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Cast to the Shadow Side

Posted on March 22 2012

Bonefishing Tip - Shadow Side
Tom obviously cast to the shadow side.

Today we’ve got an advanced bonefishing tip for you, courtesy of Tom Larimer and Josie Sands, Overlord of the Flats at Andros South.  It’s also a great reminder that some of the subtleties of fishing apply all around the world.  This tip is definitely for folks who have done a fair amount of bonefishing – if you’re newer to the game, you should check out our Bonefishing 101 guide instead.

A quick background point – as a guide in Oregon, Tom will be the first to tell you that steelhead don’t love looking into the sun.  On two similar runs with similar conditions otherwise, you’re going to have more success with the sun behind the fish than with the sun in front of the fish.

With that in mind, we take you to Andros Island a couple of weeks back, on a day when Tom and Josie were fishing together.  Josie gave Tom this advice – when a fish is coming right at you and the sun is on one side or the other, make your cast just to the side of the fish opposite the sun.

There are two reasons for this.

  1. As the fly enters the water, it won’t cast a shadow over the face of the fish.  Bonefish aren’t used to seeing crustaceans fall from the sky, and they’re also not used to seeing shadows of crustacean falling from the sky.
  2. Bonefish don’t love looking into the sun – just like steelhead!  If you land the fly just on the side of the fish opposite the sun, the fish will get a nice clear view of it without having his eyes torched.

Yes, there are plenty of situations where this tip doesn’t apply – a bad angle on the fish or the sun directly overhead, for example.  There are also plenty of days (high wind, anyone?) where doing anything other than getting the fly in the ballpark is too much to ask.

But if the setup is right and you feel like you can aim on one side or the other, shoot for the shadow side.  Every little bit helps!

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