There’s no doubt about it, bonefish are finicky. Sometimes they appear to take a fly without any persuasion whatsover, while other others times they require nothing short of perfection.
Anyone who has spent time on the flats have certainly spooked their share of fish, it’s just part of the game. Whether the fly landed loudly on the water’s surface, the line landed on top of the fish, or the fly was presented to the wrong end of the fish, there are many, many ways to spook bonefish. But one way many anglers don’t typically give enough credit to is the shadow of their fly line over head.
Birds eat bonefish. Birds also cast shadows. Thus, the shadow of a fly line whizzing overhead generally doesn’t entice a bonefish to eat. Therefore, taking into account the angle of the sun when casting to a bonefish on a sunny day is crucial, and today Jason Whiting recounts this very lesson learned during a recent day on the water with Andros South guide, Charlie Sweeting.
Don’t Cast a Shadow
Have you ever made a great cast to a fish on the flats, but as soon as your line rolls out toward it, he still spooks? Well just the other day while on the water, we experienced this several frustrating times. Watching the fish spook, we assumed it had to do something with the cast we made. Did we land the fly to hard on the water? Did we make too many false casts? What the heck happened?
After noticing a little frustration on our face, our guide Charlie Sweeting reminded us of a great point.. “See the sun mon!” Pointing out that the angle in which we were casting was presenting our line right in between the fish and the sun. Therefore, every time the line unrolled towards the fish a nice, ugly, shadow was thrown right down on top of the fish. He pointed out we must always check where the sun is first, then watch the fish. If he is moving straight toward us, we must make our cast to the side of the fish away from the sun so that the shadow is cast away from the fish. Or, if the fish is moving perpendicular to you (side to side), we then must cast farther ahead of the fish than normal, and wait for the fish to approach, so that the shadow is not cast over the fish. Or, you can always put the fly right in front of the fishes nose hoping he just smashes it right away and doesn’t get the chance to take a second look at it.
Then, as you might have guessed, when that next bonefish came cruising toward us, we made a quick pause, checked out the sun angle, presented the cast to the opposing side of the fish and BAM! Fish on!