Sunday, October 24, 2021

Keys to Fishing Success: Concentration and Presentation



Captain Mary


One observation I have made with many people who try fishing and have had limited success is that they often lack two important components to successful fishing: concentration and effective bait presentation. I find that many enthusiasts begin fishing by casting in an arbitrary fashion with no real cognizance of where their bait is or how it is being presented. This often results in lines drifting under the boat, tangles with other anglers, or becoming hooked up on bottom structure. This article will address some effective tips on how to improve overall environmental awareness, concentration and offer improved bait presentation techniques.

Concentration and bait presentation are two key ingredients necessary to enhance the chances of a productive fishing day. Concentration starts with simple awareness of the current environmental conditions like tide, water visibility, wind direction and “active” water. Simply stated, learning to read the water is an essential ingredient to productive fishing. Seeking areas where hard structure, feeding birds and baitfish can be seen is a good bet for selecting a desirable fishing location.

Tidal movement along with wind direction and strength will help an angler to best determine ideal cast placement as well as the ability to anticipate where the bait will move and the speed with which it will move there. A simple example of this would be to consistently cast against the tide and allow the selected bait to drift along with it. When drifting from a boat, the bait can stay in the water until the conclusion of the drift, as the boat is moving along with the tide keeping the bait near bottom. If anchored or when fishing from shore, the angler must retrieve the bait once it reaches the top of the water, as the bait will surface once the tide pushes it out all the way (unless weighted down with the intent to keep it in one general place on the bottom as one may do over a reef or wreck).

In most instances, bait presentation is enhanced through jigging. Jigging involves keeping the rod tip up while using the wrist to raise the rod tip with quick, but small vertical snaps. It’s important that the vertical movements remain small to minimize slack that can occur in the line as the rod tip drops slightly at the end of each jigging motion. The act of jigging can entice a strike as fish often are attracted to the movement of the bait as it appears to be injured, in distress or attempting to escape from predators.

Live bait presentation is further enhanced with the use of light fluorocarbon leaders. Live bait may include a variety of baitfish, shrimp or crabs. Light leaders improve bait presentation because the bait moves more naturally in the water as it is not weighted down by the line. Additionally, the use of lighter leaders improves sensitivity which will result in more hook ups. I suggest a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 lb. fluorocarbon leaders when fishing south Florida’s back country hot spots. Additionally, braided line is suggested as it is more abrasion resistant then monofilament when fishing around hard cover and structure.

By improving your focus, concentration and awareness of the current environmental conditions, selecting desirable fishing locations and experimenting with improved bait presentation, your fishing experiences will surely be top notch!

Tight Lines!


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 back country 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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