Oct
01

Sight Casting by Randy Rowley 10/1/18 ©

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It was still dark when my son, Ryan, his future wife, Claire, and I arrived at Lake Decker, just to the east of Austin.  It was also warm, but that was the norm for early June.

After launching my boat, we headed over to the hot water discharge.  I went halfway up the discharge, shut off the main motor, and turned on the trolling motor.  After the wake from my boat had dissipated, we saw several tiny splashes on the surface of the water.  It looked like rain, but we knew it wasn’t raining as we weren’t getting wet.  Due to the darkness, it took a few seconds to figure it out – the little splashes were caused by small minnows hitting bugs on the surface.

As feeding minnows usually attract bass, I cast a dog walker topwater lure to the far bank with great anticipation.  I walked it back to me, bracing for the strike that would surely ensue, but it never came.  Ryan and Claire also threw topwater lures with the same results.  We chunked topwaters for a good 15 minutes and had nothing to show for it, so Ryan and I switched to lipless crankbaits while Claire covered her head with a throwable cushion to ward off the rain that had begun.

It started to get light 15 minutes later, and neither of us had anything to show for it.  But with the daylight, the bass began to wake up.  A bass would hit a minnow to our right.  We’d chuck a lure at it, and I’d move my boat closer to it.  Then a bass or a school of bass would hit the surface where we had been.  We spent the next hour chasing big splashes.  We also threw square bill crankbaits, round bill crankbaits, and swimbaits with nothing to show for it.

Sight casting is by far my favorite way to fish for bass or other fish.  It’s all about the hunt.  Rather than casting blindly, I’ll scan the surface.  My thumb has depressed the bail release on my baitcaster reel, and my lure is ready to throw.  Then I’ll see a splash within range and throw my lure at it.  I’m too late most of the time, but few things are more satisfying than when I see a bass, throw my lure at it, and it hits my offering.

We were both thrilled to watch the bass feeding on the surface and very frustrated because neither of us could elicit a strike.  Finally, I tied on a green, chartreuse, and white 1/2 ounce Strike King spinnerbait with a gold willow blade and a silver Colorado blade.  A school erupted in front of me, and I threw the wire-type lure right at them.  I was rewarded with a tight line and my first chunky two-pound bass of the day.

My success inspired Ryan to switch to a spinnerbait, but the bass paid it no mind for whatever reason.  Claire also got back into the game, but she also couldn’t get a hit.  I managed another chunky bass with my spinnerbait before the action stopped.

Below are a few thoughts on the sight cast method of fishing.

Be alert

Watch and listen.  Constantly look around at the water around you and listen for fish breaking the surface.  Sometimes just a single tiny shad skipping across the surface or one subtle swirl in the water will give away a bass’s location.

Be ready

It’s tempting to just cast around in an area where bass are schooling.  But more often than not, you’re better off waiting to cast until you see a bass break the surface.  Although if I haven’t seen a splash or a swirl in a couple of minutes, I’ll sometimes start to fan cast.  If I do, I’ll have another rod ready to cast at my feet.

Be quick

The instant you see a bass break the surface, cast to it as quickly as possible.  If you are in the middle of a retrieve, burn in your bait and throw at the bass you saw break the surface.  Or drop that rod (in the boat) and grab your ready rod and throw.

You don’t know for sure if there is a fish where your lure is at now, but you know there is one where you saw it break, so why finish that retrieve?  The quicker you cast to the fish that broke, the better your chances are of catching it.

Immediately start working your lure when it hits the water.  You’re looking for a reaction strike.  When the bass hears your lure hit the water, he’ll turn to look at it, and if your lure is immediately moving, he’ll react and attack it so it won’t get away.

Be accurate

Cast on top of the bass, not beyond it.  Some folks will say to cast beyond a bass that jumped and work your bait up to it.  In my experience, casting directly on top of the bass does a much better job of eliciting a reaction strike than working a lure towards the bass.

You want to draw the bass’s attention from whatever it’s chasing to your lure, and the initial splash of your lure on top of him will immediately draw his attention to your bait and off his initial prey.

These principles also apply when we’re seeking to catch men to become disciples of Jesus.

Be alert

As with sight casting, watch and listen.  Especially look and listen for people who are hurting, confused, or at the end of their ropes.  Such people will be more susceptible to hearing the good news.  That doesn’t mean that we should ignore people who seem to be on top of the world; however, they are quite possibly already your brothers in Christ.

Be ready

Have God’s word or a gospel tract with you, or have key verses of his plan of salvation memorized.  We never know when God will give us an opportunity to witness, so we need to be prepared to share the words of eternal life.  1 Peter 3:15b says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” and 2 Timothy 4:2b says, “Be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

Be quick

Seize opportunities to witness.  Don’t wait for a better setting or for when there is more time.  The person might not be receptive any time but now or any place but right where you are.

Biblical examples when the time was of the essence include:

  • Jesus said that when the prodigal son returned home to his father, he asked to become one of his father’s servants. But the father said to his servants, “‘Quick!  Bring the best robe and put it on him.  Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it.  Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:22b-24a.)
  • During his last supper with his disciples, Jesus predicted that one of them would betray him.  John 13:27 says, “When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him.  Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.’”
  • After Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’s tomb. There they encountered an angel, who said, “…go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him.’  Now I have told you.’” (Matthew 28:7.)

Also, get to the point.  Testimonies are powerful, but you’ll lose most people if you spend an hour telling them how bad you were before you found Christ or if you explain to them the history of Israel’s rebellions and turning back to God.

Be accurate

Know what the Bible says and what it doesn’t say.

I well remember when the Lord gave me an opportunity to share the gospel as a new Christian.  I shared my testimony and the Roman Road to salvation, but I also told the young man that he would never have problems again if he accepted Christ.  (Boy, was I wrong!)  He prayed to receive Christ, but I still kick myself decades later for being so naive and inaccurate. My passion for sharing the gospel overshadowed my responsibility to be accurate.

Accuracy is closely aligned with truth.  Jesus said in John 8:32, “‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”  He said in John 14:6b, “‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”  When we are grossly inaccurate, whether deliberate or not, we are not truthful, like Jesus.

Whether casting for schooling bass or men, we need to be alert, ready, quick, and accurate.  Only then might we get a tight line.

Randy

Schooling bass

Categories : Devotionals

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For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/