The ABC Trifecta: 3 Signs Feeding Fish Are Nearby

A question we get all of the time is, “How do I know if I should fish a certain spot?”

Well, Luke and I have a very simple 3-step visual we do in every spot fish scout out.

We call it the ABC TRIFECTA FISH TEST!!!

The best news is that it’s as easy as ABC, 123 Do re mi baby you and me

Learn how you can immediately find feeding fish in your area right here!

The “ABC Trifecta” Fish Test [VIDEO]

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!

Not a member? Then click here to join the Insider Club today so you can get access to Smart Fishing Spotsdiscounts on the tackle shown below, and much more.

Anglers spend way too much time in one fishing spot that contains absolutely ZERO fish.

This is a BIG problem.

Most anglers struggle to locate where the fish are.

This has nothing to do with the quality of gear, vessel, or tackle you are using.

Anglers fail because they did not put themselves in a position to succeed in an area with feeding fish.

The good news is we created the ABC Trifecta to simplify your plan of attack.

Do not fish an area if it does not contain one of the THREE major components of the ABC Trifecta.

A) Ambush

Redfish, seatrout, snook, flounder, amongst a variety of other predatory fish, are natural ambush predators.

These fish will not be holding around areas of just flat sand.

They need some sort of structure to cling to whether that be seagrass, rocks, dock pilings, bridge pilings, or oyster bars.

Anything other than a plain, flat surface.

These structures provide safety and give predatory fish the ideal cover to begin feeding.

Unique structures like the ones mentioned above are sure-fire spots for predatory fish to be holding.

Fishing in areas like these will significantly increase your chances of finding feeding fish.

A bonus is if you can find a spot that contains 2 or more of the structures you should be looking for.

Rocks or oyster bars around a point or jetty should catch your eye and you should start fishing there immediately.

B) Bait & Birds

The “B” stands for Bait and also can mean Birds as well because birds usually are an indication of bait.

On a recent trip to Marco Island, Luke and I had not fished this part of the island in almost 20 years.

So we decided to not even bother stopping to fish in that area until we saw a white egret nearby.

Egrets are on the water 24/7 and know exactly where the bait is moving.

They will usually sit near structures like mangrove branches or oyster bars while there is also a source of food around them.

White egrets will more often than not bring you directly to a food source.

You may also see lots of diving pelicans while out on the water and this is mainly seen in open water.

Unless pelicans are diving near structure or closer inshore, it is not nearly important as seeing an egret near structure close to a food source.

C) Current Flow

Growing up fishing lakes and freshwater ponds, we did not know much about current flow at the start of our fishing journey.

It is a good idea to have a tide chart that shows you the actual graph of the water level at different times in the day.

You want to look for periods of the tide with more current flow while also taking into account the direction of the current.

If you are fishing an island, for example, you want to position yourself up current knowing that the current is pushing up against the island and along with it all of the schools of bait.

All else being equal, the up current side will most likely hold more fish than the down current side.

The objective of the ABC Trifecta is to provide you with a mental checklist of sorts so you can take note of what is important around you that can indicate feeding fish are nearby.

If you find all three of these elements in one fishing spot, the odds of you NOT catching fish are extremely small.

And if you don’t see all three elements in one spot, then MOVE!!!

We usually fish an area for no more than 15 minutes and then move on because the signs of life are not there.

If we don’t get a bite, we pick up and move on to another spot that has the elements of the ABC Trifecta.


In order to help make sure that you are targeting the right areas based on the latest feeding trends and upcoming weather forecasts, make sure to use the following 3 resources because they will save you a ton of time.


These regional game plans will show you exactly what types of spots to target in under 10 minutes… just click the video to start, and you’ll be informed on what to do on your next trip.

➡Weekend Game Plan Lessons


This exclusive software literally shows you where the most fish are likely to be feeding based on exactly when you’ll be fishing. It factors in the tides, wind, and weather to help you quickly see which areas to target throughout the day.

➡Smart Fishing Spots App


The Insider Community platform is what you can use to see what is biting near you, and you can get to know other members who fish in your area. Plus, you can use it to keep a log of your catches so you can use past trips to help predict future catches.

➡Community Platform 

Related categories:

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
jan sestak
2 months ago

Forgot to tell you I caught two snook & one redfish, left them all there.

jan sestak
2 months ago

Hi fisherman, I fished Flamingo area yesterday by myself. Everyone is too busy to fish. Had a great day fishing around mangrove Islands. I was using weedless hooks with Mulligan slam shades.

George Layton Layton
2 months ago

Solid info for ALL inshore fishermen !!! Thanks for another gem to put in the memory bank !!!

Rob S
2 months ago

Agree with the ABCs, Joe! One of the downsides of SFS is that there is seldom mention that these ABCs need to be overlayed with the identified “spots”. Many of the identified “spots” are areas just around sand or barren flats, especially in areas like the central IRL with virtually no seagrass. So to make those “spots” work, need to find structure that is much more precise than a large area. Many Insiders who have inshore experience can make the adjustment but may not be understood by the many new member beginners. Happy Holidays!!

Steven Free
3 months ago

Your so right about this info and I don’t fish an area unless it has at least 1 of the mentioned items you listed but we also have to remember fishing no matter how much important info is followed is never perfect and being skunked is to be expected at least once in a while because sometimes thankfully less then more times the fish just don’t want anything we give them it happens to the best and most experienced of us I think that’s why alot of people give up because they don’t understand that like anything that we as humans become good at it takes practice and more practice the more time spent on the water the better we usually become but it’s like you said if we follow a plan and go by the guidelines and seek current flow by structure and look for bait and certain kinds of birds the more of these we find on an area the better our chances of succeeding alot of it is common sence because if we try and think for a min in what a fish needs to survive some of the items listed are usually thought of we all know fish eat so obviously we want to see bait in the area that is planned to be fished second what areas do bait usually congregate around obviously some kind of structure and third when you find bait is it just swimming still or is it following a certain path meaning current and tidal flow and forth if one is having trouble locating bait and the items said are there we all know that birds eat bait as well so if we see certain kinds of birds congregating in an area that has the other items listed then we should know that all things are in place and that we should not pass up this obviously great opertunity and go ahead and fish the area but anyways you get my meaning that’s just my way of thinking think like a fish and you will usually figure it out thanks for the great and tried and true advice and info and as usual all you do😉👍


Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join:

Other Fishing Tips You May Like :

Does The Slam Shady BOMBER Catch Fish In Murky Water?

Do you fish in dark, murky water? Usually, you want to go with darker lures here, but the Slam Shady BOMBER is actually a great option because...
See Full post

Slam Shady In Bass Pro Shops! (Full Story Of This Global Record-Breaking Lure)

Have you seen it? Slam Shady is in Bass Pro shops and other tackle stores around the world! Get the full history of this lure and hear why...
See Full post

3 Things You Can Do To Catch More Kingfish This Summer

Do you want to catch kingfish this summer? If you're ready to do some nearshore fishing for kingfish but are not sure where to start, you...
See Full post
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Get Instant Access To “The Inshore Fishing Manifesto” PDF Now

You’ll automatically be emailed a private link to download your PDF, plus you’ll be added to the Salt Strong Newsletter.
(Please double-check your email below to ensure delivery.)