The more you fish the less you know, right? You can never really know anything when it comes to fish and fishing. The fish are always unpredictable. There are however things that make a difference in catching fish. One of the most important ones is the angle that you present your fly to the fish. This is one of those universal things that is a thing to think about regardless which species you are pursuing. When you start hitting fish at the right angle most other things become trivial.
So what is the perfect angle? Unfortunately I don’t know. I’m going to leave that for the more experienced writers. I can however offer some insights on the subject…
The length and direction of your cast will of course affect how the fish sees your fly. Long cast at a shallow angle will give the fish a pretty straight forward angle to the fly as it swims across the stream. Normally the fish will have plenty of time to react on this type of presentation. A shorter cast with a wider angle will give a much more aggressive angle to the fish with less time to react. A long cast with a wide, or wideish, angle that you make in front and over the fishes “line” and then mend, makes the fly swim, and usually sink, towards the fish and then turn and moves away. That is actually my favourite angle to present my fly to a river fish. In my point of view that is the most natural way to get a reaction, as the fly (bait) swims towards the fish and then turns away and swims from the fish.
That’s the most effective way to present a fly in saltwater fishing as well. You cast the fly just over the line where the fish is moving and then strip it across and away from the predator. So, casting distance and angle makes a difference on the angle that the fly gets to the fish.
What else? Your line choice affects it, but more than that, the way you position yourself on the river. Positioning yourself correctly makes a big difference in catching fish. Sometimes you have to wade out to get the right angle and sometimes not. Even though unnecessary wading should always be avoided, there are millions of spots around the world that fish better when you get out a bit and get your fly swinging in the right angle. Even though some disagree about this, you can’t compensate your positioning with casting. Sure you can do it a bit, but never enough to fully compensate.
So next time when the fish are not biting think about your angles before changing anything else. It might be the reason why the fish are lock mouth.