Anglers give specific numbers too much credit. Instead, it is trends they should be paying attention to.
Seeing the Bigger Picture
We love talking about weather conditions, because these affect how our fishing trips fare.
"The fall bite turns on at 74 degrees" or "a west wind blows water out of the marsh" and so on and so on.
Specific details at specific points in time mean squat
Looking at exact numbers at one point in time is failing to see the larger picture.
It doesn't have to be an exact number, like 56 degree water temperature, but a specific condition, like an east wind.
Why avoid doing this?
Because it fails to address the conditions that occurred before or after that specific point in time.
Getting fixated on lone details is failing to recognize the bigger picture.
Conditions that have occurred in the near past are just as, if not more, relevant than the conditions at hand.
Fish may still be reacting to those when you are planning your fishing trip over what is at hand.
Let's go over some examples!
Example 1 - Tide
There is a half foot falling tide predicted for the day.
You begin by fishing your favorite falling-tide spots just to learn the water isn't moving at all.
This is because a 10-15 knot east wind has canceled out the falling tide and you should have ran to your neap-tide spots to get the best water movement.
Because you fixated on one condition without including the others, you planned your trip to fail.
Example 2 - Water Levels
East winds are associated with clean water and high water levels in southeast Louisiana.
A 5-10 knot east wind is predicted for the day, but you arrive to the marsh just to see the water is super low and dirty.
A cold front had blown through several days before, dropping water levels and dirtying the water.
Example 3 - Water Temperature
Conventionally speaking, the "fall bite" for speckled trout turns on when the water temperature reaches 74 degrees.
And that's exactly what the water temperature is!
So you run to your favorite fall spots only to catch throwbacks, if anything at all.
Because in the preceding days the water temperature was well over 74 degrees. It was 80!
Trout had not yet fully migrated inside the marsh. You should have started more towards your favorite summer spots.
Each condition is like a piece of a big puzzle.
Wind velocity, water temperature, photoperiod, bait activity and more all come together to form a big picture.
When you recognize each piece of the puzzle and fit them together, you see the "big picture" of what is truly happening in the marsh.
Looking at one piece alone is failing to see that bigger picture.
When you fail to see that bigger picture, you will stumble around the marsh without ever really understanding what is happening around you.