The Fun of Sight Fishing

Sight fishing is basically seeing the fish in the water an angler is fishing for. For Pro Bass Fisherman, it’s fishing for that big female bass hovering over her nest in shallow water. In clear rivers and creeks, fly fishermen try to drop a fly in front of a trout they can see rising for bugs on the surface.

The best of all sight fishing is a youngster fishing on a dock watching bluegill dart out from under the dock to attack their worm. This reminds me of a great fishing story from years ago. My wife and I, and our two little girls were fishing over a bush in about 15 feet of water.

It was lake Mojave, a super clear water desert lake. The bush was full of bluegill and we could see them clear as day. My girls would push the button on their little spin-cast reels and watch their weighted worm drop towards the brush.

The looks on their faces as a bluegill darted out and snatched up their worms is etched in my mind forever. Just last week on Lake Isabella, my wife Pam and I had a similar experience. We went out for a day of fast fishing.

We had a late start, kind of normal these days. On the water at about 9:00 o’clock, I could not believe how clear the water was from Camp 9 to Rocky Point. A month ago, fishing we could not see our baits until they were at the side of the boat.

This day we could see our baits halfway to the boat. After Pam received her first strike, a swing, and a miss. I maneuvered the boat close to the structure she was fishing. I could see the fish that had just taken a swipe at her plastic worm.

We tried a few more shots at the fish. The fish would nose up to the bait, no take. This is where the fun begins. We probably would have caught a whole lot more fish if we used a more stealth approach. We were having too much fun watching the fish and their reaction to our bait. One particular lunker had my curiosity.

I threw several different baits to see how she reacted to each one. Spinnerbait looked at no aggressive move. Plastic worm, swam to it put her nose on it, no take. Creature bait, very curious on the fall nose to it on the bottom, no take.

Nico rigged worms, bingo, she hit it. I was too busy playing scientist, forgot to set the anti-reverse on my bait caster. As I cleared up my bird’s nest, I thought to myself the Niko rig is a great reaction bait period to hook that fish in five feet of clear calm water on a hot clear blue day was something.

Especially with our boat sitting almost on top of her. She was probably thinking, “why don’t these clowns come in and swim with me.” we eventually did just that. We always bring the swim ladder with us on hot days.

The upper Kern also presents some great sight fishing opportunities. As the river flows slowly this summer fish movement will become more visual. One of the reasons I like to use spinners and other lures on the river is the visual of catching fish.

It is pure excitement to see the flash of a fish come out from behind a rock to attack what they believe is a baitfish. A lot of times I will see fish swimming in a small pool waiting for food to come their way.

I will toss in line out ahead of them and bring it their way. As a lure approaches, the fish reacts and hits the lure. A fisherman can watch it all happen. Just like a video game, only real.

You will probably catch a lot more fish being sneaky. Every now and then grab a good pair of sunglasses and go out and do a little side fishing, it is a lot of fun. See you on the water!