Bonefish Don’t Dance

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Widen your stance for better balance Photo by Louis Cahill

Widen your stance for better balance Photo by Louis Cahill

Dancing on the bow is a big turn-off.

I had the pleasure of doing a little bonefishing with a good friend the other day. We were poling the flats on the west side of South Andros and the wind was howling. The sky was full of popcorn clouds and their shadows were moving quickly across the flats. My buddy was getting a lot of shots at big westside bones but they all spooked before his fly landed.

We had fished to spooky fish for the last few days and were getting used to the sight of fleeing bonefish. My buddy assumed that he was spooking fish by lining them or landing them too hard. That might have been the case on one of the flat calm days we’d seen earlier in the week, but today the problem was one of footwork.

Like I said, the wind was howling. Thirty to thirty-five miles per hour. In an effort to turn over his fly my friend was casting like a warrior Hun. His casting was so violent that his left foot would come off the deck with each cast. He wasn’t even aware of it but every time that foot landed the bonefish would vanish.

Wind is frustrating but it can be your friend. The broken surface of the water will hide a lot of mistakes. Fish can’t see the shadow of your fly line or hear your fly hit the water but the sound of anything contacting the hull of the boat is instantly telegraphed, alerting them of danger. Fish don’t know how hard it is to cast a fly rod in the wind but they know an unnatural sound when they hear it and it doesn’t make them happy. Even the sound of feet pivoting on the deck can cause them to spook.

Fortunately, dancing on the bow is not part of a good fly cast. Getting your feet involved causes problems rather than solving them. To cast effectively in the wind, plant your feet in a wide stance and bend your knees to lower your center of gravity and engage the strength of your core. Use your wrist, not your shoulder, to load the rod and generate line speed.

Casting effectively in the wind is not about sheer power. It’s about timing and good technique. Focus on your double haul and make tight loops. Keep the line low with a side arm cast or use the Belgian cast when the wind is off your casting shoulder. Whatever you do, don’t dance on the bow. It a big turn off for bonefish.

Here are a couple of articles you might find helpful for taming the wind.

3 Tips For Casting In The Wind

Better Posture for Line Speed

The Belgian Cast

Bruce Chard’s Double Haul Drill

Joel Dickey on Generating Line Speed

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