Sight Fishing: Boat Positioning

One of the keys to sight fishing is boat positioning. Understanding how a bass reacts to your presence and adjusting your position accordingly can cut the time it takes to catch a big fish significantly. To some this topic may seem obvious but to others it will make a huge difference. If you are one of the many anglers who now run power poles on your back deck, your life is easy. For the rest of us, there is nothing wrong with 2 anchors and a handful of rope. When bed fishing, especially in wind it is important to carefully position the boat away from the bass’ bed. Using two anchors instead of one will help reduce the swing of the boat as well.
Next, stay as far away as possible. If you feel you must see the fish to work the bed efficiently position the boat at the limit of where you can see. The farther away you are the more relaxed and approachable the fish will become. All too often anglers want to see what the fish is doing and cause the fish to shut down prematurely.

Here are some quick tips to help you put more fish in the boat regardless of species while sight fishing:

-Position on the shallow side of the fish if possible, don’t cut off their deep water access
-Position as far away as possible, seeing the fish is not always necessary
-Anchor front and back to eliminate swing
-Shut off all electronics and minimize sound (more to come on this topic)
-Don’t be afraid to leave the boat and approach a difficult fish from shore (unless rules don’t allow it)
-If there is current, position on the down-current side of the fish
-When possible, position so the fish is faced away from the boat

Follow these quick tips and you’ll begin to have more success and catch the fish much more quickly. Here is a quick example showing my boat double-anchored on an offshore smallmouth. By anchoring up the boat I was able to ignore the boat and focus solely on the fish. From the moment I saw her to the time she was in the net was less than two minutes do primarily to proper boat position.

This bass was caught on a Dirty Jigs Skirted Football on my namesake “Super Matt Brown” color. Support your local shop but if the baits aren’t available you can get them here: Dirty Jigs at Tackle Warehouse