Communication is the key to successful saltwater fly fishing. Flats fishing with a guide is a team sport, and like all team sports, The team must work together to win. Your guide has a couple of big advantages, when it comes to spotting fish. He has keen eyes, years of experience and an elevated position on the platform. More times that not, he will see fish long before you do.
Once he has found the fish, it’s his job to help you find them. Your odds of making the right presentation go way up when you can see the fish, so the two of you need to be speaking the same language. Poor communication means missed opportunities.
To help you find fish, your guide will use a system called the Bow Clock. He should give you 3 pieces of information. A Bow Clock time, which tells you in what direction to look. A distance, which tells you how far to look. And the direction the fish is moving– left, right, toward or away. These 3 coordinates should tell you everything you need to know to find the fish and make the shot.
Keep in mind that things look very different from the platform than they do from the bow. What looks like 40 feet to you may look like 30 to your guide. Don’t stare a hole in the water where you think the fish is. Scan the surrounding water for movement and color changes. Point your rod so your guide knows where you’re looking, and can direct you. If he skips one of the 3 pieces of information, ask. “Moving which direction?”
When everyone is on the same page the system works great. Watch this video for more information and to see exactly how it works.