When searching structure, cover, or just an open shoreline trying to find fish, playing the angles can offer positive results.
One of my previous posts here discussed how working a likely area using repeated presentations with different angles can work extremely well. That's a really great technique for picking apart a particular likely spot, but here I wanted to go more deeply into just finding the fish to begin with. One of my favorite methods for doing this is to use a roughly 45-degree angle of attack when presenting a streamer.
Sure, casting straight out from your position absolutely works and at times may be all you can do, such as when shooting the fly into a hole in the mangroves or casting parallel to a dock. However, I much prefer to cast at an angle when fishing areas like rip rap, ledges, or even open, barren shorelines. Casting totally parallel to these areas can be effective, but often I find the angled approach is better.
In the picture at the top, I'm casting along a long ledge at roughly a 45-degree angle looking for fish hanging on or just off of it. If I was to position myself and make a totally parallel cast along the ledge, my fly would travel along the same part/depth of the ledge during the entire retrieve and might spook fish swimming along the dropoff due to the fly possibly coming right at them or coming up on them from behind—both of which are not natural actions of prey. If casting straight out, my fly would only cross the ledge in a perpendicular path which doesn't maximize the visibility of my fly to fish holding or cruising on it.
When angling my cast, it allows me to hit more of whatever I'm casting to like the dropoff in this example. Here, the fly would start out a little deeper and cross the ledge at an angle, thus covering some good square footage of the ledge zone in regards to both depth and area left to right. The fly will also look relatively natural, like it's swimming a path from deeper water to the shallows which makes it prime for ambushing. It has more of a chance of crossing the path of a fish and doing so in a more natural fashion rather than coming head-on or scaring a fish from behind.
The angled presentation is also great when fishing from a boat.
It's not only an awesome way to cover an area, but it also improves line control. If angling your casts in the direction you're traveling, your fly line won't bow as quickly as it might if a cast is made perpendicular to the boat's path. It also allows the fly to be fished deeper and keeps it from sweeping too far behind your position.