So you want to go fishing on a fishery you haven’t been to in a while, perhaps ever. How do you maximize the effectiveness of your time on the water? I get this question a lot on social media in some form or another. I’ve had people ask, “How do you prep for a one-day tournament without practice?” or “What do you do to get ready to fish a lake you’ve never been to before?”
For me, it’s pretty simple: research. Now I’ve never been one to call up a guy and ask him to tell me exactly what they’re biting and where. That’s not research. That’s pointless to me. You might get a check but you miss out on the sense of accomplishment that you get from finding and catching fish on you’re own. And even if someone “puts you on them”, they’re typically either lying to you or mean well, but have you chasing ghosts that even they couldn’t catch.
So what does research look like to me? I like to do a lot of map study, check the forecast for both weather and water conditions, review my personal previous experiences on that body of water, and then I also research past tournaments held on that fishery.
Planning a Fishing Trip With ANGLR: Map Study
I do lots of map study when I’m preparing for a day on the water. Because I’m a shallow water guy, I prefer satellite imagery first and then topographic maps second. For the satellite imagery, I used to use Google Earth primarily, but now with the ANGLR app, I can pull up satellite imagery of a fishery and also drop waypoints or pattern points within the app to make notes for where I want to fish when I get there.
I can find little hidey holes from the aerial point of view that I might overlook when I’m on the water. I can also see grass lines and other vegetation much better from above. On a fishery where there is a drawdown or winter pool, I can use older satellite imagery to locate laydowns and brush piles that are exposed by the low water. Using the ANGLR app, I can map out a game plan before I ever even hit the water.
Likewise, with topographic maps, I can determine if certain oxbows or creeks are accessible and find where shallow and deep water meet for times when fish are transitioning in the spring and fall. I used to primarily use the Navionics app for this, but ANGLR has also added some topographic maps to their app that are useful for comparison. What’s neat about the ANGLR app is that I can even drop waypoints to mark something that caught my eye in the Navionics app.
You can see how I do this in my Predicting Patterns episodes on YouTube. Here’s an example from the Major League Fishing Redcrest!
Planning a Fishing Trip With ANGLR: Forecasts
Wind, weather, and water forecasts are extremely important when planning a fishing trip. The ANGLR app allows me to check all of these leading up to a fishing trip from within the app, which is very handy.
ANGLR is still working to incorporate more and more water current gauges. For some of my local fisheries, I have to use an app like Alabama Shorelines or the TVA app to see what the current is doing.
When it comes to weather forecasts, the 72-hour wind forecast feature on the ANGLR app is really handy, as well as the realtime radar so that I’m not bouncing around between a dozen different apps. With ANGLR’s Premium Maps, watching the weather and predicting the weather can be done all in one place!
Planning a Fishing Trip With ANGLR: Reviewing My Personal Experience on a Fishery
I have fished a lot of places over the years and I also have a terrible memory. Which isn’t good for anglers. I have actually put in at a lake before thinking it was my first time there and realized at some point during the day that I actually have had the boat in the water there once before in the whirlwind of my past life as an outdoor journalist covering fishing tournaments for B.A.S.S. and FLW.
So for me, a logbook is a huge asset… had I been keeping one all these years.
Unfortunately, I only recorded scattered experiences here and there over the years. Mostly details about good days on the water which ironically are the ones I don’t really need help remembering.
The ones that matter even more to my future success are those where I didn’t do well.
‘What was the air temp and weather like the day I bombed on Guntersville throwing a frog?’
‘What was the date and water temp when I threw a jerkbait all day on Martin but only had 3 bites?’
The answers to those questions keep me from making the same mistakes twice. The beauty of the logbook feature in the ANGLR App is that it writes itself regardless of how well the day is going. I just start the trip in the morning and whether I catch 20-pounds or don’t get a bite, the logbook is constantly gathering weather and water data and associating it with my GPS track and the time of day.
When I do mark a fish catch with either the app itself or my Bluetooth connected Bullseye, the GPS location and conditions of that exact moment are frozen in time for me to review from here to kingdom come… and it’s all stored privately, just for my eyeballs to see.
Having the ability to go back to the day I had 29-pounds on Okeechobee and see all the invisible factors like barometric pressure and wind speed that were happening all around me would be wildly beneficial. And now thanks to the ANGLR app, I will have similar information someday to look back on and study when preparing for a day on the water.
Planning a Fishing Trip With ANGLR: Looking at Past Tournaments
To get a feel for the weights a fishery puts out, I’ll go back and look at previous tournaments there. Obviously, if I’m fishing a tournament, I want to catch as much weight as possible but doing well in a tournament and especially throughout an entire season requires being realistic at times. Knowing if a good bag is around 13-pounds or 20-pounds helps me determine whether I’m going to split my time between a limit hole and a big fish pattern or go for broke and dedicate my whole day to trying to get 5 big bites.
Coverage of past tournaments can also tell you if you should look shallow or deep and perhaps give you a few hints to patterns and baits that work well on the fishery. But again, don’t get caught up buying into too much of that. If there’s one thing I learned in my time covering tournaments, anglers lie.
But not me. I’d never lie… unless you ask me something and I don’t want to tell you the truth. But hey, what do you expect. But I will say this with 100 percent earnestness, I would never offer up a lie unprovoked… probably.
Try the ANGLR app for free today!
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
Become an ANGLR Expert and apply here.