Your favorite hotspot is ever so slightly crowded...?
Nobody wants to fish in a crowd, but sometimes a hot bite combined with a sunny weekend day simply makes it unavoidable. The strange thing is, many anglers will hear about all the fish being caught at Spot X, arrive there to find a million boats, catch few if any fish, then a week later hear all about how great the fishing was there again. What gives? Truth be told, it’s easy to get fooled by a crowd of boats. The next time you approach one, don’t make one of these mega-mistakes.
Your favorite hotspot is ever so slightly crowded…?
Pull up the edge of a fleet and “just start fishing.” Fleets grow from all different directions depending on where the different boats are coming from. And when most people reach the periphery of the fleet, the pull back the throttles and start fishing. As a result, the fleet can build until boats at one edge or another are a solid half-mile from the actual hotspot. So never settle into an area and begin fishing until you find fish on your meter, see nearby boats with bent rods, or have some other solid indication that you’re fishing around something other than lots of boats.
Drop anchor on the up-current side of a fleet of chummers. The chum’s flowing downstream, and that’s where the fish will be. Whenever there’s a fleet of boats putting chum into the water the best bet is to position yourself on the farthest down-current edge of them. If the tide changes and you suddenly find yourself on the up-current side, it’s often worth pulling the anchor and repositioning.
Try to fish artificials around a bunch of boats that are fishing live bait. It’s not impossible to be successful in this scenario, but quite often when there are a ton of boats and thus a ton of live baits in the water, the fish will be keyed in on them. Getting them to strike an artificial can be a tall order.
Of course, there’s one simple way to avoid all of these fleet-fishing pitfalls – go somewhere else where you can fish by yourself!