One piece of gear that helps immensely when you’re sight fishing—heck, it’s almost a requirement–is a quality pair of polarized fishing glasses. Polarized glasses cut down surface glare on the water, which will allow you to be able to see deeper into the water to make out objects like timber or vegetation.
With sight fishing, stealth is key. To help you approach a location more quietly, a foot-controlled electric bow mount motor will be a big asset. They allow you to explore shallow water areas without making a lot of noise, which enables you to actively stand at the front of your boat and scan the waters.
When it comes to tactics, it can be easy to make a mistake in clear waters and scare fish away. One big mistake many anglers make is casting their lure directly at a fish when they spot one. Obviously, this is a good way to scare the fish. Instead, cast behind or to the side and bring your lure toward the fish when you spot one. If the fish is on the move, then cast between five or ten feet ahead of it in the direction it’s going, like a quarterback leading a receiver with a pass. To minimize the splash the lure creates, I go with gentle underhand pitch, or side arm cast.
When the waters are very clear, or if fish are being a little picky, try switching to lighter, smaller tackle. Downsized finesse baits, in particular, are great for bass and pike. Also, using fluorocarbon can make a difference, as its near invisibility in the water will help. Furthermore, clear water allows the fish to get a better look at your lures, so it’s best to stick with lures that offer a more natural pattern and presentation.
To many readers, the tips outlined in this mini-series will be old news, but there are many anglers who’ve yet to work on their sight fishing tactics. Hopefully, the tips we’ve outlined will help you do just that, and lead to tight lines the next time you hit the water!