Questions, questions about how to catch fish

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By Capt. Jacob Frick

 Delane and Jessica Edwards from the Whiteville area fished with me Friday, Aug. 22. Delane Edwards started right out of the gate with the usual questions, “How long you been doing this, Captain?” “Do you think we will catch anything today, Captain?” “How old are you, Captain?” “Where you from, Captain?”


The questions just kept on coming and getting deeper into trying to pull out details of our trip. Delane Edwards was obviously trying to learn as much as he could, so that he could be more successful on the water. My favorite question of the day and I get this question often from folks: “How did you find this spot?”

Over the years our water has gotten more and more crowded. How does someone find a quiet little place to pull out a few fish? I will share a few techniques I have used over the years.

Technology is a huge boost for anglers entering a new area. Google Earth is probably one of my favorite tools to just stare at for hours. Getting a bird’s eye view of your fishing area can be priceless. It can show you dead end ponds, every curve, sand bars and sometimes oyster bars. Depending on how up to date the satellite photo, it can also show you how the channel has changed in the inlet mouth.

Going to a new area? My first go to tool would be Google Earth picking out a few spots to explore the next day on the water.

On the water, exploration needs to be done at the lowest tide. Low tide exposes all the trouble spots for navigation but at the same time shows where fish might be hiding at higher tide levels. I always have used this technique to explore nooks and crannies in our area. I like for the tide to be rising just a bit. That way if I do get stuck, it won’t be for long.

As you ease into a creek at low tide, take note of all the features and how the current might react to them. It is important to take good mental notes on exactly where these features are in the creek. Why? Navigation is important to get you to the fish, but the object is to catch fish once you do get there. Observation of these features is why most folks who have bass-fishing skills usually make the transition to inshore saltwater fishing pretty easily. You will want to come back and pick each one of those features apart at different tide levels. So it will be important for you to have a good mental picture of exactly how those features are positioned in that creek.

Bass fishermen know exactly what I am talking about. It would be every bass fisherman’s dream to see a lake at low water and see every feature on the lake. Technology has come a long way with electronics, but there is nothing like seeing the structure with your own eyes. Taking those mental notes will help you pick that structure apart with your favorite lure or technique at higher water levels.

Don’t just hit that creek once or twice when you don’t have success. You have to gather all the details. How close is this creek to the inlet? A creek close to the inlet may see more fluctuation in action that one farther away. Creeks close to an inlet often see fast furious action one day and nothing at all the next day. Creeks farther from an inlet typically see consistent action because fish have taken up residence there.

All sorts of conditions can cause a creek to be void of life. Is wind direction blowing dirty water into the creek? Wind direction can be a serious downer to the productivity to a creek for many reasons. Over the years I have noticed when the wind blows directly against the current, things are usually tough.

Is there bait in the creek? The absence of food is not going to draw predator fish into a creek.

What time of year would fish possibly be in this creek? Some creeks are on fire one month and ice cold on other months.

Again, take notes on where white sandy bottoms and black muddy bottoms are in the creek. If the creek is mostly made up of white sandy bottom, it most likely will produce in the hotter months. If the creek is mostly made up of black muddy bottom, it most likely will produce in colder months.

That is really getting into the details, but detail is what can turn a tough day of fishing into a good day of fishing.

Even with your brain loaded with all this great information and your boat decked out with all the latest gadgets, the bottom line is you still have to put your time in on the water. Confidence comes from time spent on the water. If you go to spot with a defeatist attitude, you probably won’t catch anything. If you go to a spot with confidence and a positive attitude, your chances of success will increase.

That brings me to another topic that I will discuss in next week’s column. Can your attitude affect your success?

See ya on the water.


Capt. Jacob Frick, who has 10 years of knowledge and experience in guiding family, friends, and clients in the backwater surrounding Ocean Isle Beach, is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at (803) 315-3310 or jacob@oifc.com for additional information or questions about his columns.