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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been fishing the flats of Redfish bay many many years and have seen fish tailing, seen nervous water, nervous bait, etc. I have not been able to see fish just cruising, until I am right on top of them. What is the secret? Do you look for moving shadows or what? I am wearing quality polarized glasses, and have a little height on the boat while poling.

I fish with some guys that see fish and tell me where to look and I still cannot see them. They catch 3 to my one just because they spot them. I am getting really frustrated.
 

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Bayrat...

It is kinda hard to TELL someone how to see them....easier to show. But a lot of times you see a "hump" in the water...a redfish or a school of RF in shallow water makes a distictive hump in the water a little different from most fish when crusing. Sometimes a huge mullet, drum or sheephead will fool you, but after a while often you can even tell the diff with most of these. Other times you kinda gaze at all the water, and "leave eyes in neutral" and you will see movement or shadows.

To actually see the fish, the light has to be right too...generally from behind you with the sun kinda at a high angle. Sometimes your shadow, or the shadow of your boat can spook them from a surprisingly long way off...before you can see them.

Sometimes you see a nervous mullet hop out in front of him...not fleeing in panic, but a more of a "I need to move NOW" type of a jump...a little more serious than a casual play hop.

Other times I cant see them either!! LOL Hope this might help a little...

Later
R3F
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
R3F, thanks for your input. I'm familiar with the "hump" effect. These guys are seeing fish that are not moving. You know those glassy days of winter, when there is not a ripple on the water. They spot fish and all I see is grass and water.
 

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Obvious question, but what kind of glasses are your buddies wearing and what are you wearing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Stuart,

I asked that. One is wearing "strike king" walmart specials and the other is wearing some Costas. I am wearing Costas with the green mirror lens. Actually looks copper colored.
 

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There's definitely a knack to it and I'm not saying I'm always good at it. The knack can be simply spotting something that doesn't "belong" or match up with everything else you are scanning. So maybe not try as hard to spot a fish, but first try to hone in on things that don't fit in and then determine if its a fish or group of fish.

For example, we were in Florida recently, sight casting for snook in the surf. I was getting frustrated my first day cause I hadn't seen a single snook. Then, the next day there was a fly fisherman walking down the beach just like I had been doing. I could tell he was a local and he looked like he knew what he was doing. I struck up a conversation with him to try and pick up a few tips. I asked him if he had seen any snook that morning and he said "yeah I've seen 10 or 12 this morning" I said "really!?!?!?!" and then I'm not kidding you, he looked, pointed and said "see there are 3 or 4 right there". Once he pointed them out to me with his rod tip, I easily saw them. They were more of a shadow clump cruising down the shoreline. After that, I went on to see literally hundreds of fish (mostly uncooperative by the way). So I guess my point is like I said, maybe try not and be determined to spot a red and be able to count the spots on his tail, but rather just try and scan the water and look for things that are different somehow than the surrounding background.
 

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This is an excellent question. I have the same problem as RB. Sometimes I can see them plain as day but most of the time nope. I have tried the stand on the console thing, switched sunglasses with Thomas, and still he sees many more than I do, I mean actually sees them. I can read the hump in the water too, see the bait, etc...its easy when they are hunting but just sitting? It seems pure chance when I actually see a red who isnt giving himself away by other means. I have always wondered what I was missing.
 

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I leaned to see fish bonefishing - when there are miles of very uniform flats. This is tough stuff. For me, the key is to sort of "unfocus" your eyes. That is, don't fixate on looking at the bottom (grass, sand, fish shapes, etc) or at the top (nervous water, wakes, etc.) Instead, try to focus through the water. Fish are usually moving at odd angles to the grass and waves, and by not trying to see their bodies (focusing on the bottom), you usually can see their movements. Look broadly over the water about 60 feet out from you and look for anything different that seems to be moving, then you will notice the shadow, shape, color flash or whatever. They will just pop out at you. This is not a perfect system, and light , water color and bottom conditions play a big part in how far you can see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to all. I will try your suggestions. Maybe I just need more time on the water. (any reason to get the boat wet)
 

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kinda gaze at all the water, and "leave eyes in neutral" Flatscat1 described this method much better than I did!! Good Job.

Later
R3F
 

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I have had a lot of clients have the same problem. You may be looking at the surface instead of the bottom. Sounds dumb but it happens a lot. Try focusing at the bottom close to the boat then move out. You have to look at the bottom to see fish.
 

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Have you ever seen a satallite moving across the night's sky? It is kind of hard to pick it up unless you relax your vision and wait to pick up the motion. That's what I do when I'm looking for fish on the flats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I understand about relaxing your vision and being in Neutral. The place I get my eyes checked has those illusion type pictures on the wall. You know, a picture embedded with in a picture. I have problems with those things too. Guess the eyes may be worn out.
 

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9 times out of 10 I will see the blue on the end of their tails before I see the fish because it contrast the most against the surroundings. Therefore I look for that more than I look for actual fish. This technique has severed me well even in the dingy waters around galvatraz.
 
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