The Beginners Guide to Fly Fishing
Spotting a Fish
You’re in your waders wearing your sunscreen and hat, carrying your zingers and various equipment. You’ve even mastered the art of casting, but nothing will help you catch a fish if there aren’t any fish around. So how do you spot a fish, avoid scaring it off and catch it?
Spotting a fish and reading the water
Well, you need to be able to know when to fish and to read the water. Fishing midday is generally recommended as you’ll spot a fish below the surface when the sun is high. Speaking of seeing, you’ll need polarized sunglasses to see underwater and avoid sudden glares.
Before you approach the water read it. Take in the environment. When surveying the water, you'll need to pay attention to three things: cover, food and the seams between fast and slow water. If you see any of these, you’re guaranteed to spot a fish or two.
Fish gravitate towards covers such as boulders, weed beds, fallen trees, debris, etcetera. They're drawn to anything that breaks the current and provides protection and feeding opportunities. So, if you see a protruding boulder, a fish is waiting for you.
Whatever body of water you may be fishing in, fish like places that offer both cover and a depth change. You’ll find this area if you can spot the edges between the shallow and deep water. The current in the shallow water is faster than the current in the deep water. This allows fish to hold in slower water and conserve energy. The fast water acts as a food conveyor delivering food to them. You’ll find those seams when you see a line of bubbles on the surface.
Other signs of fish action are fleeting creases or wrinkles on the surface of the water. These are indications of schools of baitfish, which means you’ve got some fish below. Don’t forget to look for a fish’s shadow on the stream bed because sometimes you might not see the actual fish.