When it Started to Click
I’m admittedly still very much a work in progress, and in no means have I figured out as much about pursuing fish on the fly as many others. Hell, I’m even the “D” student amongst the group of guys I fish with the most. However, I have been able to increase my success significantly the past couple of seasons, through some really simple changes.
- Dumped my ego. You know the feeling, you just caught a good fish, a few other dudes saw the whole thing go down. Now you feel like you can walk the banks of the river like you’re carrying around a 10′ long pecker. There is no room for ego in this game. There is always going to be someone out there that is better, has caught bigger, can cast farther, can tie better, etc. Not to mention fish have a way of humbling you that cannot be matched by any person out there.
- And, if that realization didn’t deflate me enough – I stopped blaming those fishless days on conditions, or some other variable not in my control – and realized that I was the only constant variable in the equation. I began to understand that just because one method, tactic, or approach worked one day – it doesn’t mean it will work every other day. I learned that I needed to get better at understanding how certain nuances affected fish – and how I should alter my approach.
- I was always told at a young age that God gave me 1 mouth and 2 ears for a reason. I stopped being overly excited about sharing everything that I knew in an effort to establish my own credibility and started listening to what everyone else had to say. There is an entire world of knowledge out there, and there is a countless amount of ways to approach any situation that might arise – and I didn’t have all the answers.
- I got out of my comfort zone, and started approaching things completely differently. Simply put, if you do what you’ve always done you’re going to get what you’ve always got. I wanted to get better, it was time to try new things.
- While just about everyone that fishes with me will tell you that my mouth rarely shuts when I’m out, I have actually become very observant. I really started paying very close attention to everything that everyone does when they are fishing. For instance, last year I noticed Jeff from Fly Fish the Mitt, who is a Streamer Jedi, makes less false casts when streamer fishing than everyone else in the boat. This means that his fly is in the water roughly 33% more than anyone else’s. Small and subtle – but an enormous difference.
- I stopped worrying about how my casts looked. The fish could not care any less about if your cast looked like something straight from a Joan Wulff video. Did I deliver the fly where it needed to go? Is the fly line properly mended, and the bugs travelling through the water column as they should? That’s all that matters. Why does it matter how you get to where you are going as long as you get there? It allowed me to focus on fishing more instead of trying to be something I’m not – a good caster.
- Through some self assessment I found that I spend entirely too much time out of the water, untangling, re-rigging, tying on new bugs, sipping cheap whiskey, or just participating in general shenanigans. I needed to spend more time with my bugs in the water.
- I took a calculated approach to each situation. It had always been my method of operation to just blast into a spot and start fishing the gut of a run, missing lots of opportunities for fish that were in closer to me. Once I started to grid out areas and work methodically, everything began to change.
- Maybe the biggest thing that helped me was fishing with confidence. If I lost confidence in a bug I was fishing, I got out of it and into some different product. If I didn’t feel like I was effectively covering the water, I assessed my approach and got myself where I felt comfortable that I was being effective.
Each time out on the water, I make an effort to learn something new, try something different, or pick a particular aspect that I want to improve upon. Here’s to hoping my own personal continuous improvement plan helps to further my experience in 2014.