Repeatability of Patterns

by Capt. Beau Woods

Repeatability of Patterns

Figuring out simple fishable patterns can make a huge difference in a day, no matter your quarry. If you can repeat something--a specific drift over a wreck, a direction trolled by a piece of flotsam or the distance a bait is fished off the bottom--these patterns can be the key to unlocking an outstanding bite on any given species.

Keys within a pattern can be the easiest part to figure out once you locate a targeted species, such as mutton snapper on deep wrecks. Catching one mutton on a random drift is one thing, but being able to catch five on separate drifts, on the exact same line, is something altogether different for the average angler.

FishMonster Magazine-Nov/Dec 2106To attempt to figure out a repeatable pattern, a GPS plotter/bottom machine, with a good understanding of its use, is a must--along with a dedicated boat driver. The boat driver’s only job is to keep the boat in position on the drift and make note on the plotter where bites and/or caught fish occur so that particular drift can be repeated.

Two anglers outfitted with varying rigs (different weight lead and leader size) will help to establish variance in the pattern. Setting up in this manner will allow you to figure out what the fish want on that particular day so it can be repeated. Anglers should pay close attention to details such as leader length and distance the weight was off the bottom upon contact. Even the size of a live bait can be a key to a pattern. (Honestly, it always seems whatever bait you have, the one you have the least of, is the one they want.) I find I set up this way a lot when targeting yellowtails; by starting with different sized hooks and/or weighted jigs right off the bat, I can see which works the best that particular day. As these keys are unlocked to a pattern, both rigs can be streamlined to take advantage of the pattern.

Once a fish is caught and the boat driver has made note of where on the drift the bite occurred, they can line up right on the same track on the plotter for the next drift. The anglers share info on the bite and, as more bites occur, the details start to come to light.

When plotting patterns, every day is different. Not just the fish, but the weather and tides can add to the keys of a pattern as well.

Successful tournament anglers and guides have been unlocking, or at least trying to unlock patterns, for years. 
Why not approach your fishing trip with the same outlook?




Capt. Beau Woods
Capt. Beau Woods

Author

Captain Beau Woods is a twenty year veteran of the Coast Guard. His charter vessel is a 30’ custom light tackle center console operating out of Cudjoe Gardens Marina in the Lower Keys. He specializes in reef/wreck/offshore, deep dropping and daytime swordfishing. 305-294-3882 FishDoubleOCharters.com



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