Because I can flick a fly more than 100 feet, some people think I was born a saltwater samurai. Not true. Catching fish does take some natural talents (like patience, awareness and keen eyesight) but largely it’s because I’m an information vacuum cleaner, trawling ideas and information from a range of sources. Here are a few of my main ones. You might want to tap a few yourselves to stay ahead of the fishing fleet.
COMMERCIAL OPERATORS ON THE WATER
I’m not talking charter operators – I’m talking ferry operators, boatshed craftsmen, Navy dudes, guys on the wharves – and even The Captain’s crew when they’re testing boats. Most of these guys are on the water 24/7 – and they’re not buggin’ the hell out of fish like you and me. I know I’ll get call from the local marina when the kings are on top and on the chew. So keep a six-pack handy and stay connected to these guys – because they’ll help you connect to a fish. Even the local builder who works on beachfront mansions on the Northern Beaches tips me off when the birds are up. Just remember; someone, somewhere, is watching a huge school of pelagics chomp on the surface. Will they call and tell you about it?
Newsflash: fish all around the world tend to eat the same way. What does that mean to you and me? Well, the Yanks love their fishing, and they’re constantly testing new techniques and lures. Twenty years ago, nobody was using “micro jigs” or “blades”. Now, in some countries it’s a multimillion-dollar industry, so I subscribe to several leading international magazines and stay tuned to their websites and social channels. I also plan trips with these guys (paid and unpaid) to learn what they’ve learned – and try it out on the local fish population.
POWERS OF OBSERVATION
Without a doubt, the best source of information is first-hand. But, to make the most of that, you need to be eagle-eyed and open-minded. Instead of driving straight home from work, take a detour to the local ramp or headland. Scan the horizon for birds or boats. Are they anchored or drifting – bottom bashing or casting? Go to the markets and see what’s fresh. Talk to other anglers at the ramp. Talk to me! Maybe keep a personal diary – and refer back to previous seasons for the best tides, lures, baits and weather patterns. After all, fish are creatures of habit. Plus I’ve got a customer base always keen to share their powers of observation. I just have to ask the right questions…