Q and A

Q. Is it more important to cast far, accurately, or quickly when sight fishing?

A. It’s best if you can do all three, but overall I’d say that accuracy and quickness are most important when sight fishing. When you (or the guide) see a fish coming toward the boat, you usually have a very short time to get the fly in front of the fish before the fish sees the boat or changes course and swims out of range. So it’s important to get the fly in front of the fish quickly. This means making few false casts before casting at the fish. One of the biggest mistakes I see anglers make when sight fishing is making way too many false casts. And with each additional false cast the situation worsens (the fish gets too close, or turns, or sees the boat). So getting the fly to the fish quickly is very important. Equally as important is accuracy. If the fly is not put in the fish’s cone of vision, then the fish is less likely to see the fly. And many times a fish will not turn to chase a fly that lands off the mark, but will take a fly that is directly in its path. So accuracy is equally as important as quickness. Finally, being able to cast long distances can certainly get you more chances at fish that would otherwise be out of range, but you will still need to be accurate with the cast. But I think being able to cast long distance is important for another reason – if you can cast 90 feet under calm conditions, you can probably cast 50 feet in tough conditions, and more often than not it’s windy on the flats.