FLY CAST TO FICKLEPOND TROUTTRACK GRASSLINESWITH SONAR
When conditions are perfect, one of trout fishing’s signature endeavors is fly castingto brook trout rising to surface flies in remote backcountry ponds. But when the starshaven’t lined up over his favorite brookie water, Maine guide Kevin Tracewski haslearned how to fool the pond squaretails. Here’s how.Anchor the boat fore and aft as far away from any structure, such as a suspendedweedbed, as you can cast. Using a heavy sinking line, make a long cast. Strip out10 feet of line and shake it through the tip-top guide. Drop your rod tip to thewater—and then do nothing. The line will sink to form an underwater
, droppingstraight from your rod tip and then extending out toward the structure. “Countdown, say, 10 seconds before starting a retrieve,” Tracewski says. “The belly of theline will pull the fly through the sweet spot until it is nearly to the boat.” If you don’tget a hit, cast again and count down 15 seconds before retrieving, then 20 and 25.
Big Bass + Underwater Grass = ReelBearings Shrieking in Pain. How tocomplete the equation in unfamiliarwater? Follow what Texas guide JohnTanner does:
“I look for coots hanging out in acove or along the shoreline,” Tanner says.“Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’reover vegetation.” Point the bow of yourboat toward the birds and idle in. Keepa sharp eye on the console sonar. As theouter edge of the grassline begins to showon the bottom contour, cut the motor andturn the boat parallel to the grassline.
“Now I jump up front, dropthe trolling motor down, and pick apartthe grassline edge with the front sonar,”Tanner says. You want to follow the verymargin of the vegetation, so watch thebottom contour. If the sonar shows grassstarting to get tall, steer away from it.If the grass gets sparse or disappearsfrom the sonar, turn into it. Start shingon the outside edge of the vegetationbefore working your way in.