Think of it as an adventure. Seize the opportunity. A little work before you hit the water is easier than ever.
Thank God for Google Maps. Get a lay of the land; tackle shops, ramps, and even lodging.
You can score more information by downloading map software on your PC. This software allows you to pre-plan your boating course. Some folks just trust a printed map. That is okay too. You can always use both for comparison as well.
Look for boating hazards first. Yes, hitting submerged stumps would be bad. However, hazards are also fish cover.
What is the difference between cover and structure? Think of cover as laydowns, grass beds, and boat docks. Structure is drop-offs, points, or creek beds. Look closely at the contour lines on your maps. When these lines are close together, that is a clue to a steep edge or drop-off. Look for two land-based points that face each other too. These are often old roadbeds. When fishing a river, look for possible eddies to fish.
Arrive the afternoon before fishing. This will give you a chance to find the ramp in daylight. Go ahead and launch. Fire up your Humminbird and idle around a bit. A few casts here and there with a Road Runner will cover some water too. Carefully investigate spots you have marked on your map. Go ahead and mark them on your GPS if you have not already done so.Make note of any navigation buoys. Keep in mind storms can misplace buoys too. Compare them to map locations to be sure.
Ease back to the ramp. Load up and head to the hotel. You will sleep well knowing you have done your homework. Your adventure will continue tomorrow.