The Blow Technique – Make the Wind your Friend

I fish both fresh and saltwater. I also fish rod and reel style along with tenkara. In almost all scenarios wind can be the biggest factor. This year I traveled and fished twice in Guanaja, Honduras. Once in March and then again just recently, the first week in October. During the first trip the wind howled everyday. It averaged 25mph. Casting was hard. Heck, standing on the deck of the the flats boat was hard. Spotting the fish was tough too since the water was chopped up and frothy. Two weeks ago when I fished there again, it was the exact opposite. The wind didn’t blow at all and the water was a sheet of glass. I caught more fish in the wind.
Wind can be your friend or your foe. Casting in it can be a huge challenge. Sighting fish on blustery days is really difficult. But it also adds an element of stealth and cover that’s absent on super calm days. Wind adds ripples and turbulence to the water surface that offers protection for fish from being ambushed by flying predators, making them less likely to spook. The wind also hides shadows from anglers and their rods allowing you to get nearer to them. On a tenkara rod, since you’re often using a short line, this can be extremely beneficial. So, let’s make friends with the wind and use it to our advantage.
The Blow Technique does just that. It uses the wind to cast your fly and lay it down softly and gently. No back casting or wrist flicking required. In fact, it is so easy that even fresh beginners can become accomplished at it in no time. So what exactly is the Blow Technique? Well, to clarify, it’s actually more of a casting technique than a presentation technique. Or rather a technique to get your fly out there, in the absence of an actual cast. The first time I used this technique was in Patagonia where the wind blows non-stop on the rivers just below the Andes (and I’ll be returning to in February). There were days in which the wind was blowing so hard I could hardly stand upright and it created white caps on the river – flowing in the opposite direction of the actual current (which might I add, can be very discombobulating).
On one particular day I was fishing a tiny spring fed creek in the middle of grazing land owned by a local gaucho. There were huge brown trout in this little thread of water. At it’s widest, the creek was maybe 8ft across. At its narrowest maybe 3ft. Sections of the creek’s edges were lined with varying undercuts and the whole length of it was surrounded by marshy, grassy pastures. Every foot step left an impression and I was certain, created vibrations that would make any trout leery and suspicious. Casting had to be from a little more of a distance, stealth was an absolute and, the cast had to be accurate. The fish lay submerged in small pools literally the size of a shooting target. These were one-shot, one-strike opportunities. To add to the set of complications, the wind was in all its glory blowing hard.

Thanks to Anthony Naples and Jason Klass for the image

After two casts were hijacked by the wind and I missed my targets, rather than get frustrated, I decided to employ the wind for my advantage. Ever-so-quietly I made my way directly upwind from the pool. I then held my rod in hand, my line in the other. Slowly and gently I began to deploy the line allowing the wind to pick it and my fly up, making it airborne. As it settled in the wind stream like a taught kite, I could tell I now had control of it. Positioning the fly above the targeted pool, I slowly began to lower my rod. Gradually my fly came down with it and landed, quite naturally, on the water’s surface.
Like a massive submarine emerging from the ocean’s depth, so too a large, beautiful brown rose, in what felt like slow motion, with the wind whipping around me. Then, is a suspension of honey-thick liquid time, this magnificent trout sipped my fly…just…like…that. It is a memory that will forever be with me.

The Blow Technique works. You simply lift your rod tip into the air. Gradually let your line and fly out. Then simply lower it over your targeted spot on the water. From here you continue your drift or fly presentation as you normally would. To clarify, the angler needs to be down stream from his or her target with the wind at their back. The result it that you are casting upstream and allowing your fly to drift or move downstream towards the fish. The added benefit of this technique is that you are in essence, positioned “behind” the fish which helps you with “stealthiness” and reduces the chance of the fish seeing you. Simple and effective for many reasons, the Blow Technique is one way to help you master the wind on the water.
Tight lines and happy fishing.Karin
Owner/Founder

6 Comments

  1. What an excellent and most helpful article! It takes tenkara’s enemy, Wind, and turns it into a Friend.

  2. This turned out to be a game changer in Rocky Mt National Park. We could not get a good cast or drift because of the strong wind. Sailing the fly and touching down just in front of the fish kept us from getting skunked. Thank you, Karin!

    • Fantastic! Great to hear it. Simple and effective. Sometimes it’s just better to go with the flow (or the blow) and not fight it. LOL!

  3. I enjoyed reading your article. I will definitely use this clever technique whenever possible.
    Thanks .

    Warren….

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