By Nick Simonson
When fishing far away from home, the added element of being in a new area often makes early forays a bit more challenging and a bit less successful. That doesn’t always have to be the case, however, as doing a little research on the front end of a trip, applying similar baits and tactics on new waters, and keying in on what’s happening in the new environs in terms of seasonal and activity cues can accelerate advancement up the learning curve and make for a better experience in the limited time a vacation might provide.
Use the Resource
Never before has more information been available with less effort. Simply click on a smart phone or open a web browser and utilize your favorite search engine to find forums, social media groups, tackle shops, and local sportsmen’s groups that provide reports, suggested baits, tips, and seasonal updates to fishing at any destination. From the one-off stories archived online by local newspapers, to daily updates published by guide services, it’s easy to come up with dozens of hits in a search that will help provide information making destination angling easier.
Additionally, most fish and wildlife management agencies now have a strong online presence. There, season information, regulations, and online license ordering can be reviewed prior to departing. Buy and print the necessary licenses and stamps to be ready for the angling you’ll pursue, whether that’s the purpose of the trip, or just a part of a larger family vacation. For questions, there’s likely a help line or an email address where you can get specific queries answered or even get the status of a certain fishery. Just build some time in ahead of your trip for a response.
Fish are Fish Everywhere, But…
The neat thing about fish is they all have to eat. That’s the same from North Dakota to Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. While they may differ in size, schools, and what they call supper, most gamefish can be tricked into biting an artificial lure of some kind or offered up a live bait rig that is substantially similar from shore to shore. Keep it simple and know the tactics that work on a species on one water would likely work in another, with minor tweaks to size and color.
When fishing in more foreign environments, like making the jump from the Midwest to the coasts and fishing saltwater or inshore angling, note that added elements such as the tides can have a huge impact on when fish are most likely to feed. Typically ingoing or outgoing tides are when predator fish are most active. When fly fishing mountain streams on a destination trip, it’s also helpful to look up when hatches are occurring and what insects are typically about during the time of your visit. Both tide charts and hatch calendars can be found on the web, and when heading to any such unique area for an angling trip, knowing them will greatly help in preparations and planning.
What’s Going On?
Upon arrival, keep an eye out for what’s happening in the world around the area you plan to fish. How are animals behaving and when are they the most active? What insects are present and in what quantities? Are baitfish or other aquatic prey items visible whether on the surface, via sonar, or with a little reconnaissance and rock-flipping? Answer these questions, along with recent weather conditions, water clarity and other important items before the first cast to get a better sense of what your quarry is likely doing.
Add those factors together to get a big picture understanding that impacts the smaller decisions like fishing location, lure or bait selection, and even use of certain lines or terminal tackle. Already knowing how these items affect your day-to-day fishing at home will help on those days spent someplace far off and on less familiar waters.
By doing the work ahead of any trip that might involve a little angling (or a lot) to learn about where to go and what to use, applying known tactics for fish at home against those abroad, and keying in on the world around you, no matter how unfamiliar it might be, will help improve success and create some great memories wherever your final fishing destination might be.
Simonson is the lead writer and editor of Dakota Edge Outdoors.
Featured Photo: Red Sun at Night, Angler’s Delight. Whether fishing freshwater or salt far from home, knowing a few important aspects of weather, presentation and forage cues will help anglers catch fish wherever their travels might take them. Simonson Photo.