A Different Type of Sight Fishing
By Jeff Little
Super clear water calls for a stealthy approach. If you are enough of a ninja angler, you’ll be rewarded with the rush that accompanies seeing a shallow water fish bull charge your bait and smash it. Buzzbait bass, redfish on the flats, and a trout’s dark shadow elevating to a dry fly all sear unforgettable imagery into your memory. Can that truly be called sight fishing?
Probably not, but the intense sensation and the urgency to deliver a bait just so, right there, right now was exactly the same when I hooked two out of every three fish I spotted the other day. The only difference was that my eyes weren’t peering through polarized lenses, guessing if the shape I was staring at from a distance was in fact a fish. My eyes were fixated on something much closer. Sight fishing with a depth finder is a little bit video game, a little bit structure reading, and all adrenaline rush once you understand what you are looking at.
I recall talking with a friend who works for Maryland Department of Natural Resources. He explained how one commercial fisherman gets his striped bass out of the Chesapeake Bay. “He has six rods at the ready, all rigged with the same two-ounce painted lead weight and treble hook. He doesn’t even bother jigging until he sees them on the screen. As soon as he’s hooked up, he winches it into the boat, and drops it into the cooler without unhooking it. The lead lure from the next rod is at the bottom within 10 seconds. I’ve seen him clear six fish in half as many minutes!”
I heard those words years ago, but they came back to me in a hurry once I caught my first two fish that I saw on the depth finder right below my kayak. The sense of urgency to get something, anything down to them comes flying at me now as soon as I see a mark on the screen worthy of putting down the paddle and free spooling my bail.
See what Jeff saw on his depth finder screen in his recent video “Choosing the Best Channel Edges for Striper.”