Expectations & Opportunities – Going Fishing Is The Key

fishingMy first job out of college, I was a financial investment adviser.  In the fine print of all the various investment materials, there is always a disclaimer…

Past performance is not an indicator of future results.

The same disclaimer could be applied to fishing as well.  Tell me if this scenario has happened to you.  Boat has a great trip and posts a big count of (fill in the blank) fish.  You see the count, tell your best fishing buddy, and you both get on the boat the next day.  But as we all know, every day on the water is a new day.  Conditions on the water change.  The bait changes.  Fish move and weren’t where the boat found them the previous day.  And the success of the previous day isn’t repeated.  Sound familiar?

fishingI try not to chase the counts.  Occasionally I do, like when I saw that late season seabass hit on the Toronado (right) that I wrote about a few weeks ago.  For the most part though, I try to avoid doing it, because it usually doesn’t work out (like on the trip I went on).

Instead, I look for signal.  Are the captains seeing/finding fish?  If they didn’t bite, is there some circumstance that they feel contributed to why they didn’t bite?  Maybe we just had some wind and the water turned.  Maybe the temp dropped.  Maybe there was too much bait in the water, or the bait on the boat didn’t match the bait in the water?  Any number of things contribute to why fish don’t bite, but circumstances change and you won’t be there for when they do if you are only looking at the counts.

Case in point, I went out Monday on a private boat with my friend, Matthew Lowe.  He hit me up last Wednesday as I was getting in from riding the Aloha Spirit with Capt. Pat O’Brien.  On that trip, we had some signal of yellowtail, but just couldn’t get them to go.  We enjoyed some pretty good bass fishing, but there was only one bite on the yellows and luckily the angler converted on his opportunity.

In the intervening days, I saw a handful of fish getting posted in the counts each day, so I knew they were still around.  When Matthew and I were figuring out where to fish, we decided to fish that area again.  My expectations weren’t high (a good thing), but we figured we’d go out and have some fun however the day went.

I wrote in my article last week, “The window might be small, but the opportunity is there.”  The dope gleaned from the local captains was that the bite window was around 1pm, but Capt. Sonny Haendiges of the Island Spirit told us to go straight to the spot as we were making our way out.  Sonny’s advice was based on the fact that it was starting to get crowded in the zone.  It was Labor Day after all.


fishingAs it turned out, as soon as we anchored up, just off the port side of the Island Spirit, it was game on.  Yellows could be seen popping up under birds all around the boat.  Matthew was first to draw blood scoring on surface iron.  Shortly after, I got picked up on bait.  For the next 30 minutes or so, it was wide open.  We got 3 each (I lost one of Matthew’s at the gaff – doh!) and just like that, it was over.

We left to try and find them again, but didn’t succeed.  We returned to our original spot to fish that 1pm window, but it didn’t materialize.  It didn’t matter.  We already had our fun and I was thankful it worked out.

Every day is a different day.  Don’t chase the counts.  Temper your expectations.  Just go out and fish, and make the best of the opportunities you encounter on the water.

Good luck if you get out there.

Joe Sarmiento is the founder and primary writer of the So Cal Salty blog. The blog covers saltwater fishing, primarily aboard the many sportfishing boats of Southern California. In addition to writing his blog, Joe's writing has appeared in Western Outdoor News, The Log and Griffin Media. Joe is ...