Have you ever had a buddy tell you he “whacked them” on this place or that place?  Have you ever watched someone else pummel fish in an area or on a place and then when you tried it – nothing, zippo, zilch?  Well, everyone probably thought this was going to be a tirade about folks watching or following others and then moving in on those fish, but its not.

Many times I have tried to help out others by telling them where the fish were and later hear that they struck out or only caught one or two. I think that there are a couple of factors involved in this: confidence (a lack there of) and changing fish.

Here’s a good example: I had a friend tell me that the fish were eating a whacky rigged worm skipped under docks. I tried it, spent several hours trying different docks in different locations and only managed a couple of fish. I abandoned the pattern because I didn’t have the confidence to stick with it. Fortunately, that weekend we were fishing different tournaments.  He finished the day with almost a pound more than I managed on that day. He caught most of his fish on the pattern he told me about and in many of the same areas I had tried it in.

My point is this: if you don’t find the fish yourself or witness first hand the catching, you probably won’t have the confidence to go to those fish on your own and find or catch them. I’m not saying that you can’t; it’s just not as likely.

Another factor in this equation is that fish move! A school can move while chasing bait or a change in current can reposition them.

The thought to take away is this: if someone tells you about a pattern or the location of some fish, check it out. It might be one of the rare times when it actually works out like it’s supposed to. If it doesn’t, start looking in that same general area and find those fish for yourself. Odds are that you weren’t lied to, the fish just changed.

I often post the depth and type of structure that I catch fish from on the message board to give folks a clue. If someone goes out and looks with their electronics in that depth range on in similar places, they will likely find fish and will certainly feel better about finding the fish themselves.

So rather than ask someone where they caught their fish, ask them the conditions/pattern that they caught their fish under. Then you can take that information and go find the fish on your own.

There is no substitute for time on the water!

Rusty White of Rock Hill is a professional fisherman and full-time guide on the Catawba chain of lakes, offering full- and half-day services. For more information, visit fishingwithRusty.com.