Thanks for the great insights, Michael!
It’s All About the Presentation…I Mean Casting…No, Presentation. Just Cast!
“Fly fishing is all about presentation.” – Anonymous, Omnipresent Fly Angler
Unfortunately, that wisdom doesn’t apply to bonefishing, and may in fact be holding you back in your trout fishing success too. Sure, presentation matters, but if you don’t possess the skill to get the fly where you want it, how said fly looks as it’s landing (or immediately thereafter) isn’t going to make one bit of difference.
Bonefish are hungry critters, and generally face a lot of competition for their meals; they are also quite wary. This means you have to be quick to get that fly in front of the trophy (or another fish will get the fly first), and you have to be able to do that from a fair distance away (or they’ll skedaddle the moment they feel your presence).
Ever see a trout rising forty feet upstream, but by the time you shuffle to within reach the fish is nowhere to be found? While floating spot a pocket, but by the time you’re done perfecting your loop that prime spot is now way behind the boat? I’m willing to admit I have. Meanwhile, have you ever watched a fly hit the water with an ugly splat, only to watch a trout pound it with reckless abandon nary a moment later? Yeah, me too.
If a fish is feeding (aggressively, as most bonefish must just to survive), it won’t take a ripple-free landing and a drag-free drift to get it to eat. You will, however, have to get the fly out there, and quickly, or you’ll miss the chance altogether. And nothing will get you attuned to doing so like making sixty-foot casts at bones on seek and destroy missions, while the guide persistently screams “ONE FALSE CAST!”
Wrap It All Up
Stay aware of what’s behind you as well as in front of you. Figure out what spots are best to cast into, and determine whether there are fish in those spots. And finally, be able to make that cast without putting on a pre-game show. Each can improve your trout fishing experience, and there is no better way to learn them than through trial by fire.
It’s a blaze of white sand, blue skies, and screaming reels. You’ll come back to your home water a better angler, if you decide to come back at all.