One thing all anglers have in common is the desire to be better fishermen. As March rolls in, many of us vow to spend more time trying new lures and tactics, and to improve on those we’ve been using for years. The truth is, becoming a better angler is much simpler than that.

Capt. Rod Thomas of Capt. Ponytail Guide Service (336-240-5649) said becoming a better fisherman is all a matter of timing.

“To become a better fisherman, go where you know the fish are, when you know they are there. It’s really that simple,” said Thomas.

“Nothing gives us more confidence as anglers than to catch a lot of quality fish on our outings. Just because you live near a certain body of water, don’t get stuck in the rut of only fishing there all year. If you fish only that lake, you’re going to have some great days if you fish often enough, but you’re going to have far more mediocre days. Venture out of your comfort zone,” he said.

Thomas isn’t just talking when he says these words. He lives by the same philosophy, fishing between the middle of March and beginning of May in the Roanoke River for striped bass. This is their migration period, and Thomas said anglers can expect to catch the fish of a lifetime between then and the end of May. Next, he moves on to Winyah Bay where the redfish, flounder, tarpon, and trout are feeding heavily. In August, he heads to Pamlico Sound for the giant bull redfish. He then goes back to Winyah Bay in early September to catch the bull reds there through Thanksgiving.

“Do a little research to find out what is biting throughout the seasons, then map out your fishing calendar. Go to where those fish are during that time. You’ll enjoy fishing more and you’ll instantly be a better fisherman,” Thomas said.