A typical day in the life of this angler
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It's a July day, flags are limp at the bait camp, you are already sweating as you launch the boat before sunrise and you have no idea if you should fish the bays, jetties or surf.
It's a good problem to have, but, it is still a problem.
Here is my thinking on a typical day.
Wake up at 4 a.m. and pull up Weatherunderground.com to check the wave heights and wind direction offshore. If waves are less than two feet, I give the surf a thought.
But, there in the back of my mind are the big trout staging over deep shell in East Bay. With the surf flat, few boats will be in East Bay.
If wading, I begin on the far west end of most reefs and work my way to the east. It usually takes at least an hour to wade it right. My bait of choice is a She Dog or Super Spook Jr. Why? I have caught numerous big trout here on these baits. Some days only a handful, other days I lose count. If there is a chop on the water, the She Dog is my bait, if calm, the subtle Spook Jr. gets the call.
If my charter would rather stay in the boat, I begin my float over Raymond Shoals. It goes without saying I enjoy artificials more than live bait; but, hey, this is the real world, and live shrimp beats a soft plastic 10:1 in July in East Bay. It used to not be that way, but then again, we never threw shrimp.
However, that's not the case when wading. Bass Assassins, Gulps, TTF plastics and Norton's work on the reefs. Again, shrimp probably does the trick, too, but few anglers wade with live shrimp.
It is almost 10:30am now and the sun is really beating down with sweat pouring through my shirt - time for a boat ride to the jetty.
I arrive and look for hopping shrimp, nervous shad and jumping mullet. Since the tide has just begun to inch to the beach, I work the second bar with a topwater - a buddy tosses a soft plastic.
He gets several bites from Spanish mackerel and sand trout, while I coax speckled trout on a topwater. When we hit a fish we Power Pole down and begin fan-casting in every direction. When the bite slows, we pull the anchor and drift closer to the beach and usually find them staging in the first gut.
That's when we set the anchor again and bail over the gunnels to wade the first gut.
Diversify your approach no matter what bay you fish. Don't be afraid to take a chance and fish a new area. Look, listen and learn from your day on the water.
You would be surprised at the number of people who tell me they never catch fish when they go out in their own boat. If you are one of those guys, may I suggest you invest in a guided fishing trip with a quality captain who isn't afraid to answer questions and teach the basics while offering a hint at higher-order-thinking-fishing.
If a charter doesn't interest you, listen to what the "guys" are saying at the dock. Many pros will tell you a lot without ever telling you a lot. However, be mindful and respectful when you see them on the water.
Watch how they drive a boat, set up a drift or wade a shoreline. Little things make a big difference in life as well as fishing.
Think about it.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).