Evaluate your conditions

Published 9:54 pm Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Everyone likes to hear, “the fish are biting.”

When words like these spread, fishermen came out of the woodwork to get in on the good bite. And while those times do come around, there are many times when they just don’t cooperate. So what do you do when the fish are not doing what they are supposed to do?

The first thing is evaluate the situation.

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Fishermen, me included, can be creatures of habit.

Going to the same places, the same time of day, fishing the same lures the same way; it’s a bad rut to get in.

Remembering the past and those days the fish were biting good can cause you to get close minded.

It’s hard to learn this process, but you should always fish the conditions. Even when fish have been biting a certain way for a long period of time, changes in the atmosphere can change fish behavior drastically.

Evaluate the weather, from clouds, rain and barometric pressure, to wind direction, wind speeds and air temperature – each can have quite an effect.

Evaluate the lake conditions, water temperature changes, water clarity, boat traffic, dam releases, which can cause currents in lakes; these too can be a big factor.

It’s amazing to me that there have been times I have been catching fish in a particular area for weeks, and have the fish move completely away or change feeding times or habits overnight.

More often than not the fish made these moves based on changes in the conditions above.

It’s hard not to go to a certain area or change tactics you have been catching fish with, and do something completely different based solely on environment changes. But time on the water is precious so making right decisions is important.

The next thing to do is ask yourself, “What am I not doing?”

The depth, lure choice, lure speed, area, structure, cover you fish is something you can control, unlike the variables in weather and lake conditions. We all have our favorite lures and methods, but when they are not working it’s a perfect time to do some experimenting.

A perfect example of this is I used to read about how good fall fishing was, but it never was for me. I would fish the banks with the same lures I would in spring and struggle to get a fish or two all day.

One day while on the water, I decided to try something completely different, and I couldn’t do any worse than I was. That decision changed the way I fished in the fall from that day on.

You can speed up the process by doing a little prep work. There is a reason I drive my wife bananas watching the weather three times a day, it’s to prepare for what changes will be in place the next time I go fishing.

Knowing a cold front is passing, a downpour of rain above the lake, a change in barometric pressure, these and more can be known before you ever reach the lake.

You can also call for dam release schedules and learn what days are normally the busiest on your lakes. But you will have to make your final analysis on the water.

So, if it’s not working, it may be time to try something else.