Today we present the third and final installment of our mini series of posts on nervous water. We’ve already gave a brief primer on what nervous water actually is along with how to identify nervous water created by bonefish on the flats, and today we wrap it up with the good stuff – how to fish it!
Fishing to Nervous Water – 3 Tips
Okay, despite some difficult conditions, you’ve spotted a patch of nervous water indicating a happy pod of bonefish.. Now what? Here’s what.
- Determine direction. When conditions don’t allow you to see individual fish (hence why you’re relying on nervous water to locate fish), it can be difficult at first to determine which direction the fish are moving. Knowing this direction is critical as it tells you which direction the fish are facing, thus which side of the pod you should present your fly. Remember, bonefish eat with their mouths, not their tail. Look for a consistent direction amongst the pod to determine which way the majority of the school is moving across the flat. Look for the ‘point’ of wakes created by individual fish to determine direction. In really skinny water, looking for tails in relation to dorsal fins can help determine which direction the fish are facing and/or moving.
- Cast to the front edge. Once you’ve determined the direction of the pod, now its time to make the cast. A common mistake we see when casting to nervous water is presenting the fly into the middle of the school. Doing so runs the risk of spooking every fish in the school. Instead, aim to present your fly to the outer most fish on the leading edge of the pod that’s closest to you. That will create the most competition for your fly amongst the other fish in the pod, and allow for multiple opportunities if the first cast goes unnoticed.
- Target fish, not wakes. A tendency when targeting fish by the wakes they create is to cast the fly directly at the wake itself. Don’t. The wake created by a cruising bonefish is always well behind the actual location of the fish. The faster the fish moves, the further behind the wake will show on the surface. Present your fly well in front of a wake (upwards to 6 feet or even more) in order to get your fly in front of the fish’s face.
Want to see for yourself? Click on the video below to see how its done!
Note: If you’re viewing this in a newsletter or a reader, click here to see the video on YouTube.
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