It’s that time of year again when the fish are jumping in the boat, all types and all sizes. Living here in South Florida over the past 50+ years, I can tell you we are more than lucky.
I get calls from people all over and the conversation starts like, “Tom, I want to travel somewhere exotic and catch fish.” I usually say what kind of fish, and they come back with blue marlin, sailfish, snook, tarpon, swordfish, wahoo and another ten fish. Then I explain to them that they do not have to get on an airplane and travel to an exotic, expensive location to catch fish.
It is well known in the fishing tackle industry that the best fishermen in the world come from right here in our backyard, good old South Florida. All of the fish I talked about are very prolific in our waters and many are caught every day along our shores. With a friend, a charter boat guide, or walking the beach surf line, the biggest thing is knowing how to catch the different fish with different types of tackle. It is amazing today with computers, that if you ask a question ten people will come back to you and explain how to kite fish for sailfish, how to deep drop for snapper and grouper, how to day-time or nighttime fish for swordfish. If you can think of a question, and ask it with manners, there are enough reel experts out there who will go out of their way to help you.
I met a couple of customers in my shop about five years ago. They were two women who had a nice 35-40 foot boat home in the Bahamas, and all they wanted to do was catch wahoo. We sat in my shop several times or they called me on the ‘phone or emailed me asking under all different conditions what they should do for the best results. I said call me back in an hour. They did and one said, we are fishing in a wahoo tournament against 15 larger sportfishing boats with full crews and more lines than we can troll out of a much smaller boat to have a chance. I spent 30 minutes explaining what to do based on the types of lures, proper colors, where to fish, boat speed, tides, and so on. Guess what? They won the tournament right alongside the locals and big boys from out of the area, all chasing the beautiful and good eating wahoo.
It’s the old story, that 90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the fishermen. It’s not always luck; you have to work at being prepared and this information will usually work wherever wahoo swim around the world.
The statement I have made all my life is “This year tell me how good you are or how great of a fisherman you are and next year tell me how much better you are.” What I am trying to say is that if you work at it, study, try to learn, experiment, test, change when necessary, you will be amazed how much you can learn on every trip. Put in your time and one day your buddy or friend will say you are just lucky when it comes to fishing and catching and all you do is agree with them and keep coming back to the dock with a boatload of fish.
Okay, after all of this, stay home or at least in the area. Every day people travel thousands of miles to fish in our backyards or off our shores for some of the best fishing in the world, side-by-side with you.
Tight lines! Next year, tell me how dumb you were this year. We all learn every day!