Tips & Techniques

Fishing Tip: Trusting your gut

REALLY good anglers trust their instincts. I’ve fished with enough top fishos – mostly professional guides and charter skippers – to see this in action.

Highly proficient anglers who spend a great deal of time on the water and catch fish on a regular basis seem to be “in-tune” with their surroundings, especially on their home patch.

They tend to have a rock-solid plan, which they stick to, mostly to great effect. Catching fish isn’t an accident for these guys (and girls). It’s second nature to them; it’s something that’s already wired into their brains.

I liken it to the way a good footballer knows exactly where to be on the pitch to make that try-saving tackle, take that crucial mark or kick that winning goal. They don’t have to think much about it – it just happens!

I’ve never been that great at trusting my gut. I’m one of those anglers who goes in with a supposed “plan” – then gets distracted by peripheral issues.

I start saying things like “the water temperature’s not as high as I thought – maybe we should move,” or “I hear one bloke caught a couple near the river mouth, perhaps we should try there”.

I end up “taking my eye off the ball”, doubting my plan of attack and my ability to catch fish. And my results sometimes suffer.

But I am slowly learning to trust my instincts. There are a couple of waterways on the NSW far south coast that I know very well – maybe better than I give myself credit for!
I’m starting to realise that my first option is usually my best option, and that sticking to a plan usually produces results.

The importance of trusting gut feelings was hammered home during a recent flattie-luring trip on one of my favourite south coast estuaries, the Moruya River.

I’ve fished this river for 25 years and know it well. But on my most recent outing, I still had nagging doubts. I know a bend on the river that produces very consistent – and sometimes spectacular – mid-spring flathead action. And that’s where I had every intention of focusing my efforts.

In the lead-up to the session, however, a number of developments had me re-thinking my approach. All the positive fishing reports were coming from the opposite end of the river. In fact, no-one was reporting any catches from the location I had in mind.

The water temperature and tidal patterns were also pointing me in other directions.

Do I buckle and divert from my plans? Or do I stick to my guns?

Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, something inside me kept urging me to remain on track and focus on my favourite bend. It had rarely let me down at this time of the year, and I had a feeling (yes, a gut feeling) that it would deliver for me again.

There were few other boats around when I reached the location in question, but that didn’t worry me. “The fish are here,” I kept reassuring myself.

Two minutes later, I knew I’d made the right call. On my second cast, my 100mm Squidgy Wriggler was nailed by a solid fish on the edge of a weedbed. At first I wasn’t sure what I’d hooked. The fish hung deep and I couldn’t turn it on light 4lb braid.

As it headed off into the channel, I was forced to chase it with the bow-mount electric. I was pretty sure it was a decent lizard, but it was fighting like a big tailor or small mulloway, so I wasn’t taking any chances.

Eventually it surfaced and after a few nervous moments close to the boat, 77cm of big female dusky flathead was in the net. She posed for a few quick pics before going back.


That session on my favourite bend of the river yielded half-a-dozen nice flatties in quick time, plus a few more near-misses. We got a few chopper tailor as well.

Back at the ramp, anglers who’d headed in the other direction reported little action. Some drew a complete blank.

I’d made the right decision to stick to my plan and trust my judgement. And that’s what I’m going to endeavour to do from now on.

So, this summer, try trusting your gut instincts when you head out onto the water. Chances are, like me, you’ll be glad you did!

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.