What is three percent theory? How does it apply to inshore fishing and, most importantly, how can it help you catch more speckled trout?
Without a doubt, finding fish is the biggest problem we face as inshore anglers.
My "go to" strategy used to be "find the most, easiest-to-catch fish" by using the Louisiana Hustle, or covering a lot of water as quickly as possible:
- Only catching a few? Cover more water until you find a spot that has more.
- Fish are being finicky? Cover more water until you find fish that aren't.
And on and on.
Ultimately, this strategy worked and we caught good boxes of speckled trout and redfish to show for it.
But I was making the mistake of only catching one kind of fish, and passing up all the others.
You can categorize fish by the kind of lure they are best caught on.
If all you ever throw is Lure X, then the only fish you will catch are "Lure X fish".
You will never catch the Lure Y or Lure Z fish, the kind of fish you're passing up in your search for those best caught on Lure X.
Years ago I used mostly live shrimp on an Inshore Rig to put nice fish on the cleaning tables.
I thought I was pretty good at fishing and that the Louisiana Hustle was the best way to find and catch speckled trout -- or any inshore species.
But I was dead wrong...
Because this routine worked for me, I loathed the idea of dickering with small details like lure color and line size, because I felt:
- It didn't make a big difference.
- That doing so was a waste of time.
But I really wasn't fulfilling my potential as an angler, because all I caught were fish ready to bite an Inshore Rig.
If I were truly good at fishing, I'd have been able to recognize and catch all the other "types" of fish.
Otherwise, what I was doing wasn't fishing, it was trying different spots as quickly as possible.
This came to light and I have since made the journey to become a better angler.
The most recent improvement in this journey has been the application of Three Percent Theory.
What is Three Percent Theory?
It is the idea that small variances in tackle or technique can add up to catch a significant amount of fish.
Below are examples of small variances that influence how soft plastics move through the water.
1. Paddle Tail Shape & Size
We love our 3" soft plastics, but they're not all exactly the same.
Many have different shape and size paddle tails that alter how a jig will fall in the water column.
2. True Jighead Weight
Another example would be weighing jigheads on a scale and fishing them according to their true weight, and not what the manufacturer labels them as.
3. Soft Plastic Buoyancy
The buoyancy of material used to make soft plastic lures is not the same, either.
Both lures below are from different manufacturers using different material to pour their soft plastics.
One sinks and the other floats, changing how they are presented in the water column.
More Than Just Lures
Of course, there's more to this than tweaking lures.
Things like drift speed (0.5 mph vs 1.1 mph) can make all the difference in the world to a speck or red.
How does Three Percent Theory catch more fish?
It's called "3% Theory" because it's the idea that a small variance could catch 3% more fish.
This isn't a lot, but make enough tweaks and you'll have a lot more than 3% on your hands, like something closer to 24%.
That's the difference between catching 18 specks or an entire limit, and we all know that people tend to remember limits more than near-limits.
Hardcore Application of 3% Theory
When it comes to targeting more selective species, like black bass, 3% Theory is the only way to consistently succeed.
Dead serious: You should study bass fishing in order to learn new concepts and techniques that will help you catch more speckled trout and redfish.
See How To Apply This Theory
The proof is in the fishing trip reviews recorded for LAFB Elite, where you can watch an entire fishing trip, seeing exactly how and where 3% Theory plays out.
The video in this blog post is a great example!
Or this blog post about fishing the Long Rocks, it is loaded with Three Percent Theory.
I cannot count the times we've been sitting next to other boats throwing live shrimp and watched them catch nothing but trash fish while we jacked trout one after the other on artificial lures using Three Percent Theory.
Everyone loves catching fish!
However, what beats catching fish is catching fish trying something new.
Going to the same spots and doing the same thing eventually becomes old.
Becoming better at fishing is where bonafide satisfaction comes from.
If that weren't true then this blog and LAFB Elite would not exist.
But they do, and there's tons of knowledge here for anyone to benefit from, and I hope that you take time to enjoy successfully learning and applying Three Percent Theory.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to comment below if you have anything to add or a question to ask!
Tight lines, y'all.