Casting Up or Down Stream
Casting Up or Down Stream
Whether to cast up stream or downstream is a question that every angler must settle for himself; there are weighty points both for and against either method. To get down to the bottom of the question, it is the sight of the angler that alarms the fish, sending a trout scurrying and causing a bass to turn slightly and watch the angler, both refusing to rise to the fly. Now a fish always lies with his head upstream, or with his nose to the current, and he can see straight ahead, to both sides, and quite an angle back of the direct transverse, some say to an angle on both sides of thirty degrees from the body line. Therefore to be invisible, if standing out in the open, the angler must be behind the fish and inside of a section of the circumference of a circle comprising sixty degrees of same, with the fish for the center. From this vantage point the angler, if he does not splash or make too much commotion in the water, can approach quite close to a fish without being seen, and long casts are not needed. This is a great point in upstream fishing. Another is that the mud or sand stirred up by the angler floats away behind him, into the water that has already been fished, and this will not alarm any prospective catch. The points against upstream casting are that the fish will not see the fly if it falls a little short, that the current instantly sweeps the fly towards the angler, after the cast, and in case of a rise the angler sometimes cannot strike quickly enough, or rather cannot recover the slack quickly enough to set the hook, and the fish never hook themselves as they often do when fishing downstream, where the current keeps the line taut at all times. Then again it is more difficult to wade up stream, and on small brooks you cannot float the fly under overhanging brush as you can by fishing downstream. Therefore, to the question: Is it best to fish up stream or downstream? The answer is, it depends on the kind of water you are fishing. Casting across stream, if there is any current, is a bad way, as the current catches the line and makes the fly act very un-lifelike, and the angler cannot manipulate the fly properly. Another trouble is that you must make long casts or the fish will see you.
Brooks, Lake. The Science of Fishing. Columbus, OH: A.R. Harding, 1912. Print.
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