When and Where to Fish

Now is the prime time to be fishing inshore: There is plenty of live bait, and all kinds of fish are inshore and offshore, so you should be fishing as much as possible. The questions are when is the best time and where should you go to catch something. The answers are not that difficult, unless you’re not from around here and you haven’t been going all your life. So I’m going to try and help with that!

First decide what you want to catch and do your best to gather all the information on how to catch that type of fish. If it’s flounder, make sure you have the right size rod and reel and that you are using the right rig and bait. Ask the local tackle dealer for tips if you’re not sure on the tackle to use.

Captain Alan Beasley tossing the cast net out to catch some live bait last month. Photo by Kris Beasley

Captain Alan Beasley tossing the cast net out to catch some live bait last month. Photo by Kris Beasley

Now, where should you go to find them? The best places are where you find bait but certain conditions apply.  Fish like fast-moving water, deep water, and access to shallow water from deep or fast-moving water. If you’re at the pier and the tide is falling, get on the downstream side of the tide near the legs of the pier. If you are near a creek mouth, fish where the water moves the fastest. If you can tell that there is a deeper section, fish there.

In other words, think like the fish and try to figure out where the best opportunity to nab a bait fish or shrimp passing by would be located, because that is probably where they will be. The fish are looking for the easiest, best opportunity they can find to eat.

If you still can’t figure it out and you’re just not catching, here comes the big tip: Fish where lots of other people are fishing. If they are catching, fish there too! No trick there—just be observant and pay attention to where the action is.

So, when is the best time to go fishing, you ask? If you think about it, most of us eat in the morning, noon and at night. However, fish can be picky about it. They usually feed better in the morning and just before dark. They will feed any time of day if it’s an easy meal and they didn’t have such a good morning of feeding. I’m not saying don’t fish all day, you can actually catch all day sometimes. What I am saying is be sure you get up and go early, and if you leave later in the day, be sure you fish close to dark. Most people will stop fishing in time to go home for dinner and miss out on prime time, so stick with it. The last hour can be the magic hour of the whole day for catching.

Night fishing can also be very good especially around lights: pier lights, dock lights or bringing your own. Lights can turn the fish on for night fishing. That’s partially what makes pier fishing at night so successful.

Fishing right before a storm or right after one can be great. Fishing before a big weather change such as a change from a southwest wind to a northeast wind can work great. A new moon cycle works, too, and I really like to fish when the moon is overhead during the day.

The science of it is real. If you figure out a great place and a great time and you catch fish really well, make some notes and keep up with that. Looking back on those notes and doing the same thing again just might yield the same good results.

Hope these tips help you catch more fish and remember this—if you don’t fish you won’t catch, so go fishing!


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