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    At some point you made the decision that you want to be a better angler; to improve or excel at it. No matter what level you start from, beginner, or an efficient angler, the steps are the same. Let’s take a look at how you can improve your game and take it to the next level.

    Education is key. While you can ‘go it alone’ and just spend ‘time on the water’ you’ll likely repeat mistakes over and over and see only inconsistent results. I sometimes see on the social media boards where an interested angler asks a question to try to learn and invariably someone will reply “Just go fishing; you’re over thinking it”. While this may work for spending your day relaxing on the water drinking a cold one, you won’t be able to discern what the true key elements are unless you fish with, or learn from people better than you are, and are reading or watching solid, time tested, intel. Simply put, you want to get an education and get on the water training putting that information into use at every chance you get.

    Most intermediate level or advanced anglers will be wary of those that want to ‘learn their spots’ but at the same time many of these anglers love helping others that are just getting started. The key is to be honest and tell them you’re not interested in their spots, but would really just like to learn something to improve yourself. But please don’t insult them by offering to ‘buy the bait’ or ‘pay for gas’ if they do something in the industry or at a higher level, their knowledge is way more valuable than that. Someone just barely more knowledgable than you, may or may not actually know or understand enough to really teach you what you need to know, but they’ll be much more open to a trip without exchanging resources and it will still be a trip to learn something.

    Teaching guides offer an invaluable service to the fishing community. The great thing is, that most fishing guides can teach if asked the right questions. Hint, don’t ask for their spots. But do ask them to teach you what they are looking at with their eyes and what they’ve learned the bottom of the bay or lake is like that attracts the fish. It will take you time to train your eyes to see the subtle, almost imperceivable signs that they are accustomed to seeing but they’ll each nudge you in the right direction. Try to take at least one trip per year with a fishing guide, you owe it to yourself as part of your education. And if you share what you learned from them, respect them and give credit where it’s due and tell others to go with them. It’s really ok to use their name and recommend them, it’s called ‘Community’.

    Tobin created TroutSupport.com – Tech Support for Speckled Trout and Redfish Anglers

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