Fly Fishing

Ways to Avoid Catching Fish

By Capt. John Kumiski 12/10/2016 5 minutes

Fly Casting Errors

Here are a few techniques to use when you wish to scare off every fish on any flat you find yourself working. Let's look at some fly-casting errors.

Casting Too Short - If you make a cast that is too short the fish will never see your fly.

Casting Too Long - If you make a cast that's too long several results can happen, none of which lead to a hookup.

In extreme cases, the fish may see your fly line. This won't bother fish that don't see many fishermen, but pressured fish won't wait around for an explanation.


A cast made slightly too long causes the fly to approach the fish. Again, in lightly fished waters this may work. In heavily fished waters you'll get a good view of the fish's tail waving goodbye. Fish don't expect to see a minnow, shrimp, crab, or whatever attacking them. When that happens, they shy away.

If you cast too far into a school of fish, you will line the fish on the school's edge, spooking them. One spooked fish in a school usually leads to a spooked school.

When casting to a school, work the edges. Some companies such as AirFlo make clear-tip fly lines that help solve this particular problem. There's nothing like a good, accurate cast, though.

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Head Shots - Another casting flaw is what I call the splashdown. This is a cast that's just a little too accurate. You hit the fish on the head (or other body part) with your fly. In lightly fished areas or in deeper water this actually works sometimes, but with heavily pressured fish in the shallow stuff you've blown an opportunity. The opposite of the splashdown occurs when you lead the fish too far.

Getting the Right Distance

Optimum lead distance varies depending on a number of considerations including the species of fish, the depth of the water, the current, how fast the fish is swimming and other factors, but if you lead the fish too far it will not see your fly. Sometimes an angler will lead a fish too far, then move the fly immediately after it hits the water. The fish never sees it, or is unwilling to chase it from such a great distance. A lead that's too far can still work if you leave the fly there until the fish gets near it.

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Normally (where I do most of my fishing, at least) when you throw to a cruising fish you want to anticipate exactly where the fish will go (never an easy task), put your fly directly in its path, and leave the fly there until the fish is close enough to see it when you move it. Only then can you expect it to respond in what you consider to be a positive manner.

The Solution for Casting Errors
The only way you can minimize these casting errors is to become a more proficient caster. Nevermind worrying about how far you can cast. Speed and accuracy are what's important in most flats situations. One great excercise to improve your technique is to get a few lids from five gallon buckets, set them on a lawn at various distances, and practice hitting them in sequence with only one or two false casts in all kinds of wind and weather conditions. Good casters will always perform better than those who are just okay.
Fishing Waters
Part of Florida's Indian River Lagoon system, Mosquito Lagoon lies between the sand dunes of Canaveral National Seashore and the marshes, hardwood hammocks, and scrub of the Merritt ... moreIsland National Wildlife Refuge. Its protected shallow waters are the permanent home to some of the largest redfish and seatrout in Florida. Other fish species of interest to anglers here include black drum, jack crevalle, bluefish, snook, tarpon, flounder, and more. It's an awesome place to fish!

Fly fish or use light tackle for redfish, seatrout, snook, tarpon, black drum, and more on the waters of the Mosquito Lagoon. Everybody should be able to enjoy fishing here!

In addition to the various species of fishes, the Merritt Island NWR contains over 1000 species of plants, 68 amphibians and reptiles, 330 birds, and 31 mammal species. During a day's fishing you can expect to see bottle-nosed dolphins, the West Indian manatee, a wide variety of birds, and quite possibly an American alligator. Even the inevitable slow fishing days exhibit a fascinating display of wildlife.

When the fishing's hot, the wildlife just adds a little spice!
Trips
$
400
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
By Paddle Craft in the Lagoons- Redfish, Seatrout, Black Drum This is our second most popular trip. It’s available year-round, and works for physically fit fly fishers and conventional ... moretackle anglers. Using a canoe or kayaks we mostly sight fish in shallow water. The reds average about five pounds, but could be over 20. The trout average about 15 inches, but could hit 30. A winter-time no motor zone trip could yield behemoth black drum.

Paddle fishing requires some effort on the part of the angler. You must be in good physical condition for these trips.
$
400
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
By Skiff In the Lagoons- Redfish and Seatrout This is our most popular trip. It’s available year-round, appropriate for all ages, and works for both fly fishers and conventional tackle ... moreanglers. We mostly sight fish in shallow water for these fish. The reds average about five pounds, but could be over 20. The trout average about 15 inches, but could hit 30.

Other fish sometimes available include black drum, baby tarpon, crevalle jacks, ladyfish, bluefish, others
Outfitters
Look no further than Capt. John Kumiski’s Spotted Tail Fly Fishing Charters for thrilling guided fishing trips in both salt- and freshwater. We’re only one hour’s drive from Orlando! ... moreWe fish on the Mosquito Lagoon, the Indian River Lagoon, the Banana River Lagoon, the near-coastal Atlantic waters, and the St. Johns River system. John’s anglers have been catching fish on central Florida waters for over 25 years.

Fly fish or use light tackle for redfish, seatrout, snook, tarpon, black drum, and more on the waters of the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River Lagoon, and Banana River Lagoon.

Or you may prefer to fish the near coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean for tarpon, snook, cobia, king mackerel, sharks, and many other species. Or maybe a day of fishing for bass and bream is more your style.

Spotted Tail Fishing Charters supplies all fishing tackle for both fly and light tackle. We also supply the flies, lures, or bait, and all necessary licenses* and permits.

Fish from our skiff, or by kayak or canoe.

We love experienced fly anglers, but are equally happy taking beginners or children. Everyone should be able to enjoy a day on the water!

Do what thousands of other happy fishermen have done and make your next Orlando fishing trip one to remember with Spotted Tail Orlando Fishing Charters, the most enjoyable and educational fishing trips in Orlando.

Capt. John Kumiski

John Kumiski has been guiding anglers to redfish, tarpon, snook, seatrout, shad, and more since the 1980s. In addition to scores of magazine articles, his books include Redfish on the Fly and Flyrodding Florida Salt. Always ready to talk fishing, John can be reached via his website at www.spottedtail.com.

I've found that practicing in the backyard is something most beginners tend to miss. Never tried the "target practice" you mention here though, great tip! Sounds like fun so will definitely try that! Best, Carl Richardsson RecVets
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