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Yellow Dog Saltwater Lessons: Using the Clock System

Posted by Ian Davis on May 30, 2017 12:01:34 PM


Last week we talked about line management in the boat. Now we're ready to tackle the big one — just where do you cast?

You flew eight hours to another country. Made it past the cranky guy in customs. Rode in cars and boats and finally arrived at the lodge. After a celebratory drink, a big dinner, and a good night’s sleep, you’re finally ready for your first day of saltwater fishing. Once you’re out on the bow of the boat on a flat, the thought suddenly strikes you. How are you supposed to see a fish so you can cast to it?

For many angler unused to fishing in the salt, spotting fish is a challenge unto itself. Guides are up on the poling platform, giving them a better view, and have practiced eyes from many years of fishing their areas. They’re eager to direct you into your first fish of the day, and will do so using the clock system.

When a guide spots a fish, he will call out the fish’s location using — basically — the face of the clock. Straight off the bow is twelve o’clock; your immediate right three o’clock, and your immediate left nine o’clock. He’ll also help you gauge the fish’s distance using feet. When practicing at home, get used to taking direction and working to cast at targets within these parameters. Have a friend call out, “Eleven o’clock, thirty feet” and then cast to it. Mix it up. The practice will pay off once you’re on the water.

Thanks for following along with our Saltwater Flats Fishing Lessons!

Shot on location at Grand Slam Lodge in Mexico.

Contact us today to learn about Grand Slam or to book your next adventure.

Topics: Saltwater Fly Fishing