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General Angling Tips/Techniques

by Captain Jim Barr on 09/14/16

  1. Fish where flats meet deep water breaks.
  2. Fish where current meets or leaves a ledge and other structure.
  3. Fast moving water & turbulent water provides ambush points for stripers.
  4. Scout boulder fields and shoreline contours during low tides and mark them with your chart plotter. This is particularly helpful at night for wading anglers with a handheld GPS to allow you find these spots at night.
  5. Mark structure not on your chart with your GPS so you won't run afoul next time.
  6. Use "drift socks" (drogues) on your boat to counter the effects of wind and current.
  7. Use top water hookless lures as teasers in shallow or dangerous waters to prospect for fish.
  8. Use a heavy "river anchor" in muddy soft bottom areas where a traditional fluke type anchor will not hold.
  9. Stripers will stay on the flats all summer as long as the water temperature stays below 75F.
  10. Tides are critical, a flooding tide is typically more productive than an ebbing tide.
  11. When the flat is emptying, fish are hastily retreating off the flat to get to deeper water.
  12. When flats fishing from a boat look closely at the dark grass patches on the bottom where bass will be spending more time than over the white sand.
  13. Drape fishing nets over your outboard, hydraulic lines, cleats and any obstruction that can foul a fly line.
  14. Use blue painters masking tape to cover smaller fly line fouling areas such as cleats, rod holders, etc.
  15. Stay put when fish blow up. Resist the temptation to do large moves. Where possible drift through active areas several times. Some fish (False Albacore/ Bonito for example) will repeat a feeding pattern. The bait that fish crashed just minutes ago is still there and the predators will often times circle back.
  16. When fishing a surface frenzy, particularly tuna species, it often pays to dead-drift your fly pattern or use a very slow retrieve and to also vary the retrieve.
  17. During windy fall fishing... 8wt rods are generally not up to the task.  Go with the heavier rod and the sinking line to power through the wind.
  18. Fish creating swirls may actually be 2-4 feet below the surface but because of their size and large tail fins, they are moving a lot of water.
  19. Feeding fish signatures- mornings generally provide the best conditions for spotting fish feeding during flat water conditions. Look for swirls, breaks, birds looping/hovering/dipping, baitfish spraying.
  20. Have your fishing partner cast into the immediate area of a fish being played. Oftentimes others will be closely following a hooked fish and they can be easily caught.
  21. Use a kayak or inflatable in combination with your "mother ship" to access hard to reach or private and delicate waters.
  22. On the Rhode Island flats you will rarely see bass feeding on top, they will be on the bottom scouting for crabs and shrimp.
  23. Always bring binoculars to spot fish and birds. Binoculars with a built-in compass allows for pinpointing a bearing in open water having few or no landmarks or navigational aids for reference.

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