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19 May

Pre-Planning For the Next Day’s Fishing Trip Like a Pro

While many saltwater anglers just roll out of bed and head to the boat ramp, the top-notch fisherman has a different approach. It starts before the day of fishing and involves addressing a number of tasks that will likely make for a better than average day on the water. Tanya Dowdy is an instructional fishing guide located in the Charleston Low Country. Recently, she spoke with us about her preparation process for a day of inshore fishing.

The Inventory Check

Taking an inventory of the tackle box is key to the preparation process. While my rods are pre-rigged, I also want to make sure that I have plenty of backup lures in the event of break-offs or damage by the fish strikes. There is nothing worse than the most productive lure of the day getting broken off and no more in the tackle box to keep the bite going. This is also true for weights, lure variations such as color and size.

Inspection of the Line and Leaders

Every day I fish has an impact on both my line as well as my leaders. With this in mind, I make sure to take a few minutes to check my brad line for possible damage from abrasion from oyster shells or underwater structures. The same is especially true for my fluorocarbon leaders. I check for damage from structures as well as the teeth of the fish. I either remove the damaged part or replace the leader altogether. This tactic reduces the chances of a brake off far more than you think. If the leader has been used for several days, I will replace it to remove all doubt.

Hook and Lure Check

I check my lures and hooks that are rigged on my rods for damage or proper alignment. A lure that’s damaged or bent hook can greatly lower the integrity of the swimming of that lure. A bent or dull hook will greatly lower the chances of a good hookup. It only takes a few minutes and it’s time well spent.

Boat Preparation

I make sure that both my trolling motor batteries and batteries for my remote are charged. There’s nothing worse than having a great day of fishing and your trolling motor dies, causing you to resort back to the dark ages of dropping an anchor overboard. I also check the status of the fuel filter to make sure that I’ve not taken on any water in the fuel system.

The Routine

I make these checks a routine. They have become a process that I do every time that I fish and I do them the same. It’s an iron-clad system that is rarely changed or varied. I never allow anyone else to help me. That way “I know” nothing has been overlooked. This process is based on the way I fish and it’s become a habit that I’ve committed to memory.

The Plan

The night before fishing, I look at the factors that will determine my fishing strategy for the next day. This means check the weather, tides, and other details. I also take a glance at what other anglers in the area are reporting on social media. While I don’t plan my next day’s strategy on those posts, they are another source of information.

The Results

Pre-planning your next day’s fishing trip will definitely improve your results as well as give you more time to fish. Once you get started you’re likely to discover many more ideas to prepare for your trips as well.


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