Have a Plan with Mark Coburn
As a novice angler, you can vastly improve your odds of consistently catching fish by learning and using mapping. Many of us listen to the chatter on what the best boats are, the best equipment, the best baits, etc. But the truth is catching fish can be done without the best.
Most importantly you need to fish where the fish are! Or at least fish the route they travel to get there! With mapping software whether in your boat or online, you can study water before you get on the water and become overwhelmed with the various tasks you need to perform.
By spending a little time beforehand, you can develop a plan and then go fish that plan. The more you research and plan, the more you will learn about fish location and migration, both of which will help you put fish in the boat.
For example, in very basic terms in rivers, it can often be very productive to look for outside bends in the channel. This is especially true in slower flowing rivers.
In faster-flowing rivers look for “current breaks” in a channel. A current break can simply be a large rock or tree stump, anything that is taller than the fish. Fish will often sit immediately behind that break resting from the current and waiting for their next meal to come by.
In a reservoir or lake without current, you should look for paths that fish may travel to get from point A to point B. Think of them as fish highways. Many times, a subtle ditch is all it takes to filter fish from deep to shallow water. Similarly, in deeper water fish will often travel between adjacent humps to move about. Locating these travel lanes will increase your catch rate.