Do you read fishing magazines? How often do you search YouTube for tips on fishing or ask your friends “How did you catch that”? If you are a keen angler, the chances are you answered ‘Pretty frequently’ to these questions. Whether we realise it or not, we are all doing research all the time, as we all want to understand the WHERE and WHAT and sometimes the WHEN of fishing.
I say ‘sometimes’ about the WHEN because we don’t always get to choose when we go fishing. At the moment I am technically on-holiday but I’m in the office wrapping up a few things before I head off for a weekend of river fishing in Lancashire, UK. I didn’t get to choose these days, it’s more about when I can go fishing. I also can’t control the weather, or the river heights or the season. So interestingly my biggest research questions for this weekend’s trip boils down to WHERE and WHAT.
There are a bunch of fishing apps out there that can tell you where fish are being caught – I know, I have used them too, briefly. But just the WHERE is not quite enough. If it was, we would all fish the same spots all the time, and would all catch consistently at that place, but we don’t.
What we actually need to know is where the species we want to target is being caught, given the weather, season and personal preferences for fishing styles. A great example of the latter is Salmon fishing with the Prawn vs fly fishing. Rarely do the fly fishers have the same success fishing for Salmon in the same spots that the Prawn anglers do, the water is different, and the technique completely different, so just knowing where fish are being caught is not enough to be useful.
It is for this reason that we made sure Finygo provides a simple method for showing you on a map where the fish are being caught according to your own catches, those of other anglers, the weather, the wind, and importantly, the species.
I can now wake up on a breezy morning, plug in the weather, wind, and see clearly which side of the lake is going to fare better for me based on my own and other anglers’ shared data. This map shows carp catches on a series of lakes, however this could equally be Salmon.
Finding the fish is one thing, identifying which tactics to use is, again, another question. The best anglers use their experience and that of others to adjust where, and how they fish to the conditions. This seems pretty simple right?
NO, it really isn’t! Think about all the different variations, all of which interact. A river running at 2ft above its summer level will typically fish well for Salmon, I can look at the catch history to see where to go, but any angler will tell you the flies you use for river running high and coloured are VASTLY different to those used when the river is low and clear.
If I want to know what tactics will serve me best, I need some way of identifying for which area too. Knowing that worm works well on lakes for bream is not of help to me. Knowing that worm works well for bream at the top end of a lake, now that is great information.
Tactics, methods, baits are very important but just remembering the key water features of a spot, or a particular way of fishing a spot can be difficult over time. I keep a log book, I loathe filling it in, but I have to for my fishing club. What I don’t mind doing is making quick sketches of where or how I caught my fish to help me remember important events or features.
Unfortunately though, this is not a practical solution when on the river and it’s difficult to share. I say share because working with your friends to map out locations and identify underwater features is a very important part of learning how to fish a spot. You obviously also need to be able to update these as time progresses with new information. River and lakes change, what works one year may change the next due to any number of factors. Being able to view information created by your friends, or indeed the venue owner, helps you fish more effectively.
It’s all about YOU
I happen to fish very well in low water conditions. I don’t know why, I just do. Harry the Finygo Fishpert definitely does better when fishing the higher water. This is a great example of how what works for him may not work for me. For this reason, it’s super-important that you are able to analyse your own history separately from others. Sharing information with Harry means that now I get to spot trends and patterns in his fishing, I can read his notes, and I can start to become more proficient at fishing the higher water. Likewise, he will be able to do the same with his low water fishing.
Researching using other people’s experience is really useful, but something people often overlook is experimenting. If I’m having a great day on a bait, I will often switch over to something else to see if that works too. If it does, I may just be having one of those days where the fish are hungry. If I find however that a bunch of other techniques don’t work, then I have learned something. A word of caution here though – chopping and changing every 5 minutes does not help. I have a 2hr rule, if after 2hrs I don’t seem to be getting anywhere, I switch.