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Updated: 05/16/2014 08:00:00AM

The number one secret to becoming a successful angler: Open your eyes

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The rewards of paying attention: Quality fish, like this big snook caught on a Bad Fish Charters trip.

Glen Pooley caught and released this chunky red.

By Robert Lugiewicz

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It’s very important to be observant when you’re out fishing (or in life, for that matter). Of course, it won’t do you much good to pay attention if you don’t remember what you’ve seen or heard, and no one can remember everything. Keeping a fishing log, whether it’s a pre-made book intended for this purpose or just a notebook, will make you a much better angler.

Your log will contain many bits of information — what you caught, where you caught it, tide, moon phase, wind direction and strength, water and air temperature, assorted weather conditions (air pressure, cloud cover, etc.), baits and anything else that might make a difference in your success or lack of it. None of these nuggets of information means a whole lot by itself, but if you compile them together you can start to see patterns forming. You may discover, for example, that a particular spot tends to produce a good redfish bite when the wind is blowing from the east but holds few when it’s out of the west. Or maybe the big trout on a certain flat feed best on strong incoming tides and weaker tides usually mean just little fish biting. But to gather this kind of information, you’ll have to be willing to do some experimentation.

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