Big fish got that way by using their strong instincts to avoid capture. Catch more and larger fish, by fishing with stealth.
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1. Why Is Stealth Important?
Reading the water like a pro doesn’t do any good if the fish spot you first. Here’s how to approach them before they get spooked. Which many will.
Here’s a video with all our tips. The text is below, but for all the pics and graphics be sure to watch the video.
2. Survey & Strategize
Plan your approach from a distance, rather than rushing into the water.
In fact, taking time to observe the water first has many other benefits. You’ll pick up on the bug activity, be able to spot fish for sight casting, and understand feeding patterns better.
3. Keep Your Distance
Charging out into the stream is about the worst thing you can do. You don’t want to spook fish right as you step in the water. The other side of the river can look appealing, but don’t overlook what’s right in front of you.
When possible, it’s better to fish from the bank. Try to approach your target spots from behind, and blend in as much as possible.
4. Slow WAY Down
Be patient – move, cast, & talk slowly.
Better to spread out, and fish different spots than to spook your buddy’s fish.
5. Blend In, And Conceal Yourself
Brighter colors reflect more, so try not to wear clothing that effectively flashes your location to the fish. Muted colors on the other hand, combined with slow movements, help avoid giving you away.
The good news is, mother nature has given you lots of ways to leverage natural objects and phenomenon:
- Keep low, crouch
- Use rocks & logs as shield
- Avoid throwing shadows
- Fish from down-to upstream
- Hide behind riffles & wavy water
Moral of the store is, do what it takes to stay out of sight!
6. How You Cast Matters
Minimize false casting, no need to whip up a tornado! Practice casting for accuracy, so you use fewer casts on the stream.
Choose your cast carefully, in order of decreasing commotion:
- False cast a dry fly
- Shoot the line
- Roll cast
- Drift fly, euro-nymphing
- Bow & arrow cast
Said another way, you can control a lot of what will spook fish.
Consider a longer rod and leader. Euro-nymph, Spey & Tenkara rods all have great touch & feel.
7. Special Situations
When fishing mountain streams, for example chasing wild brookies, use extreme stealth, drift vs. cast, bow & arrow casts, consider camo.
In low water conditions, try to fish on cloudy and rainy days, & apply all these skills proactively.
While fishing lakes with crystal clear water, for example alpine lakes, all these strategies apply, just adapt them whether from shore, a float tube, or boat.
Boats are noise making machines – when fishing from boats be careful to avoid noise, including bumps with oars, rods, tackle box, feet etc.
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By Mark Velicer
An avid fly fisher for over 40 years, Mark has lived and fly fished WA, MI, CA, PA and NY along with countless trips to other places. He can’t get enough of the water; white water kayaking, rafting, drift boating, and hiking to alpine lakes.