Written by Captain Greg Verm
Sun Rise. Sun Set. Moon Phase. Moon Rise. Moon Set. Rushing Tide. Slacking Tide. High Pressure. Low Pressure. Wind Direction. Wind Speed. Cloud Cover. Blue Bird Skies. All these factors and many, many more… Mother Nature.
People often ask me “when the best time is to go fishing?” I have tried to answer that many ways using the following return questions. What time of year do you want to go? What species do you want to target? What experience level of fisherman are you? Do you want quantity or quality? Do you like to wade fish? Live Bait or Artificial? All of these return questions are legitimate to ask, and does have an influence on the answer to the original question. However, the one I answer that I have learned to give and sums it up completely. “The absolute best time to go fishing is… when you CAN.”
There are so many factors that dictate when a fish will eat. If there is one single person that can tell you when a fish that has a brain smaller than the size of a cashew will eat every single day… that single person would be a “Gazillionaire”. Yes, some days I can nail a feeding window down and I look like a genius. Yet… maybe, just maybe – I Got Lucky.
A “Window of Opportunity” presented itself. This past week I had a very special fishing trip with a “client” I have known my entire life. When I say my entire life – I mean even the 9 months before I took a real breath of air. This “client” is not really my client. This person is my Mom. Yes, Mom gets on me about bringing her fishing. She sees all the pictures of clients holding fish, catching fish, and dead fish at the dock. She loves to get out on the water on a nice calm morning and enjoy the boat ride in the back bayous and lakes… and the sound of the live well running with a couple quarts of live shrimp waiting to swim around under her popping cork. Now when I say popping cork… Momma knows how to put some “Pop” in a popping cork! There is definitely no need to remind Mom to “Pop that cork!” She knows! Anyhow, I asked Mom a couple of weeks earlier if her and her best friend, Peggy would like to stay a night at Bay’s Landing and go fishing the next morning. She said “absolutely!” We nailed a date down that fit our schedules… nothing to do with moon phase, tides or anything other than when we could. It just so happened that my brother (Captain Clint) was off on the same day we planned to go, so Mom had both her boys and her best friend on the boat with her. She was happy-happy! We rode down the ICW as the sun was breaking the horizon. I noticed all the bait activity on the surface especially around the many cuts and drains that etch the shorelines of the Intracoastal Waterway. According to the tide chart – there was supposed to be very little water movement, however it seemed to be moving perfectly. The boat ride that morning itself was magical, and even if we didn’t put one fish on ice – it was already a day that would be forever cherished. After a 30 minute boat ride, we eased up into a bayou and power poled down on a shallow oyster reef 30 yards from the shoreline that had a ditch that was pouring water and baitfish into the main bayou. Oh… Wow… this looks good. Cast after cast. Fish after fish. Mom and Peggy were hooked up constantly. A couple good “pops” on the popping cork and it was like Houdini Popping Corks – disappeared! Double hookups. I literally do not think there was one single cast that didn’t result with a fish on the deck or just a missed hookset. I mean it was absolutely perfect. Well over 40 redfish hit the deck within and hour and a half. Live Shrimp under a popping cork. Moving water. Lots of baitfish. Lots of redfish. Lots of smiles and laughs. Mom and Peggy put a couple limits of beautiful shallow water slot reds on ice very quick. I was really worried about Peggy getting too hot as the sun came up, but heck they caught their fish so quick that we were actually back to the dock before the sun was able to really get the best of us. This trip could not have been planned any better. As I was looking at the tide chart that morning, I thought well this don’t look good. Either the chart was wrong. I was wrong. Or the fish were wrong… However it could not have been planned any better. The exact way we planned this very special trip was the secret to when is the best time to go fishing. When. You. Can.