Imagine that you’re on a family vacation somewhere stuck in what appears to be the middle of nowhere but you want some angling action. What are your options?
No sense in pouting when you’ve got the Internet and local bait shops to help decode some of the pathways to going fishing in new locations. Take the Florida Everglades for instance. The 10,000 Islands area where the fresh water of the vast Everglades meets the ocean is a daunting maze that seems impossible to figure out. Yet like most places, there are clear pathways to angling action if you know where to look.
Local Guides – One surefire way to learn how to catch fish in a new area is to hire a local guide. They make a daily living showing people where and how to catch fish. Plus, they can offer years worth of advice on refined fishing techniques and baits that you can use to broaden your fishing savvy. Admittedly, the drawback is getting your parents to pay for a guide. So propose the trip as a family adventure that might cost less than taking everyone to Disney. And unlike carnival rides, you’ll likely end up with the fixings for a great fish dinner at the end of the fishing adventure.
Local Bait Shops – Now you might think that local bait shops would be tighter-lipped than a catfish about spilling the beans to strangers on where and how to catch fish locally. So we actually had some of our anglers wander in to a bait shop and explain they were vacationing and would appreciate a some expert advice on where and how to catch something. Guess what? Most bait shop staff consider themselves fishing “experts” and freely offer solid info on where to catch fish. Many will even offer “what they’re biting on this week” in hopes of you catching something while they get to sell you a certain lure or bait. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Government Websites, Offices & Officials – You have some very productive options here. First, you have free and easy online access to fishing on state and federal waters. For instance, a quick search on “Fishing the Everglades” reveals over 6 million hits with a number from Everglades National Park and Florida Fish & Wildlife. We’ve had our youth anglers actually stop into ranger stations and information offices to get detailed maps and friendly advice on where to catch fish. Some rangers in the field even told us their secret baits and how to fish them. Bingo, fish on! And don’t forget solid online resources such as https://www.takemefishing.org/where-to-fish-and-boat/
Other Anglers – Bait shop staff aren’t the only ones who consider themselves “fishing experts”. Most other anglers will freely offer helpful “expert advice” to newbies, especially young anglers looking to learn how to catch fish. We’ve tried this “inter-personal” research on Florida piers, boat launches, beaches, and near river mouths and universally, most seasoned anglers are happy to share some where-to and plenty of how-to on catching local species.
Now that you have some simple and clear pathways to help you learn how to catch fish wherever you go, let’s dive into the interesting dynamics in the Florida estuary food webs that will help you fill your tackle box with fishing smarts. Because knowing what fish eat when and how will help you choose the right bait, place and fishing techniques. Makes sense, right? So click on the Learn More tab below. And don’t forget to share all this fun fishing detective work with your classroom using the free lesson activities below. Print a copy for your teacher today. Who knows, you might get an A!