Hunting Fishing

From superstitution to science, we all rely on hints to predict good fishing

Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert.
Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert.

I’ve noticed that there are many different signs that anglers use to predict if the fishing is going to be good. It may not be a science, but there seems to be something to most of these intangible indicators.

For example, I’ve had older anglers point out to me as we’re driving to the lake that all the cows are up and eating and the birds are flying around catching bugs. They say that it’s a good sign that there’s an active feeding cycle going on and the fish are probably biting, too. I haven’t kept track of how accurate this indicator has been compared to the actual bite, but it does make sense. If nothing else, it certainly increases my anticipation!

Some anglers like certain types of clouds and a wind from the west to give them confidence that the gestalt is just right for a big bass; others study the moon phases. I happen to believe that the moon is probably one of the biggest influencers of fish behavior. I don’t like fishing the day after a bright full moon; however, I’ve caught some of my biggest stripers during this time, so I must be missing something?

A buddy just told me that he has found that when the grass goes from green to brown that the fishing picks up.

Another big sign that I’ve found many use is to go fishing when the very first fruit trees bloom. I happen to like that one – it just feels right! If the blackbirds are also warbling and active, I get the sudden urge to hit the water. I think it’s probably just a spring thing from my early fishing years.

Some fishermen like seeing floating spider webs, while others rely on blooming flowers like poppys or Indian paintbrushes to get them excited. Hearing the big bullfrogs start to bellow is another sign for some.

Seeing bugs flying all over the place is a signal that things are changing – one that flyfishermen are especially attuned to. Those bugs all sensed something at the same time that led to their mass exodus into the air – something beyond our senses to pick up!

I’m always intrigued when an angler starts out by saying “Have you noticed?” This is always the sharing of something they suspect is tied to their fishing success. They are trying to get some confirmation that maybe someone else has noticed it, too!

I haven’t begun to scratch the surface of all the things that fishermen use to try to figure out good fishing cycles. Yes, I believe that a lot of them are just superstition, but others are tied to key factors we aren’t able to fathom using our human senses. Sometimes all we can do is try to be aware enough that we pick up something that just might be a direct link to a fish wanting to eat.

Anglers will always keep trying to peer into the mysterious world of fish to figure out the intangibles that make them tick. I have to think it’s in our DNA to keep looking for signs – and convincing ourselves that we’ve got it figured out! If you do, please let me know!

Never give up!

Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert:, Rogergeorgeguideservice on Facebook and @StriperWars