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Old 06-27-2007, 07:35 PM
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Default Fly Fishing and Frustration

From my article this week:

Fly fishing is filled with times of frustration: getting rained out on the stream, losing a fly in a low hanging branch, being unable to thread your thin tippet line through the hole of a tiny little hook because your hands are too cold. One time I drove an hour from home to fish a new river. When I opened the trunk to put on my gear, I discovered that I had left my fly fishing rod at home. I had my vest and my net, but no rod. I sat by the car and called myself an idiot repeatedly.

Perhaps the ultimate frustration of fly fishing is not catching any fish. Sometimes no matter how advanced your casting skills, or how perfectly tied your flies, the fish simply will not rise. Trout are picky. And the task we set before ourselves is difficult: to attract a fish to bite a hook wrapped in thread and wool.

When I am on the river, and nothing is happening, no matter what fly I use or where I cast, I get frustrated. I try to rationalize the situation. I say to myself: “I’ll just use this time to practice my casting.” That usually does not work for long. The sport is called fly fishing, not fly casting.

Over the years, I realized that frustration from not catching fish usually has to do with expectations. As my skills developed and my casting improved and I could catch many more fish in an afternoon, my expectations began to rise. Today, a few hours on the stream that do not yield a single bite might cause some serious frustration.

But expectations on the fly fishing stream are probably a waste of time. Not too long ago, someone asked me for the most important tip in fly fishing. I said to him: “Be sure to look up from the river every once in a while, take a breath of air, hear the soft sound of the flowing water, and appreciate the beauty of all that surrounds you.” In fly fishing, when I expect to catch trout, I am guaranteed to be frustrated sometimes. When I expect to be out in nature, to soak in the solitude of the stream and to leave behind the stress of the world, I find fulfillment. An afternoon of fly fishing always provides me with solace and a sense of peace.

I may still get frustrated when not a single fish rises. When that happens, I will try to remember the time I went fly fishing and left my rod behind. After I discovered that I could not fish, I decided to go hiking along the stream. I saw deer and ducks. I got stuck in “sinking mud,” almost becoming a permanent resident of the stream. I spent time outside, in nature, and I was able to look around, to relax and to appreciate the beauty of our world. And I learned that sometimes you do not need a rod and reel to have a great fly fishing trip.
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Old 06-28-2007, 06:05 PM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Frustration

H Eric... Nice post. Forgetting your rod reminds me of forgetting the plug to my fishing boat . I have "rediscovered" fly fishing after some 20 years. I used to only fish nymphs after too many fishless afternoons trying to catch fish on dry flies. Recently I discovered the joys of taking a fish on a dry fly by just plain going where no one else has gone in a while. No need to match the hatch. I can just fish with one fly pattern.

On a few occassions I ended up in deep pools that are right out of national geographic. Since some of these streams are not accessible except by fighting through rough brush and wading upstream. These places are a wonderful discovery. I almost could take someone "wading" to these places just for the experience.

Fishing with dry flies has also improved my presentation and mending technique since I can tell if I move the fly when I mend the line.

No question that the take of a steelhead on a fly is hard to beat. No question that barbecueing a Salmon the day you catch it is the best eating. But I am coming to love small stream dry fly fishing.
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Frustration

Good reflection Eric, Im back in Iraq again, I miss the woods on a crisp autum morning durring bow season and the sound of snow hitting the ground while pearched up in my treestand. I miss the sound of the water rushing over the rocks on the river and the scream of the reel when I get a lively one hooked. If I think real hard sometimes I can smell the great aroma of freshwater and large mouth bass on my hands after the release. Ive had 355 days of dreaming of fish, fur and fowl...mostly I missed just being out there.
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Old 07-11-2007, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Frustration

Well, I'm glad I don't have my fishing frustrated by expecting to catch fish. I think I probably hold some kind of record for being the worst fly fisherman ever. I have fly fished for somewhere around 10 years, and in all that time I have managed to land two trout and one salmon. I've gone a couple of years without even a bite. I normally spend about 6 hours fishing when I go out, but luckily never get frustrated with it. It's just too nice to get outside, not be interrupted by anything, and do something I enjoy regardless of the outcome.
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Old 07-12-2007, 03:51 PM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Frustration

Quote:
Originally Posted by shocktrooper32 View Post
Good reflection Eric, Im back in Iraq again, I miss the woods on a crisp autum morning durring bow season and the sound of snow hitting the ground while pearched up in my treestand. I miss the sound of the water rushing over the rocks on the river and the scream of the reel when I get a lively one hooked. If I think real hard sometimes I can smell the great aroma of freshwater and large mouth bass on my hands after the release. Ive had 355 days of dreaming of fish, fur and fowl...mostly I missed just being out there.

Hey Bro! Thanks for doing what you do! Hang onto those dreams, they will be a reality one day and those times in the woods or streams will be that much more special.
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:47 PM
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Schocktrooper32, None of us could be out fishing, hunting, golfing and all the other liberties that we enjoy if it wasn't for you and guys and dolls like you. Our whole country owes you big time. I hope you are safe and I for one can't wait to hear about your first trout catch when you return home..........

Stan
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Old 07-13-2007, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Frustration

Don't give up hopes of fishing just 'cause you're in Iraq. There are plenty of opportunities to get out there and get in some fishing!

Check out this site

Hopefully you can "hook up" with some fishermen there in the sand and get some fishing done. If you do, send in those pics!!

And thanks for your service!

~Alan
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Frustration

When my expectation and frustration rose to such a level some years ago, I stopped flyfishing for awhile. I used to go to the river, take some coffee out of my thermos, sit and watch for the rise and just take it all in. It was beautiful. I'd break for lunch and do the same and just relax. That's what I took up flyfishing for. Then I didn't catch as many fish so I fished harder and didn't get my coffee out, I just dove straight in. Then I wouldn't stop for lunch until I caught a fish. The harder I fished, the less I caught. So I stopped until I could go out and relax again. About two years ago I took up the sport somewhat seriously and this year, the flybug bit me hard!! I've done pretty well here in Maryland and I'm taking my time when I get to the river, take breaks every once in awhile and let the hole or run rest awhile after I catch a fish and I sip some coffee and relax. Yes, as our expereience increases and we catch more fish, our expectations rise as well. But let's remember why we took up flyfishing in the first place. As one person said, I can find solitude without lonliness.
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