Blind Casting vs. Sight Casting
Thinking about the difference between fishing water where you don't or rarely sight fish vs. fishing the flats.
2 totally different experiences; on the flats the excitement for me was trying to entice those large fish. While blind casting I'm in a continual state of readiness, waitign for the strike, wondering what/ what size I'm going to be hooked into.
Both are a blast, I won't really have any other flats shots this year but look forward to next year - will definitely aim to splitting my time more evenly between the 2.
What makes each of those experiences specila for you?
IHMO - Sight fishing requires a lot of time logged to develop. You might have moments of glory here and there but after one learns the lay of the flats it takes that much time again to get the fish that live there to cooperate. You just have to go, and go and go... and it seems the more you learn, the more complex it becomes - but the fish become more consistent along the way.
Blind casting is only blind if the person is not digging into the scenario with his mind and his fly, and if he is not untangling the complexity of the location with his retrieves and his use of current. Perhaps over 90% of the flyfishermen I see are the cast and strip types. Of course we all cast and strip, but most anglers just cast and strip and expect the fish to materialize coincidentally where they are casting. That's why 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish.
Why I am hopelessly addicted to sight fishing: No matter how you slice it, blind casting is some fraction of the excitement of sight fishing. Sure, the whole process of finding a blasting hot consistent keeper hole in a blind rip is kick ass and is in a sense like "sighting" fish because of the high level logic of the find. I really enjoy this process and strive to discover these situations every time I go out - but to me each blind fish is still some fraction of the accomplishment and a fraction of the excitement of seeing, targeting, and landing a 40" plus fish in 20-something inches of water on a sugar white flat illuminated by mid-day summer sun.
Sight fishing is not something you can do everyday, or even during certain times of the day, tides, seasons, etc. It's a special privilege for certain parts of the world, and luckily Cape Cod is one of them.
My limited experience in saltwater sight fishing has left me with 2 things:
1. before the hook-up - it's as fun as trying to seduce trout into taking my fly.
2. after the hook-up - What the heck did I do to get them to take my fly!?
"Prospecting for trout" is a great tool for learning how-to-fish-when. Applying the proper technique at the right time is the key and if I could get funding to support the research I could write a proper review...
...or with my current resume, I am overly qualified to write a what-not-to-do-at-any-time-while-fishing book but it might prevent a lot of newbies having the great times I have had because of this great past-time (pass money, pass up sleep, pass nobody at stupid o'clock in the AM...)
great topic Roop
I fly fish fresh water but I can still relate to this topic.
I mostly use "sight casting" on rivers & streams; around rocks and logs; ect.
"Blind casting", or pot luck casting as I call it, works well on large bodies of water. I use this tactic for lakes and wide rivers with great success.
"Sight casting" is a lot harder because people tent to set the hook too early in the take, resulting in jerking the fly out of the fish's mouth before the hook enters.
I have lost more fish this way due to an adrenalin rush than to poor fishing tactics.
I like sight casting better, it's more enjoyable to me.
You raise a good point, casting to rings on a smooth pond is another form of sight fishing; as is casting to tailing bonefish. When the ocean feeding coho salmon are tearing thru bait like silver lightning bolts or boiling the surface for candlefish, it's another form of sight fishing.
On Swiftshure Bank off British Columbia I could throw a fly in front of the wake of krill made by horse mackeral, using the pressure wave to "sight" in on coho. This remarkable phenomenon plays like this:
Pacific horse mackeral swim in a wedge to push the krill into a thick wave, gobbling as they go. Once the krill wave got thick enough, the speedier coho would zip thru the thickest part of the krill mass leaping over the bodies of the mackeral into the thick shrimp wave. You could almost sense when the wave would get thick enough for the coho to blast thru it, and once you saw a few breaking in front of the mackeral push wave you knew it was time to cast. And strip it like a madman or else you'll be tied up with a mackeral while the coho flash all around the boat!
It's not just the coho, I once landed a 20 pound king with a ball of krill the size of a softball in it's gut.
And who could forget the visual overload of a full-scale atlantic coastal blitz, the sound filling your head and the water black with the bodies of bass and blues pounding the bait against the shoreline at your feet! Sight fishing? All you can see is fish!
On another vein I enjoy reading the intense overall character of a glacial steelhead river just as much as I do casting to the stealthy forms within it's currents. In a sense, the river is a living thing and those who do well in steelheading "see" the life in the river. In this case, I think I enjoy fishing to visible steelhead less than the fishing of the visible river - because they are one and the same in steelhead flyfishing. When you fish to the river and hook a steelhead, you've caught them both.
While I've been fortunate enough to have picked up a few tricks from some very exceptional fly rodders, I still don't think of being able to figure out where fish SHOULD BE as sight casting.
For me, when "blind casting" the fun is expecting the hit & finding out that fish really are where you thought they would be.
On the flats, just ask Nick, I'm pointing out moving fish & yelling at him to cast, asking Nick to keep reminding me to sit still and let them come to me.... it's like Christmas morning!!
I agree 110% Roop, some spots are formed so that just being there to cast a line into their structure and the probing the tide currents changing over sculpted sand is exciting as hell. The Monomoy Point Rip is one such example, but even that is overshadowed by the most exciting spot of 2001...
You're buying the Pogie Oil next time we get together!!
Saturday was the best fishless day of the year by far. I had a blast sighting the fish with you. You really had to believe they were gonna come back, and they would, most of the time.
To me, sight fishing also involves seeing the reaction of the fish. Not just seeing where the fish are gonna be, or might be, but how they react to the fly, presentation, etc. Seeing a fish refuse a fly after a follow, although painful, is almost as exciting as catching it. When I can see the fish's reaction, I'm sight fishing.
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