What’s the Pattern?

  By: Joe Sheaffer

Joe, where or how are you catching fish? That question comes up quite often. I usually have no problem sharing information that I have learned from the last few fishing trips. That information can be helpful but many times it probably doesn’t help all that much. Fishing in tidal waters creates changing conditions daily if not hourly. Many times, I may have a great day of fishing, go back the next day and it is totally different and much tougher. Fishing reports can definitely be helpful but most of the time each day presents different conditions and challenges. My goal every day that I spend fishing is to figure out a pattern that will produce a consistent bite. Some days there isn’t much to figure out, the fish are biting, and it seems the fish will bite anything. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen that often at least for me. Most days I have a plan on how I will figure out a pattern that will help me have a successful day on the water. I usually will start with current flow, looking for areas where water is moving. Current can be caused by tidal flow, wind, or funnel areas. Bait plays a huge role in figuring out a pattern, usually if there is a bait presence there will be predators around. Other factors that affect a pattern are water levels, water temperature, seasonal trends and water clarity to name a few. Most of the time when I can put together a solid pattern it will hold throughout the fishing trip. I can cover water or run to specific areas and catch fish. There are times when the pattern may change while I’m fishing, usually because the tide is changing. There are times where the pattern totally changes and I may need to figure out something else or call it a day. Many days I never really figure out a pattern, I cover water and I catch a fish here and there.  I consider myself a pattern fisherman, figuring out the puzzle each trip can be a challenge but so rewarding when I put the puzzle together. Have a plan and take mental notes as you fish. Many times, one bite can be the clue that keys you into a great day of fishing. Good luck and keep casting.