Mike Oliver

Casting Safely at Night

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Night fly fishing if you are not used to it can be a little daunting but it need not be.
 
It can be immensely satisfying due to the challenge posed.
 
The difficulty for many is the timing of their casts. This is mostly caused because they do not have a clue as to how much fly line they have remaining in the water before attempting to re cast. It is very difficult to make well timed casts when we don’t know how long our line is.  At worst we find we can’t unplug our line as too much line is still out there. This all leads to desperate false casting which is just about the last thing you want at night.
When casting at night It helps immensely to be very much more considered and methodical.
You may have read this before on SOL but here it is again.
 
To aid timing we need to reduce the variables.  The largest  variable is the amount of line we are going to get off the water and into the air.
So to establish this length of line I go to the beach in daylight and make quite a few casts with an Intermediate line. I make a long cast and retrieve the line in and start to try and unplug it with a lift and roll cast. After a while I establish the length of fly line that I can comfortably unplug and put into the air with a roll cast. Next down at the reel I make a  1 inch mark with a black Sharpie onto the fly line.  Go back home clean fly line around the black Sharpie mark. Then I make two rugby ball shaped blobs on the fly line with Aquasure. I add cetol which speeds up the drying time.
When dry I take the Sharpie pen again and make a mark all the way round the fly line in front of the blobs and 12 inches long. Often on a moon lit night I can see this long mark before I feel the blobs. It’s useful during the day to.
 
So on a night of fishing to make a cast  you retrieve until you can feel the two blobs pass through the fingers in your line hand. You then unplug the fly line and make a forward roll cast one back cast  and then deliver. When fly lands  you start to make hand over hand retrieves and count the number until you find the blobs. 
 
You only keep in your line tray the amount of line  you can easily cast and know the length of due to counting the number of retrieves.
 
The reason You do this count is that it is possible to miss the blobs. So when I go one over the count I stop and look for the blobs. So I am always casting the same length of line and that means the timing is much easier to make in the dark. Those two blobs must be down by the reel before un plugging the fly line and starting the casting sequence. It is absolutely key.
 
 
My night time casts are way shorter than my daylight casts.
 
This very mechanical system works superbly well. I know where I am and you will to.
 
Sure you do not get to retrieve your fly to the rod tip but that does not bother me. I rarely do that in good light unless Bass are in the wash.
 
I did share this system on SOL  a while ago and the usual BS started with guys claiming they could fish in the dark by feel alone. Maybe some incredibly talented guys can. Funny , though how you see painfully few fly guys at night and especially in wind and a good surf running.
 
I make sure my single back cast is very firm so I can feel it. This is also key.
 
Even if the fixed length of line is taken from my line tray by a powerful fish it is not difficult to re set it to the numbers. You can just pull line from your reel and lay it out on the beach go to your blobs and pull in to your number. Then wind surplus line onto the reel.
FWIW with my little arms I pull in fly line to a count of around 27.
 
Voila variables that we can control are taken out and our cast becomes way more consistent and above all much safer. I now always wear clear safety specs at night. I have sachets of lens cleaners handy to try and keep them as clean as possible.
The experience of night fishing is so rewarding.
I would suggest not trying it first few times in difficult conditions. Try it in daylight first. It is helpful also in daylight if you are fishing fast sink lines. But mostly it’s a night time thing.
 
The blobs of aquasure I shape into a rough oval. They pass through the guides fine.
 
They are about two inches apart. Reason for two is that if I miss first one I may detect the second. Miss the second one and I will know by the count  exactly where I am.
 
 
It may appear cumbersome but it is not at all. It works and has given me the confidence to cast well at night and safely.
 
Think about it if you have doubts. You find the marker blobs. Vertical lift of rod to unplug the line. Roll cast forward. If you can take roll cast out of the air especially in surf conditions so much the better. Make a firm back cast. It’s ok to feed some additional line into the back cast.. Make the forward delivery cast and your done.
Double haul is very useful on both back and fore cast.
 
Hope this is of interest.
 
 
Mike
 
Edited by Mike Oliver

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Great little piece, especially for a noob to saltwater fly fishing.  I just started a few months ago.  My 1st trip I excitedly mis-timed sunrise.  Got there in the dark.  Fished a seawall casting into a moderate flow coming under a bridge.  Well 1st fish a 2# ladyfish.  Fun as hell, but the backcast was a little unnerving .  Hearing the line come back in the dark kept me alert and squinting! 

 I will get some cheap clear safety glasses, as this is a great idea.  I want to learn to fish more fly at night.  I have a lot of seawalls here in SWFL and the snook are all over em.

 

Thank you for the post and helpful tips.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Get yourself a pair of yellow shooting glasses. I have a $15 pair of yellow shooting glasses from Bass Pro. They allow you to fish under very low light, up until it gets pitch dark, and work amazingly well. In fact, they work much better  my igniter Costa lenses. 

Edited by pokie

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Mike - thanks, but hard to find aquasure (& cetol ?), did you maybe mean aquaseal ???

Some of the UV sealants might work as well for the blobs.

 

All seems akin to the slightest use of your finger to determine the end of the cast when spinning at night w/a manual pickup reel

And don't forget listening - The Graveyard Shift has several posts about this - as one sense goes down, others go up ...

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Yes sorry aquaseal. The Cetol sometimes comes with it. You only need one drop to about a golf ball size of aquaseal and it reduces the set up time massively. It would be a real pain trying to make the small oval blobs without it.

Cetol is not that easy to come by except in some tackle shops.

 

Night time then our other senses do come into play  hearing smell and touch and feel become more Important. I love being out at night and have these  other senses on full alert.
 

mike

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8 hours ago, frazerp said:

Mike - thanks, but hard to find aquasure (& cetol ?), did you maybe mean aquaseal ???

Some of the UV sealants might work as well for the blobs.

 

All seems akin to the slightest use of your finger to determine the end of the cast when spinning at night w/a manual pickup reel

And don't forget listening - The Graveyard Shift has several posts about this - as one sense goes down, others go up ...

Try this for your "ovals".   I have and it works fine.

 

shopping.jpeg

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8 hours ago, Mike Oliver said:

Night time then our other senses do come into play  hearing smell and touch and feel become more Important. I love being out at night and have these  other senses on full alert.
 

mike

This is why sex in the dark is best!

 

 

 

 

Oh. . . wait. . . Sorry. . . wrong forum.

 

My bad.

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On 10/25/2020 at 0:02 PM, Mike Oliver said:

 

The difficulty for many is the timing of their casts. This is mostly caused because they do not have a clue as to how much fly line they have remaining in the water before attempting to re cast. It is very difficult to make well timed casts when we don’t know how long our line is.  At worst we find we can’t unplug our line as too much line is still out there. This all leads to desperate false casting which is just about the last thing you want at night.
 

very well said. 

 

I use/used mainly shooting heads, those made night fishing much easier. You hear or feel the connection at the tip and you know exactly where you are. Also, in terms of distance, I found it easier to make longer casts at night, especially when I was starting. Not looking is helpful sometimes, it's all by feel with vision being taken out of the equation. It forces you to pay attention closely to your casting stroke. 

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