Boat positioning is more important than lure color. Everything else will go wrong if this one thing isn't done right.
I think a lot of people don't understand the experience, skill and downright work that goes into my fishing trips. For a lot of people the fishing trips I embark on are just an adventure where everything just sort of falls into place on its own without any input on my part.
This cannot be further from the truth.
Every minute of the trip I am paying close attention to something, whether its the hum of the motor behind me (Is it making unusual noises?) or the wildlife around us in the marsh (Are fish chasing bait?).
When I approach a fishing spot, I am consciously calculating the direction of the wind and current in relation to where I believe the fish are biting so I can best position the boat on fish.
It's not a skill everyone has, and if I did not have it my fishing trips would not be nearly as productive.
Effectively positioning the boat is everything when it comes to catching fish. Let me share with you some great pointers on how to do this and things you want to consider before dropping that anchor:
How to Position the Boat on Fish
Why do you want to position the boat correctly?
To make fishing more enjoyable!
When the boat is positioned correctly you are able to do everything more easily, to include catching fish.
You want everyone to be able to cast at the fish effectively and be able to do so with ease. When this happens a lot of stress is taken out of the fishing trip and everyone enjoys themselves more.
You also position the boat correctly so you can achieve the best presentation of your bait to the fish.
Knowledge Bomb Generally speaking, within the realm of inshore fishing, you want your bait drifting left to right (or vice versa) with the current, in front of you through where fish are biting.
You don't want your bait drifting towards the boat or away from the boat. Bait drifting towards you can create slack in the line possibly causing missed strikes.
Bait drifting away from the boat will eventually run out of line and "surf" on top of the current. This can make for weird presentations that fish are less likely to bite.
When the boat is positioned just right, you won't have to fight the wind. In fact, you will be Fishing Smarter and using the wind to your advantage!
Factors to Consider When Getting Ready to Position the Boat
When I am approaching a fishing spot I will usually come off plane from a reasonable distance and judge the conditions at hand.
Conditions I am paying attention to include:
Wind Speed & Direction
You want the wind to your back when you are casting at fish. Very rarely do you want the wind blowing in your face because it can make casting difficult.
If a strong wind is to your back then it will be extremely easy to cast and life will be good!
For additional tips on how to deal with a strong wind, read Making the Most of Heavy Winds.
To me, this is not as important as wind speed and direction, but is something to pay attention to.
Sometimes the wind is not blowing at all and the current is strong enough to sweep the boat from one side to the other.
If this is the case, I will kill the engine and drift for a minute before anchoring to get an idea as to how the wind and current are working together to influence the boat.
With experience you will become good at this. It will be apparent what you need to do in order to successfully position the boat on fish.
Location of Fish
With time and experience I have learned where fish typically hold at different fishing spots. If a spot is new, I simply make an educated guess as to where fish will be and position my boat accordingly.
You want to position the boat in such a manner that either side (port or starboard) is facing the fish. This way everyone has ample room to make quality casts on the fish. More quality casts equals more fish caught!
You want to judge how the wind and current will affect the boat and anchor it accordingly so you are positioned to effectively cast at the fish.
This means that on subsequent fishing trips your boat may be anchored differently to be positioned the same (or nearly the same) in order to cast at the same spot.
Methods for Positioning a Boat
Most people typically use one anchor, in the form of a Danforth anchor, Cajun anchor, or something fancy like a Power Pole or Minn Kota Talon.
It's simple, it's easy, but the boat can rotate on the axis of the anchor point, usually in part to the wind or current. This can be detrimental to how you position the boat on fish.
Be sure you are paying attention to which direction the boat will point when you put down a single anchor.
It can be a pain anchoring off with two anchors, one on each end of the boat, but the boat will not be prone to swing on the axis of a single anchor and potentially destroy good positioning on fish.
These are factors you must consider on how to position the boat on fish and successfully catch your target species, whether it's speckled trout or redfish.
When you are thoughtful about boat positioning you are ultimately Fishing Smarter! That is what I am all about on my fishing trips.
If you have any tips or advice on boat positioning then chime in at our forum. Clicking that link will take you to a thread I already started for this topic. If you're not already registered then know it is free and easy to do!
Tight lines, y'all!