Lately a lot of what I have been writing about is more specific techniques and approaches to an angling situation which I hope has been helpful but sometimes things happen that make me realise articles don’t need to be very specific and that general concepts can be just as helpful. There are some things I have been doing for so long now they seem like second nature and it can take seeing the lightbulb go on above someone else’s head to make me realise it’s probably something that will help people catch more fish.
Although the word “angler” doesn’t actually refer to the angle made between rod and line as many people think (this now-obsolete noun “angle” was based on a Indo-European root “ank” meaning “to bend” which also gave us “ankle” and “anchor”, and was often used to refer to the rod and line as well as the hook. But “angler” has nothing to do with the “angle” between one’s line and rod. That’s an entirely different kind of “angle”), that entirely different kind of “angle” is a very important idea in fishing.
So that was a whole bunch of words that probably have you confused by now. Put simply, in many situations you can improve your fish catching chances by taking that 90 degree angle of presentation and making it much smaller and even all the way down to zero to where you are making your presentation parallel to the structure. Imagine you are fishing a rock wall. Be it with a hardbodied lure, a plastic, a blade or anything else. Many people will position themselves off the wall and cast directly in thereby keeping their lure in the strike zone for a very short period of time. Now plenty of people will cast at about a 45 degree angle and I figure that probably keeps you lure in the strike zone about twice as long. Now imagine you have closed that angle to as small as possible and you are looking at a presentation that stays in that zone nearly the whole time.
This works for all species of fish related to a piece of structure and if you keep this in mind it will see you covering much more productive water. Moored boats, marinas, snags, oyster racks, river or lake banks an bridges are just a few. Even drop offs or sloping banks will benefit from this approach. If you know your target fish are in the 14-16 foot depth of water why sit in 30ft of water, casting up into 10ft and bring your lure through to zone for only a short distance? Why not follow that contour and only fish the 14-16ft range? It sounds simple enough but not everyone does it.
About the only thing I can think wouldn’t benefit from this mindset is open flats but even then I think you could apply this idea to wind and current as well (but thats a whole other article)
Next time you’re fishing either from a boat or a kayak don’t be afraid to get right up close to the structure and try to present your lure a a more acute angle and when I say close….. I mean close! There are plenty of times during a session I push off a rock wall with my hand or a paddle and there’s a reason Greg has a bumper buoy tied to the back of his boat a lot.