Inshore insights: When does an angler become great at fishing?

Fishing is part psychological, part technical know-how

Here in Louisiana we have really good inshore fishing.

We catch fish year round, and it’s even easier to catch limits of specks and reds during excellent conditions in the fall and spring.

And when that happens, hubris can take over — and pretty much anyone can mistakenly start to believe they are great at fishing.

But we both know that it’s only a matter of time until the marsh proves them wrong.

The tide will eventually turn, cold fronts will pass and bait will move.

When it happens, will that angler still be great at fishing?

So when do you become great at fishing?

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, and feel that fishing is part psychology and part technical know-how.

For example, the best anglers in the world have the grit to power-fish an entire bank for that one bite, and know how to do it.

Having that grit is the “psychological” part, and knowing which lure to use and where to cast it is the “technical how-how” part.

Considering this, it’s easier to explain what makes someone great at fishing — and gives us a measuring stick for us to judge our performance.

So with this in mind, I believe an angler truly becomes great at fishing when he or she is able to catch fish in a completely new area.

If someone can roll into marsh never before explored, and leave with a limit of fish — without any prior information —  then that angler is truly great at fishing.

Why bring this up?

Because I know you really like catching fish.

And if we can define what makes an angler great at fishing, then we can set goals and work to accomplish them.

After all, no one buys a boat and all that tackle to enjoy sunsets.

I know I really like catching fish, and I’ve learned that I’d rather catch 10 specks in a brand new area than 50 in a place I already know.

That feeling is a rewarding one, and money can’t buy it. Only hard work and time on water can.

Get a head start

You can get a head start on successfully fishing new areas by listening to the experts on my podcast, Inshore Interviews.

Inside my podcast I interview today’s anglers to share their passion and best advice for successfully fishing the marshes of Louisiana.

These include weekend warriors, fishing guides and tournament champions.

At the end of every episode I pose this question:

“If you were to start out in a brand new area where you knew no one, but had a full tank of gas, your boat and all of your fishing tackle, how would you go catch fish today?”

It’s really cool to listen to how they’d do it, I believe that if they can provide a helpful and legitimate answer, then they have a load of inshore knowledge to provide.

If you’re ready, you can listen to Inshore Interviews here or subscribe on iTunes.


An angler who is great at fishing is able to dissect an area and ascertain the best places to put in time on the water.

But those anglers also exercise humility, and never really call themselves “great.”

When you understand that you can always learn, and practice humility, you too shall become a great angler.

Tight lines, y’all!

Editor’s Note: Devin Denman is an avid inshore fisherman who writes the Louisiana Fishing Blog. To read more of his articles, visit