Is it better to fish all day and catch one thats really big, or get a tired arm catching lil fellers?
I'm not one of those liars that says it doesn't matter if I even catch a fish, but it is better when you get to the point where you don't care if it is size OR numbers.
Show me an angler who says he doesn't really care whether or not he catches fish and I'll show you a man who isn't very good at it. Nobody spends money on waders, rods/reels/lines, flies, nets, hats, tools, gadgets, etc. and goes and stands in the water for half a day without the hope of catching a fish. The people at the river who don't care to catch fish are there without fishing poles.
But whether I catch a few or a bunch, big ones or little ones is of no consequence. What matters is the connection with the water and the creatures that live there...and that connection is completed by a firm hook set and a safe release.
I would never doubt the sincerity or truthfulness of a person who tells me that getting skunked doesn't bother them.
When I go out the door of my home, cabin, or tent, to go fishing I don't care if I catch anything or not. Days without catching fish taught me to measure my days by using more than the length or weight of a fish. Conversely, on the day I caught the fish in the picture I released more than I can quote a number for and that's no lie either.
"Show me an angler who says he doesn't really care whether or not he catches fish and I'll show you a man who isn't very good at it."
Show me an angler who says he doesn't really care whether or not he catches a fish and I will show you:
A man who is in the twilight of his fly fishing career and has found more important ways to measure a trip. Drifting down a familiar river and still being able to row. Seeing a Bald Eagle pick up a Salmon. Stopping your boat so a herd of Caribou can cross the river, and so on.
A man who is fishing with someone they love and watching a life long friend or child catching a fish is reward enough.
A man with a new rod and reel and can't wait to hit the water.
Catching fish is important but being skunked happens. I would much prefer to catch only one fish and that it be the biggest fish I have caught all year, or ever.
That said I would be a happy camper catching 3lb rainbows all day long.
Neither of you fellas don't care if you catch a fish or not, but you still enjoy yourselves immensely when you don't. You might still go even if somehow you knew you weren't going to catch a fish. But that doesn't mean you don't care whether or not you catch fish. If catching fish is not a goal, why take a hook? Catching a fish is always the goal of a fisherman by definition. This was my point.
And I've read enough of both of your posts here to know that both of you put a lot of thought, time, effort, and craft into your fishing. You don't do that not to catch fish. It's just that catching fish is not the only thing that matters. It might not even be the most important thing about fishing for many of us. It's not for me. I have fished many days where I knew the possibility of getting skunked was greater than the possibility of catching something. But that doesn't truly mean I don't care whether or not I catch fish. I went with the hope and intention of beating the odds, but also knowing that I'd have a good day even if I didn't.
Also, I will say this: I can go help/teach others fish anytime and have a great time. And there are often times that I would rather do that than fish myself. But I'm not willing to just teach and never fish again! I can only go a few days of guiding or teaching before I have to get some "me time."
I want to catch 100 big fish a day. I know it ain't going to happen, so I fish for whatever I can catch. Hell, it keeps me off the street and out of the bingo parlor. You can't ask for anything more.
p.s. Frank, I could be talked into catching 3 lb. 'bows all day too. Just point the way and I'm right behind you.
Since the question wasn't, "What's better, None or Some?" I have to say I would rather catch one big fish than dozens of small guys most days. I agree with what has been said so far, fishing isn't about just catching fish. I got skunked a couple weeks ago, but I was with my dog on a stretch of river under a bluebird sky, saw a bald eagle not thirty feet above my head doing his own fishing, and I wasn't in front of the TV. I didn't complain once.
That being said, when I catch a trophy sized fish - and that isn't all that often really - I enjoy it more than when I catch a little guy. They are generally far more crafty, which means I had to work harder and think more; they fight harder and smarter; and they make me feel like I've earned something.
But two buddies and myself caught over 150 fish in two days on the upper Colorado this past July and none of them were over 16 inches. That was a whole different kind of fun. Just being out in the middle of a feeding frenzy with good friends never gets old.
That's the beauty of it, though. It's not the same every day. If it were, that would be kind of dull, wouldn't it?
Depends on your personal viewpoint, and the conditions you are facing on a particular day. I love chasing Steel with the fly; does it bother me if I get skunked? I can honestly say that in most cases not at all, even though I love fooling them into taking my creation. If given the choice, I would like to catch my personal best on each and every Steelie I hook and land. If not, I don't care; I just spent a beautiful day in a beautiful place...
I like to catch fish, sometimes I don't and I don't consider it a wasted day, I try to take it as a learning experience, did I have the wrong fly, wrong presentation, bad conditions, etc.
Usually, if I really want to catch a fish, I can catch a little guy, they are easier to fool, and fairly predictable, you can bang the banks up under the trees and there is usually a little guy who will bite.
Generally, when I go out these days it is to catch the big guys, trying to find and fool them is my quest. So I guess my answer is I would like to catch one big one, but it is kinda fun to hook the little ones while searching for the big ones. So, can I choose both - catching a few little guys and ending the day with a big one?