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Sunday, Sep 24, 2017
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Angling success is all in the details

One of my buddies wears his lucky fishing hat. No bananas are allowed on another buddy's boat. Secret rituals ensure others' luck when heading out fishing. But it's often been said your fishing luck is defined when skill, planning, and preparation come together. If these three segments form luck then, for sure, putting them together you will make you a "lucky" angler. Take a look at successful tournament anglers. Those who are consistently in the winner's circle are some of the "luckiest" of the bunch. But is it really luck at all? Take a look at three factors that turn fishing into catching.
Skill Practice! Practice! Practice! Casting accuracy and distance are paramount to getting lucky while fishing. There is no substitute for angling skill, particularly when you fish with artificial lures and attempt to convince a fish that what you are presenting is the real thing. Not only do you have to make accurate casts, but you also must give the rod the right twitches and retrieve lures at the right speed to give them a natural and enticing action that appeal to the targeted fish. Setting up a casting course in your yard and casting to hoops, buckets, tea cups and such will increase your skill, but not without a lot of practice. Then, once you get to where you can hit your targets, step it up a notch by moving your targets under overhanging limbs of bushes where you'll have to cast under the limbs to hit the target. Long distance casting is important to your catching since getting your lure as far from you and your boat as possible will allow your targeted fish to feel at ease and avoid the lockjaw feeling they get when spooked by someone encroaching on their space. The better you can cast with distance and accuracy, the more successful you will be. Preparation Getting your boat and tackle ready before heading out will ensure everything works when you want it to. Servicing your motor before things break, checking your trailer wheel bearings for grease, checking tire wear, making sure your reels are spooled with fresh line and drags are smooth and rod guides are in good shape – all those details will ensure your bad "luck" will be minimal. Planning Making a plan with back up plans is essential to success if you want to catch fish. Every fishing day should start with a plan around tides, solunar periods, sun and moon rise and set, air and water temperatures, wind direction and velocity, cloud cover, water turbidity and other factors that will affect your catch rate. Some factors, such as the predicted tide levels and major and minor solunar periods, are known and can be plugged into your plan. This will be the base for your plan. Inshore, fish move with the tide levels, as does the food they seek. For instance, at dead low tide, many oyster bars will be exposed, mangrove islands will have no water around them and the flats could be bare. If you're looking to catch redfish or snook that feed around these locations, you'll need to know when the tide turns to come in, when it is high, and when it heads out. Knowing when the tides surge and increase in velocity is more of an on-site thing, but tides usually move fastest about two-thirds into the phase. If you want to catch fish, your objective is to be where the fish are at any given time of the tide. By increasing your level of skill, making sure you're prepared and planning properly, you'll find you can be consistently "lucky" and see a greater portion of your time spent catching than fishing.

Capt. Ray Markham can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474.

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