Did you ever hear the saying, 10 percent of fishermen catch 90 percent of the fish? Well, from my experience this holds true.

A lot of fishermen go out and just fish areas where they see others fishing. Sometimes this pans out, but more likely is that it’s a slower bite due to all of the fishing pressure. Instead, do the necessary homework and find your own spots.

Where to Start

Marine or nautical charts are the best place to start your next fishing expedition as you can get a lot of good information from these such as structure, depth changes, bottom characteristics, points and cuts. If fishing the backwaters, fish will generally setup in positions on the down-tide edges where they can face the oncoming current while minimizing their energy expenditure. Rockpiles, ledges, and drop-offs are key areas to focus on.  Ocean fishing will be similar, and you might want to look for deepwater structure and depth changes as fish will usually use these areas to feed on baitfish.

Current Effects

Fish will have a tendency to want to use as least energy as possible and setup on areas that have baitfish and provide ambush opportunities. The tidal current which can fluctuate once or twice a day depending on location, and will bring in nutrients and baitfish to areas. As the current increases, fish will tend to stay in a relatively stationary position. Certain species may be a little more dynamic in position and will patrol a certain area during the flow or ebb tide. For example, Striped Bass generally will patrol a “rip” by staying behind the bottom structure and can swim from one side to the other end without being affected by the current.

Knowing Your Target Species

It is vital that you do some research on the species your targeting. Use the library, internet, and hands-on information on your species. Are they surface, mid-depth, or bottom feeders? What is the main forage species?  Are they ambush or attack predators? Do they prefer outgoing, incoming, or slack periods. How does temperature affect their feeding? These are all questions that should be thought of BEFORE you go fishing and will help you target better, more productive locations.

A common thread among fisherman that “catch all the time” is their pre-fishing protocol. The 90% percenters don’t do the necessary homework, which is a big reason for the lack of action. So the next time you plan on fishing, consider some of these factors to up your game and maybe you’ll make it into the 10% club.