BRIAN JOHNSON: Know what to trust when fishing

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, May 4, 2021

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Have you ever heard the old saying that “all fisherman are liars?”

I have, and for the most part, I’m starting to believe it. I have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars buying the “secret bait” in the “secret color.” I have fished in the “can’t miss, guaranteed to catch fish spots” until my arms were sore from casting and, for the most part, I ended up with less-than-desirable results.

I have finally gotten to the point that I am no longer giving much credence to what other fisherman are saying about catching fish. I mean think about it. Do you think anyone is going to really give you their best spots or tell you their “secret” baits?

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I’m sure there are a few who will, but for the most part, fisherman don’t share all of their great information.
I recently took a bucket list trip to Lake Toho near Orlando, Fla. I spent most of my time fishing where the local guides told me to fish and caught almost nothing.

Once I decided to follow these tips and fish the way I like to fish, my fortunes changed and I started catching fish.
So if you can’t trust what you hear, how should you go about finding fish on your next trip to the lake?

Here are some things that I rely on to help me find fish when I go fishing.
Seasonal patterns
There are certain things that happen every year on your body of water. For example, we know that when the water hits the mid 60s on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend reservoirs, there will be a high percentage of fish in 5 foot of water or less.

It is also common knowledge that deeper offshore structures produce fish in the heat of the summer. Start your fishing trip in the areas that are typically productive for the time of year that you are fishing.

Pay attention to the known seasonal patterns.
Use a map
Whether it is a paper map, one on your fish finder or an app on your iPad or iPhone, you need to look at a map before fishing a new area.

A map will help you locate creeks, ledges and drains that are fish highways. You can also find points, humps and flats that you can fish based on the current seasonal pattern for the time of year that you are fishing.
Previous knowledge
This one is huge! When asking one of my good friends how he found fish on a particular lake, he told me that he simply goes where he caught fish before.

There is no substitute for time on the water. Keep a log or fishing journal of the time of year and conditions along with baits and techniques used when you catch fish. Include cloud cover, lake level, water temperature etc.

The more details, the better. Before your next trip, scroll through your log and use the information to give you an idea on where to start.
Fishing shows
If I am going to an unknown body of water, I search the web for fishing shows like Bassmaster live. I type in the name of the lake I am wanting to fish and then I will find out exactly how and where they were fishing and use that as a reference.
Basically, no one is going to “give” you all of the information. You need to do your research and then head out to the lake and put in the time.

Forget about what everyone else is doing and do what you think will work.

Concentrate on what you are comfortable with. Fish to your strengths.

Good luck and remember that every day you get to fish is a gift from The Lord!


Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of and an outdoors writer for Port Arthur Newsmedia.