By Thomas R. Dempsey, M.D. CCI
When someone is really interested in becoming a better caster, I often times suggest they do a night fishing trip around the piers that have lights. How can this experience actually improve your casting skills? Well, let’s look at what it takes to be a good “night light pier fisherman”
- Loop control. Since you obviously can’t watch your loops and especially your back cast, you have to “feel” the rod load, the loop unrolls, basically you have to “feel” the cast.
- Timing. This takes some work that you have hopefully already done in your practice sessions before you get on board the boat. A good way to practice this on dry land is to work on your tension cast and your false cast, blind. Cover your eyes if you think you are going to fudge or close them while you are casting and wait until the line is laid out on your presentation cast before opening your eyes. If the line and leader is lying straight on the ground, you have successfully mastered the art of the “feeling” the cast. The line doesn’t lie.
- Accuracy. This is another aspect of night fishing that that will help in your day light fishing. At night you have to be able to judge the amount of line you are carrying in your cast in order to hit the target. This is another one of those ‘feel” it deals. Again, your practice sessions on land can prepare you to judge the amount of line in your cast. I know if I strip off 12 to 13 pulls on my line, I have about 45 feet from me to my fly. Try this and measure how many pulls it takes to get out 45 feet. Why 45 feet, that’s a good starting distance from your boat to the pier lights. People, this is basically sight casting to the area under the lights that more times than not have fish flashing baits and crisscrossing over the underwater green lights.
- Speed. Not how fast you are casting, but how quick can you hit the target on the bow of a moving boat, throw in some current, dash of bumps from a passing boat and a little wind. Again, you can practice your salt water quick cast on land. Look up salt water quick cast on you-tube. It will serve you well for night fishing.
- Line Management. Fly line as the ability to tangle on anything on board. At night it’s worse. Like on land strip out only the estimated amount you will need. Keep checking on the line at your feet. Trolling motors love to eat fly line.
These are some tips to help you become a better caster while you are experiencing the thrill of “Fishing the Lights.”
Thomas R. Dempsey, certified casting instructor Mobile, Alabama.