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Posted on Jan 3, 2013 in Short Strikes, sight fishing
Wintertime One Shot Wonders
by Dr. Todd Kuhn


Blindly casting into open water or to structure in hopes of catching a fish at home can get monotonous. In wintertime, colder weather slows fish down, resulting in less feeding. Catching slower, less aggressive fish means switching up tactics. Next time out—give sight fishing a whirl.

Sight fishing is the term used to describe a manner of fishing where casts are not made unless a fish is actually in sight. Sight fishing offers plenty of advantages:

1) you spook less fish (and)

2) you sharpen your fishing skills (and)

3) on occasion, it's the only way to catch finicky fish

Successful sight fishing is dependent on finding water clear enough to spot fish. As such, you can't always do it. But when conditions are right, it's a blast. Picking out a fish is as simple as seeing a tail moving. Or spotting an odd shape in the water that doesn't fit; or a color that's out of place. Once fish are spotted, a precision cast is required.

Successful sight fishermen are adept at making precision casts intended to coax fish into action. Prior to making a cast, determine the direction a fish is facing. Initially, cast well beyond the waiting fish and work your bait back to them. Once you have determined how they're behaving (spooky, aggressive, etc.) modify your casting to suit their mood best. Here's a few other staples of wintertime sight fishing.

1. Slow down. Slower presentations lead to more bites. Rushing anything when winter sight fishing leads to missed opportunities.

2. Downsize. Opt for smaller baits. If you normally throw 1/2-ounce, switch to 1/4 or 3/8-ounce. Smaller baits fall gentler and spook less fish.

3. Proceed with caution. Wading is a great way to approach chilly fish. Keep your movements slow and deliberate. If wading is not your bag, pole don't troll.