First-timers, and even experienced hands who have been off the water for some time, can be frustrated easily by not understanding the adjustments necessary to deal with all this movement — truthfully, I'm guilty myself. Rick Pope of Temple Fork Outfitters and I were fishing near Cape Lookout, North Carolina, last fall with Capt. Jake Jordan. He was headquartered in the Florida Keys for over three decades, fishing there and all over the world until he decided to "retire" to North Carolina in 2006, in large part because of the albacore fishing. Fishing with him last fall, I made a couple of decent casts but came up empty on each. The fish were clearly eating, and I had no doubt that Jordan's choice of fly was right on. So I looked at him with a "what am I doing wrong?" face. "You're stripping, but you're not moving the fly," Jordan replied. "Make sure the line is tight after the cast, and make sure you strip the fly fast enough to stay ahead of the boat movement. I saw a fish eat the fly; you just didn't have the line tight. And don't cast straight off the bow." Though knowing better, having been there before, I was too excited by the first opportunity of the season and had focused too much on the fish. I hadn't given enough thought to adjusting the other variables. After I took advantage of Jordan's setting up the boat for a cast more quartering or perpendicular to the boat movement, kept my line tight and made sure my fly movement approximated that of the bait, I was in the game. Even experienced anglers get swept up in the moment.
Before You Go**
Fly-anglers can attest that windless days don't come around too often. They also know the ocean moves in and out with the tide and up and down due to the wind. If your boat is not anchored, you almost certainly are moving: drifting forward after the engine is cut or being blown by the wind or carried by the current — somehow, you are in motion.