Do you ever notice the little things? Part of fishing for me is being outdoors and getting out of the house. The outdoors is a place where you can expect the unexpected and where life seems random to someone such as myself who has a weekly schedule to adhere to. When I wake up in the morning I make sure not to forget anything. I hook the boat up to my Jeep and I try not to forget any steps. I drive down to the boat launch and try not to forget to lock my car. Last but not least I cross my fingers hoping that my 2-stroke outboard will start up and grace me with another day of flawless performance. It’s when the throttle is pushed down, and we are underway, that forgetting becomes okay.
Once the skiff is in motion on the water and on the way to the designated fishing spot for the day, it seems for me that the busy world is now gone and it’s time for the unexpectedness of nature to rear its head. Do you take time to notice everything around you? I like to think I do.
I notice the direction in which the birds are flying. I take note of the species of birds currently in the area. I notice the raccoons on the shoreline and what they are doing, hoping that one day I can become one with nature like the late and great Herman Lucerne was with his home waters of the Everglades. Have you ever noticed the particular behaviors of the flats-foraging birds of Florida?
The way a bright pink spoonbill waves its head back and fourth through the water in a zig-zag pattern in order to feel out small crustaceans which aid in the birds ability to turn that bright pink color, or how about the common herons and how they use their feet to rustle up the muddy bottom of the flats while walking in circles to find their meal for the day? Witnessing these actions and becoming a part of your fishing grounds can make all the difference in how you perceive your surroundings.
It’s not just the flora and fauna on land and in the air you can examine more closely, though that’s what we as anglers probably overlook the most. The fish can tell you tales if you are keen enough to watch their motions and habits before they see you. The direction in which redfish are swimming in the lagoons of Central Florida can tell you where the fish will be and even what mood the fish are in for that specific time of year.
You could be doing yourself a great disservice to not pay attention to your surroundings when out on the water. It may seem that you are at your greatest potential while zooming around the water and running to the next fishing spot in search of more eager fish to take photos of, but are you really getting the most of your time outdoors? It’s not just outsmarting and landing fish that makes it all worth it.
It’s all these little things.