Planning Your Next Fishing Trip

By Gary Turner

I don’t know about you, but sometimes planning a fishing trip is half the fun. Okay, maybe it’s really only a third of the fun if the fishing is really great! Sometimes I like to book a guide, show up, and walk onto the boat. I have also learned that researching new places to fish and gathering lots of info for these trips is fun too! If you ever decide to go to a new place and do some prospecting on your own, it can be very rewarding.

Where do you start? I usually have an idea of the place I want to go or a certain species I want to catch. For example, if you want to catch monster catfish, you could Google “where to catch 100 pound catfish”. Next, you can look at the different places it suggests and see if any of them are places you want to fish. Once you choose a place, start looking for information about fishing there. If there is an Angler Magazine or Coastal Angler for the area, look up the online edition and see what some of the local reports say. You can learn a ton of information from this magazine. You can also search Facebook, Instagram and other social media for people that fish that area and often, there are fishing groups on social media, too.

Another thing I like to do is call up some local bait shops and see what info they have about the area. I have found this to be a great source of information and often, if I fish an area several times, will make friends with the bait shop owners. Local bait shops can usually tell you what live or artificial bait are working in their area; like that when you go to Guntersville to catch skipjack, Foley spoons are usually the trick; and when you go to Goat Island, SC after a big catfish, cut bream and live bream are usually your best bet. I have found many a good spot, including the spot where I caught my first peacock bass, from a location given to me by a local shop owner.

When I used to travel for my job, I loved to check out places to fish nearby. One year I had a business trip to Miami, and it opened up a whole new world of fishing for me. Tomorrow morning, I am headed to Pompano Beach to fish several days with my friends Damon Melcho of Xtreme Bait Tanks and Capt. Johnny Stabile. I found Capt. Johnny on YouTube while I was recovering from knee surgery. We have done a lot of fishing together and always have a great time. Johnny is now trying to teach me how to fly drones more effectively. We are going to fish for peacock, clown knife, tarpon, snook, flathead, bullseye snakehead, mayan cichlid, midas cichlid, and the list goes on.

For those that know me, you know I like to eat so, part of the planning for my trips is looking for good seafood restaurants, good brisket BBQ,, or places that have gumbo. Finding a good restaurant at a fishing destination is always a big plus for me!

I hope the New Year finds you all happy and healthy and ready to plan your next adventure! I’m not sure what next month’s article will be on or where I’ll be fishing, but if you have an empty seat on your boat that needs filling, shoot me an email and maybe it will be about fishing with you!

If you want more information about fishing, you can reach Gary Turner at

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