If you've read a select few of my past postings, you've likely noticed that I'm very thorough about fishing a likely area. I'm not the type to just make a few presentations and move on—in fact, it kind of drives me crazy a little bit when I'm fishing on a friend's boat and they zip through a promising spot quicker than I'd like. But, when I'm on someone else's boat, I like to be courteous and let them fish they way they prefer. Besides, my often slow, methodical approach may wind up driving them nuts!
I've talked before about the ways I like to pick apart a likely area. Fishing different depths, trying different flies, and varying retrieval speeds are some of the ways to mix things up and hopefully trigger a fish to strike. Besides these three examples, there's another less-obvious way to try and coax a fish to eat — using angles. Various presentation angles to dissect the same spot can show your fly to more fish and may help coax one of them to attack!
While peacock bass fishing from shore a couple weeks ago, I was fishing a relatively deep, straight bank with some occasional weed patches and scattered rocks. This shoreline pretty much all looks the same and the fish can be literally anywhere along it, so I typically fish it at a modest pace just to cover water until something makes me stop. There's a steep ledge just a few feet off the shore, so my casts are generally nearly parallel or at a 45-degree angle to the shore where these fish hang out.
On one particular cast, I had a peacock come up and slash at the fly. On the next cast, he reappeared and followed it. Ditto for the following cast, but this time he brought along a similarly-sized buddy. Since I now had two fish located, I planted myself in that area for a few minutes. I casted parallel, straight out, at a 45-degree angle, and fished the fly different ways, but each time the fly came through that zone the most I could get was a bunch of close follows or looks. After a lot of casting, they had lost interest and just quit showing up!
That's when I decided to drastically change my angle of attack. I walked about 25 feet to the right of where I was standing and made my presentation to the exact same zone where those fish were hanging out. Strip, strip, WHACK...Fish on! On the first cast from that other side one of those fish absolutely blasted the fly. Whether the fish could ambush the fly better, wanted it swimming a new direction, or whatever—the exact reason I'll never know—but the point is that it worked! Although I've had scenarios like this play out many times in the past, it's always both shocking and satisfying when things work out in my favor like that.
Fishing a different angle can work for several reasons:
A fish may want your fly to act a certain way in wind or natural current, whether that's coming across, hanging in, or swimming with the current. Try em all!
If conditions allow, don't get stuck in a rut of just casting and stripping the same direction all the time. Mix things up and see if it results in an extra bite or two!