The old adage is 20% of fisherman catches 80% of the fish. While I am by know means a rocket sciencetist it’s very apparent to this Captain why many anglers get disappointed. One of the top questions I get at www.othemarkcharters.com is “what’s the secret”? There are no real secrets, first and foremost Professional Captains and guides spend many hours of the water. Most anglers get out just a few times a month which why Captains are invaluable. Spending thousands of hours on the water is a huge advantage.
Besides spending time on the water it’s important to explore, take chances and don’t accept the status quo. Very few recreational anglers will leave a hot bite to explore; I promise if you do invest the time your catch rate will improve. As Captain Mike Anderson of the Reel Animals TV and radios shows says keep a detailed log book. Tracking tides, water temperatures etc are a great tool. Tampa Bay is truly a year round fishery but the area fished and tactics vary widely throughout the year.
Another tip I give my anglers is to be a sponge while on the water, absorb everything going around you. Ripples on the water, mullet jumping, and birds diving all tell a story. Some are very obvious others tell tale signs are more challenging. Soak it all in you will be amazed by all the signals.
Bottom line it takes time and effort to be in the 20% club or take the best short cut and hire a Captain as that will shorten the learning curve immensely.