There you stand knee-deep in water. Thirty feet away, you see the splashy rise of a trout. You swiftly pull out line and punch your cast where you think that fish was. The fly rips through the air and splats down. She floats by and…nothing. You repeat the process several more times - nothing. You shrug it off and assume the fish didn’t want your bug.
A more likely assumption is that your fly was nowhere near that trout.
But take heart - It's a pretty simple fix. All you needed to do was get a little closer and maybe wait a little longer before you started casting. By getting closer, you'd be able to make a better cast where that fish was holding, and you'd be sure the fly was actually going where you wanted it to! It's simple, but I see and hear many anglers that would rather make that initial first cast at a distance they don't need to be at!
One of my biggest pieces of advice that’s not mind-boggling is telling people, get closer.
There are a LOT of advantages & only two disadvantages I can see for the wading angler.
You Can See Better (duh).
- It’s simple, you’re able to notice little things easier. Twigs, current changes, underwater rocks/channels, and maybe even exactly where that fish is! Get closer and you’ll be able to see better. That will make a world of difference whether you’re an experienced angler or newbie!
More Control In Presentation
- You see what’s going on, and now, you can make your fly do exactly what you think it should. Get closer and you’ll be able to be more accurate. I couldn’t tell you how many times I bombarded an area, and then when I took one half step closer the next cast I caught a fish on what seemed like the same location. Certain times of the year, you need to be bouncing your flies off their noses for them to want it. So, the closer you get the better you will know what water you’ve covered.
Drag Free Drift
- This is picked out of presentation. In most cases, the drag-free drift is the best way to present the fly. You want your bug floating down river as naturally as possible. When you have loads of fly line out, it will quickly affect how your bug is acting on the water. Get closer, and you will be able to have a better drag-free drift.
- The more line you have out of the reel, the greater the possibility for a screw up. We all know that feeling of trying to walk with even a little fly line out. It somehow manages to weasel its way into every nook and cranny, accessory, and twig you’re around. A smaller amount of line will also help you manage that fish if you are able to trick him.
Better Casting Lanes
- The closer you get to your target the better casting lane you’ll get. What I mean by this is, you’ll be able to see where you can 1) send your backcast without it being picked off by an overhanging tree & 2) pick where you want to land the fly. Long backcasts get snatched all the times by trees because our focus is primarily on, where we want the fly to go. So when you have a load of line out you may drop your backcast a little bit, or wind will take it, or it’s just a sloppy cast and back you must go to untangle your mess. Get closer and you’ll be able to more effectively cast to fish.
- The closer you get, the greater the chance of you spooking that fish. This is undeniable. When fishing places where the trout will spook if a leaf hits the water, you can’t get close! You’re stuck sneaking behind rocks, belly crawling to holes, and making the farthest casts possible that hopefully don’t spook your fish. This is the greatest disadvantage.
You Don’t Look As Cool.
- 80 foot casts look way cooler than 10 foot wrist flicks. Let’s face it.
Wade deeper - sneak more - do whatever it take to get as close to possible to your target. You'll catch more fish, and thank me later.