Kilroy, its sounds like you had a great day with those 17 inch largemouths, actually one of those days you will remember for a life time. My guess, since you can't fish it again, is that you were on a private pond (legally or illegally?) that receives very little fishing pressure. An average angler can pretty much clean out all the large fish in an afternoon on such water. These fish have almost no fear of fisherman and consider anything that hits the water to be fair game. The problem is that the lessons from a pond of this type don't transfer well to public water, particularly catch and release public water. Public water fish know that a fisherman means bad news and just won't strike when you're visible. I've also found that if the fish don't strike reflexively when the fly first hits water, they may follow fly for some distance but are unlike to do much more that nip at the tail. Precision casting become much more important on public water.

Sight fishing is lots of fun and sometimes a productive method but try to keep your distance and stay out of sight. Remember the bass is a predator too and they are also sight fishing and keeping a wary eye out for larger predictors. Also, don't worry too much about moving along to different areas. There is no point in beating the water to death. After 15 or 20 casts, public fish know that you're there especially if you slap a couple of casts down hard or throw line over them. It's definitely time to move on. Unlike what the outdoor writers tell you, you are unlike to enrage the fish to the point of striking with repeated casts.

Wing, mud and wind ripples definitely help hide you. Unfortunately, the fish become harder to see too. Don't give on NC! 8T