When saltwater fishing, one of the most important keys to success is being on the same page as your guide. 40 feet to you may seem like 50 feet to him. The correct distance doesn’t actually matter, the key here is that you have an understanding of how far your guide thinks 40 feet actually is. A good size reference can be the boat that you are in. Ask him how long the boat is. It may only be 16 feet but if the guide thinks it is 20 feet, that is crucial for you to know. That way when he spots a fish from his pooling platform and says, “bonefish, 40 feet 10 o’clock”, you know to try and cast about 2 boat lengths in the 10 o’clock angle. Another piece of advice is to throw a couple practice casts when you first step up on the bow. Show the guide a few different casts that you are comfortable making and have him tell you how far they were. Again, no one is going to bring out a tape measure here, the correct distance does not matter, you just want to make sure you and your guide are on the same page in understanding distances.
The casting direction is another topic where you want to agree with your guide. The imaginary clock face is the most common way to give a location to look. When your feet are facing straight ahead on the bow, that is 12 o’clock. But it is easy to get a little off up front by shuffling your feet, or your location on the bow may be slightly different from the guide’s perspective on the pooling platform. Once the guide gives a direction, say 9 o’clock, I will point my rod in that general area and then have him tell me right or left. I can then slowly move my rod until the guide says I am pointing at the fish. To me, this is far more effective than just relying on the imaginary clock face but the clock face does give a good starting point.
Another important example of where you want to be on the same page as your guide is in your goals for the trip. At the start of everyday, let the guide know what you want out of the day, obviously some expectations are just unrealistic but it is good for the guide to know your goals. If you want to just wade fish or chase a single cruising fish, let him know that! Andros South has some of the best flats guides in the world but they are not mind readers.
Take the time at the start of your day to make sure you get on the same page as your guide. Get a general understanding of what he thinks 30, 40, and 50 feet is. See what he calls 9 o’clock and how he wants you to approach the fish. These little details can make a big difference in the overall success of your day!
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