishing spots. These will alert you of any dips in the sea floor where fish can congregate. View here for more info on these devices.
Before you go out and start wandering the open waters aimlessly, do some research. Start with your local fishing and outdoor suppliers. Those who run their own bait and tackle shop are likely out there fishing on their days off, too.
You might not get the super-secret fishing locations, but you will get some useful advice. You can correlate these spots with the local fishing news. You should find some overlapping of opportune locations and times to go fishing.
Hone-in on Ideal Environments
Scope out these fishing spots nearby, see if there are any indicators that fish may be present. There should be rocky formations, vegetation, or any man-made structures providing shelter. Docks and bridges are popular hangouts, so you’ll likely see your competition there.
Don’t Give Up, Don’t Settle
There’s a fine line between giving up too early and sitting like a duck. Cast your line and try sitting on it for 10-15 minutes. Switch bait and technique up after no action for half an hour.
Your fishing gear might also be the issue, so make sure you have the best tools available.
Charting Great Fishing Spots
Finding the best fishing spots near me is a matter of trial and error. It’s important to learn from those errors, though. If you’re fishing out in the open waters, sometimes landmarks and visual cues are missed.
The last thing you want to do is waste hours wandering in circles looking for where you last found fish. Using nautical charts can help you navigate the waters in a more efficient way. In combination with your portable depth finder, you can quickly cut down search times.
You will also find it easier to set up the best positioning along down-tide zones. This is where a lot of fish prefer to gather as they don’t need to expend a lot of energy staying still. These principles also apply to deep sea fishing, too.
Master the Currents
Depending on which type of fish you are going for, tides and currents can predict where they will gather. While you may have found your favorite catch under the docks one day, they might move farther out another. Some fish feed in a more active manner, while others prefer to ambush their prey.
This is why so many fishermen often get inconsistent results and overlook potential opportunities. Before you try to predict behavior, you must know when and where the currents will travel. This will help you avoid wasting bait on the wrong fish.
Know Thy Fish
Continuing off the last point about the importance of current behaviors, different fish have different quirks. Some behave differently once the sun sets, changing where and how they move. You have to know how deep your target species will swim.
Do they like to forage, are they active hunters, or do they feed at the surface? This will determine what bait you’ll be using, jigging techniques, or how long it may take before you get a bite. The weather also influences certain species a lot.
All the time spent reading about the behaviors of your target fish will be worth it. You’ll see far fewer days where you go home empty-handed. There’s a reason why some fishermen are successful wherever they go.
They learn everything about their environment, the species, and their behaviors.
Big vs Little
An important side note when it comes to knowing the species: fish size matters. If you’re fishing for the big catches, you’ll need to understand hunting conditions more. Big fish don’t get big out of chance, these dominant members exploit their competition.
Usually, big fish will take advantage of surrounding populations or competing fish species to eat more with less work. Sounds pretty obvious, but it takes some getting used to when you’re looking for them. You’ll need to not only be up on your target fish’s behavior but also their competitors or neighbors’.
Targeting the big fish is like playing multiple games of cat-and-mouse. You have to make sure your mouse is the most appetizing.
Prepare for Long-term Success
With this guide for finding all the great fishing spots, you should be able to round out some of the rough edges that exist in your fishing routine. Fishing is two parts preparation and one part instincts from experience. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t, but that should not determine success.
You should travel with quality outdoor gear to make your trips more convenient. Check out our guides on camping gear and outdoor adventures. You’ll find plenty of professional advice from experienced hunters and fishermen.