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Before you cast, do your homework

If you really want to figure this whole fishing thing out, it’s gonna take some effort.

A few anglers keep fishing logs, but they might not be doing it the most effective way.

The four primary components that determine a fish feed are water level, wind velocity and direction, air pressure, and air and water temperature.

Anglers can get this information at this NOAA Web site:

“There’s such an uncanny correlations when fish feed and these four variables,” Capt. Ray Markham said, “it’s not even funny.”

When you go fishing, record what time the fish were biting, hours and minutes. When you go home, go on the NOAA Web site and see what the four variables were doing during the bite. Did the barometer drop? What about the wind? Did it switch directions? Did the tide change? Did the water temperature all of a sudden drop or go up?

Study these four components, graph them if you can, and you might be able to one day call yourself a master angler.

It may take 15 years, but no one said catching fish was as easy as eating them.

“I had dates going back 15 years,” said Markham of Backwater Promotions. “I threw it away because I don’t need it anymore. I know what’s going on because of this stuff.”

Standard anglers’ logs typically don’t take into account enough detail to translate into any type of reliable method.

Water clarity is another example of field testing. Sediment or particulates in the water make the water cloudy, which doesn’t allow the fish to see as clearly. Those colors determine the types of colors that should be used with lures or hooks and the heaviness of line an angler can get away with, as well as the size of bait.

The water clarity also determines how fast you can work something such as a top-water lure. When the water is clear, anglers are not going to want to give fish a chance to take a good look at the lure. So reel fast and draw a reaction strike from fish such as snook.

This, of course, can lead to short strikes, but there’s a way to counter that as well. Get a 12-inch piece of monofilament and tie it to the straight part of the treble hook at the back of the lure. Tie on something such as a Clousser Minnow or Lefty’s Deceiver, maybe 2 inches long at the end of the line.

When the fish short-strikes the lure, stop reeling. The fish will see the fly falling down to its level. When the fly falls, give it a small twitch and wait for the fish to strike again.

But it all comes down to conditions. If you’re willing to put in the homework, you too can eventually become a scientist of the fishing world.

Nick Walter, Herald staff writer, can be reached at 745-7013.