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Old 06-13-2009, 09:58 AM
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Getting Skunked

I am looking for some honest discussion about how often people get skunked--capoot--you throw everything in your fly box at them and get nothing. I left Colorado in early June after getting 21 fish in 36 hours up in Eleven Mile Canyon. I am out in CT fishing some trout rivers that get really good write ups and feel like I am a beginner again. I try to apply John Gierach's defintion of a successful fishing trip--if you intended to go fishing and you went fishing it was successful. But to all of you "expert fly fishers" out there, how often do you fish, how often do you get skunked and how much does it bother you?
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Old 06-13-2009, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: Getting Skunked

Hi bj,

I pretty much expect to get skunked everytime I am on new water. That doesn't always happen, but it is what I have come to expect. On water I am familiar with, it happens probably less than 10%. Having said that, I usually know when to fish certain waters and when not to.

I recently moved to Wyoming, so I am getting skunked quite often right now. I am just starting to figure out some of the stillwater. Once the rivers and streams clear up, I suspect I'll get skunked again.

I don't know if you are looking for a percentage or what, but if I was going to venture a guess, I would break it down like this for me:

New river: 65% of the time I get skunked 1st time out.
New stream: 45% of the time I get skunked 1st time out.
New lake: 75% of the time I get skunked 1st time out.
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Old 06-13-2009, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: Getting Skunked

It depends on where I'm going and what I'm fishing for. I got skunked last week on smallies at one of my favorite spots and yes it bothered me very much. I guess it worried me more than bothered. The stream was prime and at the right flow and temps and the birds were eating and baitfish all around. i caught a sunfish and a rockbass but no smallies! First time on that water in years I was skunked. Realy got to me. And yes I felt like a beginner again and did throw everything I could at them. All the good stuff.
So it happens, but I certainly did NOT expect it that day.
When I make the 2 hour drive for trout, I usually expect to be skunked and if that happened I would not mind, but I usually get at least one or two fish every time I go and usually average 6 - 9 fish.
I just said this on a different post. it's called fishing, not catching.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:13 PM
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Default Re: Getting Skunked

first time i went fly fishing it was the day after they released trout into the guadalope river! i couldn't cast more than 20 feet (even that was a strugle!) when my friend and i found a spot, there was no room by the bridge because of the amount of people there! so we went upstream, nada! on our walk to go down stream i noticed several dark shadows in the water moving slowly where all the fisherman had been (at this point it went from 7 to only 2 fisherman)! so i told my friend to hold up so i could go check out the area, there were 30-40 trout in this one area!!

we stayed there for an hour throwing everything we had... not even one hit!
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Getting Skunked

I agree with DryFlyGuy. I expect nothing more than a fish. It's like when I deer hunt. All I ask to see a buck, more often than not, I get my shot. Sometimes, it's just about being there....to find peace.

BUT, I have been in places where I could not get a bite with a second set of teeth. I think that it's been more of me still learning this craft (and, yes, I know that you never stop learning) and not really knowing what to cast out there.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:24 PM
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Red face Re: Getting Skunked

I fly fish whenever I get the time and I get skunked quite often. I fish West Virginia and Maryland. I fish the flyfishing only, catch and release water. I also find cheaters using artificial lures quite often. Last week I fished Big Hunting Creek in Maryland and got passed on the stream by two guys using a red artifical worm on a flyrod. Who is in charge anyway!
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: Getting Skunked

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyBob365 View Post
first time i went fly fishing it was the day after they released trout into the guadalope river! i couldn't cast more than 20 feet (even that was a strugle!) when my friend and i found a spot, there was no room by the bridge because of the amount of people there! so we went upstream, nada! on our walk to go down stream i noticed several dark shadows in the water moving slowly where all the fisherman had been (at this point it went from 7 to only 2 fisherman)! so i told my friend to hold up so i could go check out the area, there were 30-40 trout in this one area!!

we stayed there for an hour throwing everything we had... not even one hit!
MikeyBob, don't feel like the Lone Ranger. I've fished a number of tailwaters, but the Guad seems more technical than most. To read the Guad forums, you'd think everyone ties into 20"+ Rainbows about every cast, but to my eyes, I've not seen that to be the case. I suspect that the Guad not really being a "hold-over" trout stream (due to its natural state being inhospitable to trout) has something to do with the fact that the trout there, being for the most part recently stocked, don't respond as naturally to flies as "wild" trout would elsewhere, even in tailwaters.
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Old 06-14-2009, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: Getting Skunked

Hi.....I think we all share the same feeling when getting skunked. I try to focus on the past days when the trout gods were exceptionally nice to me. The only thing that really bothers me is when I get skunked and others are apparently being successful. Case in point.....I referred you to the Housatonic River in Ct.....it had been fishing awesome for me personally....however...this past Wednesday I fished it until evening....despite catching a few nymphing during the day (I really wanted to just dry fly fish but no risers until evening)....I only got only one on top by "accident" when my white wulff was swinging at the end of the drift...I say accident because I was getting ready to pick my line of the water when a small brown nailed it and I was clueless until I felt the pull. Thereafter....I spent 3 to 4 hours casting dries with not one hookup....it was amazing....there were some risers and I felt like a complete fool at their hands. I spoke to another fisherman at my car that said they were really fussy all of a sudden...but what really eased my feelings was reading Housatonic Meadows Fly Shop report the next day.....talk about a truthful honest owner/guide.....he stated that last night was the first time in a long time he didn't land a single fish...and he listed every dry/spinner/etc he threw at them. Bottom line...fishing reports to some extent are meaningless unless they are real time....re: your at the stream and everyone is hooking up. What happened yesterday is yesterday's news and fish activity can change on a dime.
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:43 AM
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Default Re: Getting Skunked

I don't like getting skunked either but it happens. I fish the Savage RIver in Western Maryland a lot (I live 30 minutes from it!)and the fish there are wild browns and brookies and they are smart! Last week I found some feeding and I threw everything I had until I realized they were feeding off the bottom or something coming up so I put on an emerger and first cast-wham! I'll bet I fished that hole for over an hour (I'm stubborn that way!). But sometimes it doesn't have a happy ending. I said in another thread sometimes it's about the time on the river, a cup of coffee and a sandwich and yes, thinking about past fishing trips where fish were more cooperative. I think getting skunked makes us feel like we are inferior fisherman. We forget we are on their territory and they do basically two things-swim and eat and they get pretty good at what's natural and what's not. We need to get less obseesed with catching the fish and enjoy the trip and try to walk away with learning something. (we already know they are smarter than us!) And Brad Pitt said in "A River Runs Through It" "It's gonna take me three more years to think like a fish!"
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: Getting Skunked

"But you are already thinking like a stonefly nymph".....Brad Pitt's brother's response to his line (or something like that).
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