Blind Casting the Flats
Ohhh, doesn't that sound like fun. Well it can be if you want to catch a fish or two. Or you can go back to the dock and sit and watch to wind blow. Here in the Lower Laguna Madre on a windy day in June we had really tough conditions. The wind was blowing about 18 to 20 and the clouds were thicker than they needed to be. We could stroll along and spook fish before we could see them. Or we could blind cast and spook them when we couldn't see them. White caps don't make for good visibility on the flats either. So we moved out from one foot of water to about 2 and Ĺ and started casting large poppers. Bingo, that was the ticket. We caught six reds in just a short time. We had moved out to a depth that the fish could not see the fly-line as it hit the water, or they just were not as afraid of it anyway.
I have tried a lot of flies in these conditions like Sea Ducers, Clousers, and Winslow Whispers, but the most productive fly is the popper. Windy days usually stir up the bait from the bottom and fish tend to feed better when this scenario happens. So all you have to do is let them know there is food for them to eat. When the strike comes however make sure you strip strike the fish because they will frequently miss the offering as the waves bounce the fly on the surface. This gives them and you a second chance if they miss and you will usually be hooked up.
Blind casting works for more than windy days, it also works in all conditions and seasons as well. The difference is where you fish and how. I can't tell you how many people I've had on my boat that could not see the fish unless they were tailing. So many fishermen have not developed the ability to spot fish in the water. It takes a lot of practice to understand what you're looking for on the flats or, as I have come to find out, a lot of them are colorblind. Red and Green color blindness makes it very difficult to see a redfish over green grass. But it doesn't mean they can't enjoy the fruits of their labor. People with this problem can over come their inability but it takes a lot of time on the water, and it can be a successful trip even when conditions are not good for sight casting. Whether it's too much wind or overcast, it doesn't mean you have to sit at the dock and curse the weather men. Although they are wrong 51% of the time, but if you pick the spots right and fish with some finesse you can catch big fish and sometimes a lot more than you would by sight fishing.
In my career of guiding I've found that most good casters that I have on board can't see the fish they are after most of the time, and blind casting can make for a great trip for some anglers.
Blind casting on shallow flats is usually not productive. But get just a little deeper and it can make all the difference in the world. Here in the lower Laguna Madre on a windy day in June we had really tough conditions. The wind was blowing about 18 to 20 and the clouds were thicker than they needed to be. We could stroll along and spook fish before we could see them. Or we could blind cast and spook them even when we couldn't see them, so we moved out from one foot of water to about 2 and Ĺ and started casting large poppers. Bingo that was the ticket. We caught six reds in just a short time. Windy days usually stir up the bait from the bottom and fish tend to feed better when this scenario happens. So all you have to do is let them know there is food for them to eat and you're hooked up.
Skipper Ray is a freelance writer and fishing guide in South Padre Island, Texas
where he owns and operate Island Outfitters. Call: 956-943-2798 or Email
Fishing Articles by Skipper Ray
Blind Casting the Flats
Catching and Handling Numbers of Trout
Fishing Guides Perspective
Effective Blind Casting on the Fly
Line Management Techniques
Lures of Choice for the Fall Season
More Tec Tips - King Mackerel
New Trout Techniques
Ready at the Rod
Spring is in the Air
Tech Tips - "Donít Give Up"
Tech Tips - Itís a Drag
The Ladies Have More Fun
The Chosen One
The "Ibis" Built by Newwater Boatworks
The Old Gold Spoon
Time to Fish Free
It's Red Fishing Time in South Padre
Trout Fishing the Lower Laguna Madre
Trout on Topwater Flies
Wading the Lower Laguna Madre