We’ve got a great guest post today from Wally Adams, offering a few pieces of advice to fly anglers headed to Alaska.
Wally lives in Anchorage with his wife Janet. He guided in Bristol Bay for two different lodges, as well as in Chile and Washington State. Some 2010 guests at Alaska West know Wally as well – he joined us for a ‘guest guiding’ appearance last summer.
Fishing Tips for Alaska-Bound Anglers
I have been extremely fortunate enough to fish at a number of places in the world, including Honduras, Christmas Island, Mexico, New Zealand, and, of course, Alaska. Over the 35 years I’ve spent fishing, along with the 15 years I’ve spent guiding, I have come up with a list of 5 things every Alaska-bound angler should consider.
- Practice casting. If you take away only one of the tips I offer here, let it be this one. The better your casting, the more fish you will have the opportunity to catch. It’s that simple. Thirty to forty feet is fine, but accuracy counts. Be able to cast either with both hands, or off your opposite shoulder. This will help in the wind, and when fishing out of the boat. Get the rod out at home, and practice on the lawn, local pond, school gym, wherever you can, at least a month before your trip.
- Learn to roll cast. Roll casting is key when fishing from the boat, so that you minimize having hooks flying through the center of the boat when false casting. This will make your guide happy. Roll casting minimizes tangles when fishing with cumbersome indicator/split shot/egg/flesh fly rigs. It also means your rig spends more time in the water, fishing, and less time in the air. It is also invaluable in fishing tight quarters like brushy little side channels. Learn to roll cast off your non-casting shoulder.
- Be consistent. Consistently accurate casts, followed by consistently effective mending, followed by consistently effective retrieves or drifts – this is how you hook more fish. Good, fishy anglers do this. And they do it after lunch, as well.
- Be aware. Always be mindful of the wind and its direction, and of your backcast. This will reduce tangles and snags, which result in down-time. When drifting in the boat, be aware of up-coming water. This will focus your attention downstream, and you will be ready when a particularly juicy snag, drop-off, seam, back eddy, chum bed, or bucket comes into your range.
- Be ready. This may seem obvious, but I wish I had a nickel every time I had a guest make a cast, then miss the strike, only to say “I wasn’t ready!” Well, you are ready when you make the cast, or you should be. You may only get one chance at a fish, especially a big fish. Be deliberate, slow down, and make every cast count – especially the first cast to a sighted fish or into a new piece of water. Fish out every cast.
Do these five things, and you will be a rock star, at least to your guide!