April 30, 2012

It learns (to catch more fish) or it gets the hose again!


That addiction, the craving, the totally irrational desire succeed in the marsh is like a metaphorical deep hole I am held prisoner in.

But there is escape...I must learn.

I love inshore fishing in Louisiana.

There is so much to explore, from the near-fresh marshes of Delacroix to the salty water of the barrier islands.

You never really quite reach that zenith where you have mastered the marsh and are just bored with it. 

You never learn it all and even the old-timers will tell you they learn something new every trip. In the brackish marshes of St. Bernard a curve ball can come out of nowhere. A new board is set every morning the beautiful Louisiana sunrise crests the horizon.

The fish will be one spot the day before then be on a completely different program the next.

But why do fish do what they do? What are they thinking? Why did all the conditions line up to be perfect just to have no fish show? WHY!?! It will drive a man insane.

If you're like me, you don't like getting skunked. You want to win, against all odds, all the time. It's a vicious cycle and it's not for the timid.

I was watching a fly fishing video on YouTube last night. The narrator made a comment how soothing and healing fishing is. I spit my drink out my mouth and hollered "YEAH RIGHT!"

Get a man hooked on fishing and he's up all night reading reports, spending money on tackle, and throwing said tackle into the water out of sheer frustration because the fish aren't cooperating!  And so it is!

It's what drives me and the only thing that can really satiate this craving for a bent rod is by setting hooks. And more. And more!

Yet something I learned is that fishing is a thinking man's game. Pay attention to your surroundings, even those parts of the environment you can't readily see.

And this is why I took a spin on "Silence of The Lambs" with this blog title. That addiction, the craving, the totally irrational desire for hoards of speckled trout is like a metaphorical deep hole I am held prisoner in.

The only way out is to learn, so that I can improve my angling skills and knowledge.

Getting out of that hole is a battle I face every day, and I get out by learning more and more. Some days the learning curve is steeper than others, but if I come back to the marina skunked, then I receive the metaphorical cold blast of water from the hose.

Am I making sense? Or did I just spiral off into some kind of twisted Captain Devin's Twilight Zone?

The Internet is a supreme angling tool.

Remember that learning is the path out of the hole. So it makes sense that the Information Super Highway can extend a helping hand.

In this day and age, there are all kinds of information out there, readily available, waiting for you to discover it.

Because if you don't, and if you keep doing the same thing expecting different results...well...that is the definition of insanity.

So let me share with you some things that are just awesome. They are helpful. If you don't incorporate them into your fishing regimen then you are a crazy person.

That's just my opinion after having entirely too much coffee. So what's our first thing?

The Shell Beach Buoy

This is a buoy located in Lake Borgne just a hair outside of Shell Beach. It gives current information to include wind speed, direction, water levels, etc. Here is a picture of what it looks like.

Shell Beach Buoy

Shell Beach Buoy frowns on the unlearned

And here is a picture of the information it puts out in a neat graphical form.

Shell Beach Buoy Winds and Water

The marsh is under a constant influence.

Shell Beach Buoy

As this graph shows, the marshes are under constant influence.

And of course, here is the link. Click on "Water Level" to see the information in graphical form. You can use the interactive Google Map to scroll around and find similar buoys that may be more local to your area.

I really don't want to over explain this buoy, but know that you can now see how the wind, air pressure, etc. plays a role in water level, and that the tide never moves quite like how it's predicted.

What's great about this buoy is that you can sit at home and have an idea as to what is happening out at the marsh.

Combine this with your own experiences and  the latest fishing reports to get an idea as to how the fish will behave. You can learn what makes a redfish-day and what makes a trout-day.

But don't go anywhere yet...I have more treats.

The NOAA Marine Forecast

You are cruising for failure if you are using anything other than a marine forecast. The NOAA Marine Forecast has been wrong before, but out of all the weather forecasts out there it does the best job. It is far more accurate and helps me plan my trips with success. You don't want to make a run for Breton Sound just to find out it's inaccessible because of the sea state. Conventional weather forecasts do not include the sea state, NOAA Marine Forecasts do.

Visit this link: NOAA Marine Forecast by Zone

Use the interactive map to locate your area. Save the link to your area and refer to it to view your weather forecast on the fly. I saved it on my smart phone, so I can always access it at a moment's notice.

More Buoy Awesomeness Courtesy of LSU

Check out this link to LSU's Wave-Current-Surge-Information System or WAVCIS. It basically has more information for other buoys/stations further offshore. My favorite is this station (which is no longer functioning correctly).

It is near Breton Sound and will tell me the exact sea state.

It gets much better and if you pay attention to the information maybe...just maybe...you can dig yourself out of The Hole and avoid a cold hosing.

I thought I saw something about salinity levels in there at different levels in the water column. And maybe when a trout is tired from spawning all night, it could explain why she sits deeper towards the bottom. This is because saltier water is found towards the bottom of the water column since it is heavier than fresh water.

Learn...or get the hose again!

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a veteran of the Iraq War and former fishing guide. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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