I think a lot about how dynamic a body of water can be, in that we know fish move throughout the day, and into the night. Learning to read an ecosystem and understanding when to stay and when to leave is the difference between a good fisherman and a great fisherman.

The analogy I use to describe when fish are biting but not really getting the lure good, is called "Sips"... vs when they are really chomping, "Gulps".
There are plenty of days when I'll pull up to an area, make a few casts, and get several non-committal strikes. Instead of writing these bites off as fish that "just aren't biting", I'll make a mental note and come back to the area at a later time.

On days that I'll fish maybe 20 - 30 spots, really covering water, I may only get a handful of those non-commital strikes. If these are the only bites I get all day, it becomes obvious that those locations are where I need to focus exclusively. It's not that these fish won't bite, it's just that given those specific weather conditions, you need to switch up techniques to trigger a "Gulp", or solid bite.

Fish aren't stupid, and when they aren't in a feeding frenzy, they are far more discerning and careful about their environment. So, I use those days of "Sips" as clues, and I will rotate through my techniques until I dial in the correct combination. Mostly it's speed, color, or the level in the water column that you are fishing.

The lesson here is that it is super important to listen to your environment and recognize the areas where there are fish vs no fish. It's ok to fish for inactive fish, you just need to know what you're doing and pay attention to how they respond to your modifications.


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