We like to see our guests make the most out of their time on the water, which is why we always suggest putting in some casting practice before a trip. After all, it’s better to shake the rust off on the lawn than on your first day of fishing, right?
However, at Andros South, we’ve found that while many of our guests do take the time to practice in the backyard before their trip, they don’t always practice some of the most important fundamentals when it comes to bonefishing.
So, today we’re coming at you with 5 tips to get the most out of your practice time, and hopefully help you catch more fish.
- Practice With the fly in Hand. Whether you’re fishing from the boat or on foot, most shots at bonefish start from the ready position with the fly in hand. The ability to work out enough line to present the fly quickly to a target with only a short amount of line out of the rod tip is one of the most difficult things for beginners to pick up. So, rather than practicing picking up 40 feet of the line straight in front of you and casting to a target, practice casting to a target from the ready position instead.
- Practice in the Wind – Correctly. When practicing casting in the wind, most anglers only focus on casting directly into the wind. While it’s important to be able to cast into a strong headwind, most anglers find it is a wind blowing onto your casting shoulder that is the most difficult to present a fly in. Make sure to practice casting to a target from all wind directions and you’ll be ready for anything.
- Cast to a Target. The ability to present the fly quickly and accurately is key to catching more bonefish. Therefore when practicing before your trip, always cast to a target. However, continually casting to the same target from the same position with a fixed amount of line is not very helpful. Instead, lay out several targets at different directions and distances and practice presenting your fly to each of them. After all, the ability to change directions and present your fly quickly and accurately is the name of the game.
- Present With Minimal False Casts. As mentioned above, the ability to present your fly as quickly as possible is important when fishing for bonefish. Often times, the window of opportunity is only a few seconds! So, practice presenting your fly at a target with no more than 2-3 false casts.
- Practice Transferring Line. While practicing your cast, get in the habit of quickly transferring your line to the stripping position immediately after presenting the fly. We see a lot of fish lost because the fish is on the fly before the angler has control of the line. Every time you cast at a target, practice transferring the line to the stripping position as quickly as possible and pretend as if you are going to strip (or strip-set) your fly. That way, when it’s go time, you’re ready the second your fly hits the water.