The edge pieces of the puzzle on any given day in Puget Sound are made up by being observant of the bait in the water. If it is chum fry season like it is now I would recommend targeting the places NORTH of the river mouths that chum fry flow out of. If it is July and the sandlance are all over the edges of the eel grass bed, eel grass might be the structure to fish to! Being observant and slowing down to think about why you are fishing the way you are is the biggest thing that separates the 10% from the 90%.
Efficiency in angling is the second bit of the puzzle. The time we are on the water is precious, making the most of that time is the best way to ensure the most fish end up in your net. This means becoming a better caster, improving your knot tying skills, fishing to the most productive parts of the beach rather than fishing through that mud flat to get to the good water. These are the reasons our clients catch the fish they do. I recommend my guys get casting lessons, if not from me, from some of the great instructors we work with.
Those last few pieces of the puzzle fall into place as you put the rest of it together, your fly selection gets better because you are now thinking of where the fish are in the water column and how you need to present the fly to them. You are learning how to fish your beaches more efficiently so you are now starting to find where the “sweet spots” are during different tides and finding out that you might need a different line to fish your favorite beach as effectively as you would like.
The best part of this puzzle is it is never ending. When you catch a fish you should always think to yourself “why was that fish in this spot,” “Why did this fish eat so far out? is there a drop off?” Always ask new questions and give yourself new pieces of the puzzle. Eventually these all add up to more fun on the water!