Get Out and Scout!
Scouting new areas can be one of the most enjoyable elements of the angling experience. All too many people think that “trolling” fishing forums and asking for “honey holes” is a form of scouting. This is shear laziness and if they only new what angling and visual experiences they are missing.
There is a whole lot of work involved in proper scouting, be it by boat, kayak, wading or land. One must begin by picking out a general area and then doing some homework. Mapping and researching an area are all things that can be accomplished before the trip. Entering locations of interesting (fishy) looking spots will save time and energy. If you have no GPS, copying maps and covering them with a plastic covering (waterproofing) works well also. Finding the nearest boat ramps, kayak put ins, or even cuts in mangroves to access the area are important factors. In recent years this “leg work” has been eased with fishing Apps that are available to anglers The FWC App has invaluable information in reference to regulations and boat ramps.
Before even putting in, one must also know the nearest bait and tackle shops. This can be done easily by getting online, locating the shops and then adding the name of the shop, address, hours, telephone numbers and any other remarkable information into your telephone contact list. If this is the first time going to a bait and tackle shop, always call first to see if they have the equipment or bait that you will need. Even if you don't need anything from a bait store, it is always smart to go in and buy a “trinket”, get familiar with the store and ask questions about the area you plan to fish.
Once on the water being observant is key. Look for the telltale signs of great fishing areas, tidal creeks, oyster beds, water flow, spoil islands etc. Take your time in your new surroundings. Observe where other people are fishing and if you get a chance, talk to them (without interrupting their fishing) and find out what they are using to catch fish . Use your GPS to mark way points and locations. Fish areas and move on to the next, making mental notes and enjoying your time on the water. Be sure to bring a small pair of binoculars and your camera to catch and keep great memories.
Scouting is a learning experience, proper scouting may take more than a day. Bring a lunch, have fun, take in the new environment.. After your day on the water, log the area's fished, fish caught, and any special occurrences. The art of angling has many different components, enjoy them all and “Get Out and Scout”!
Published by Guy Harvey The Online Fisherman April 2016
Photo Credit: Sandy Thomas