Thursday, January 20, 2022

Angling Styles



Captain Mary A. Fink

Although there are many different techniques used in the sport of fishing, there are generally only two types of angling styles or approaches to angling.

The first approach is more proactive in nature, and the second is more reactive. The proactive angler is a hunter, constantly seeking signs of fish activity and active water. Other promising signs that proactive enthusiasts seek are areas holding structure, such as mangrove edges, oyster beds, dead branches, docks, wrecks and bridges, as well as emergent and submerged cover which is comprised of grasses and plant materials. Fish gravitate to structure and cover because these areas provide safety and food, making it an ideal habitat or home to most species.

The proactive angler constantly changes locations until success is found. Most proactive anglers are impatient and generally feel that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence! It is not uncommon for the proactive enthusiast to be mindful of the predicted tidal exchange for the day and to fish locations accordingly. This angler is cognizant of feeding birds, activity on the water’s surface and even wind direction and strength, as all of these factors can have an impact on fishing productivity. The bottom line characteristic of the true proactive hunter is that he or she is result oriented and completely engaged and aware of the current environmental conditions.

The reactive angler, on the other hand, is completely content in finding a fishing location and fishing the better part of the day in that chosen spot. The reactive angler is patient and complacently waits for something to happen. Quite often, with a change in conditions, especially tidal movement, there may be hot and cold periods experienced, and this angler will often feel that his luck has changed for the better or for the worse during these changing periods of activity, when actually it was the conditions that changed. The reactive angler enjoys the relaxation, scenery, wildlife and camaraderie found in fishing and prioritizes these things over the numbers and types of fish caught.

So, is it better to be proactive or reactive as an angler? The answer is a simple yes! A proactive approach provides anticipation and excitement and usually good results. The reactive style is more relaxing and calming providing a perfect environment for meaningful conversations and wildlife observation. As an angling enthusiast, I enjoy both styles on a regular basis. Obviously, when I’m hired to do a charter, and the anticipation of a great catch is the motive, I become completely proactive. When fishing inshore on a lazy Sunday, a more reactive approach works just fine.


Captain Mary specializes in fishing the beautiful Ten Thousand Islands. She holds a “six pack” captains license and has a knack for finding fish. A passionate angler possessing over 35 years of extensive experience in both backcountry and offshore fishing, Mary offers fishing expeditions through her Island Girls Charters company. When fishing with Captain Mary, you will be exposed to a variety of successful techniques including cast and retrieve, drift fishing, bottom fishing and sight fishing. Visit to learn about fishing with Capt. Mary, or reach her at 239-571-2947.


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