Sight Casting by Randy Rowley 10/1/18 ©


On a warm Saturday in early June, my son, Ryan, his future wife, Claire, and I arrived at Lake Decker, east of Austin, for a bass fishing trip.

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

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 a strike, but one 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 cast.  Then I’ll see a splash within range and I’ll cast my lure at it.  I’m too late most of the time, but few things are more satisfying than, after seeing a bass break the water’s surface and casting my lure at it, 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 in the game, but she couldn’t get a hit either.  I managed another chunky bass with my spinnerbait before the action stopped.

Below are a few principles on how to sight cast effectively.

Be alert

Watch and listen.  Constantly look around at the water around you and listen for fish breaking the surface.  Sometimes just a lone 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 water’s surface.  If I haven’t seen a splash or a swirl in a couple of minutes, I’ll sometimes start to fan cast, but, if I do, I’ll have another rod ready to cast at my feet if a bass presents itself within range and my lure is still far from my boat.

Be quick

The moment you see a bass break the water’s surface, cast to it as quickly as possible.  If you’re in the middle of a retrieve, burn in your bait and cast where you saw the splash or swirl.  Or drop that rod (in the boat), grab your ready rod, and cast.

You don’t know if there’s a bass where your lure’s at now, but you know there’s one where you saw the splash or swirl, so why finish that retrieve?  The quicker you cast to the fish that broke the water’s surface, the better your chances are of catching one.

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’s immediately moving, he might react and attack it so it won’t escape.

Be accurate

Cast on top of a bass that breaks the surface, not beyond it.  Some fishermen say to cast beyond a bass that breaks the surface and work your bait to it.  Casting directly on top of the bass elicits a reaction strike a lot better 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 it will immediately draw its attention to your bait and off its initial prey.

These principles also apply when we seek 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 how they can be redeemed.  That doesn’t mean we should ignore people who seem to be on top of the world; however, they’re quite possibly already your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Be ready

Have God’s word or a gospel tract (a booklet containing the good news of redemption of sin through Christ) with you, or have key verses of his plan of salvation memorized.  We never know when God will give us an opportunity to witness (share the redemption of sin through Christ), so we need always to be prepared to share.  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 you’ll have more time.  The person might not be receptive any time but now or any place but right where you are.

Biblical examples of 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.

Once when God allowed me to witness as a new Christian – I shared my testimony and redemption of sin through Christ, but I also told the young man he’d 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 witnessing overshadowed my responsibility for accuracy.

Accuracy is closely aligned with truth.  Jesus said in John 14:6b, “‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”  We’re not being truthful like Jesus when we’re grossly inaccurate, whether deliberate or not.

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


Some of the schooling bass

Categories : Devotionals

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Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

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

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

Bible Verse of the Day

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.