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axle27 02-19-2012 09:24 PM

An ongoing retrospective
I've been hanging out on this and many other forums for a while now. I've been able to learn alot about what to do (and sometimes, what not to do) in this curious little sport called flyfishing.

I haven't been doing this very long, though I no longer feel like a rookie. Having a growing family, I don't get much time to do it much at all. But, in the times that I do, I get a peculiar feeling when I've managed to trick what I consider the dumbest fish in the entire water system to swallow a meticulously tied (by someone else) fly that I've managed to present reasonably well enough for a period of 5-6 seconds.

My question is this: at one point in this ordeal does one NOT feel like an idiot when standing in a river playing a fish? I have felt this way because I'm not real sure I'm doing it right. At one point, I actually felt that I'd have to get the 18" trout close enough to club it into submission prior to landing it. I didn't, but that's how I felt.

Ard 02-19-2012 09:50 PM

Re: An ongoing retrospective
Hi Robert,

I'm not sure I completely understand your thoughts but will give you this........... The longer you fish = the longer you have caught fish. Eventually the actual catching of the fish will not really matter, however it is reassuring when you do. The more you catch the less you may be interested in what is known as "the fight". For me a really good fight is a really short one. I am not interested in torturing a fish whether I intend to kill it soon as I get it to shore or if I am going to release it. I never feel stupid when I'm landing a fish. I think fishing is a relatively simple thing from cast to the landing of the fish which is made to seem complicated by way too much hair splitting over minutia.

Perhaps you'll be as curious with my answer as I was your question :D

Part of the problem may be these 'other forums' you've been visiting :eek: No wonder you are confused and wandering, God only knows what kind of things you've been reading! Come back to the light Robert, come back to the Fly Fishing Forum :)

caseywise 02-19-2012 10:09 PM

Re: An ongoing retrospective
as far as feeling like an idiot, stop it!:D
i look at fly fishing as i look at art- you fish all your life to become a master, but the fact that you enjoy /love your craft so much, outweighs the final result.
beginner or 50 year vet, we can view fly fishing as any other challenge in life- live,learn and enjoy.
so i guess in a nutshell, were all masters as long as we enjoy what were doing;)


Guest1 02-20-2012 12:00 AM

Re: An ongoing retrospective
Don't worry to much about it. The longer you do it the less you have those 'look like an idiot' moments, but you never fully escape them. At least I haven't. I still manage to look like I got to the river in the short bus once in a while. :o


Originally Posted by Hardyreels (Post 400144)
Part of the problem may be these 'other forums' you've been visiting :eek: No wonder you are confused and wandering, God only knows what kind of things you've been reading! Come back to the light Robert, come back to the Fly Fishing Forum :)

Good sound advice.

mojo 02-20-2012 05:00 AM

Re: An ongoing retrospective
What's wrong with looking like an idiot?
Everybody has their own fish playing and landing style. To me the real idiots are the ones that have to inform the entire ecosystem that it's "fish on". They make a big production out of it and overplay the fish to the point of exhaustion, and while the fight is on they're giving everyone on the river a play by play. Then right before they bring it to hand, it breaks off.
That poor 10" foul hooked whitefish just became a 26" brown. ;)
Or, just fish and don't worry about it.

Pocono 02-20-2012 05:20 AM

Re: An ongoing retrospective
For me, it's really about the fun that you have when you're fly fishing.

If you choose to weave the concept of perfection into the overall equation of having fun; you can't really have fun unless you're doing everything perfectly, then you'll probably miss out on a lot of fun, since perfection is an elusive goal and one that's apt to have a different definition for everyone.

In terms of landing a good sized trout, you'll know when they start to tire out and when they do, you can apply more pressure to land the fish. Once you have it headed toward you, try to make it a smooth trip all the way into the landing net. Pausing your retrieve just before netting the fish usually gives it an incentive to make another run on you, which can be frustrating; particularly if you've already knelt down to net it.

Generally, within a give species, the bigger the fish, the bigger the fight and the more challenges for the angler.

This isn't meant to be off-track, but I'd suggest that you consider sending your self-criticism on a long, possibly well-deserved vacation, and just have fun fishing. All things come to he who waits.


webrx 02-20-2012 07:31 AM

Re: An ongoing retrospective
Im with Dan on this, I sitll have my moments, like when you have rising fish and you are so focused on landing the fly in the right place and then next thing you know your fly is in a tree or bush behind you. duh, I hate those moments.

The good thing is, that they become fewer and farther between the longer you do this, you start remembering to look behind you before back casting, you learn ways to free up the fly stuck on the bottom, and you start to learn how to relax when fly fishing.

I work a job that has me carry a phone 7x24 and that has me in a situation where no matter what I am doing, if that phone rings, and I am needed, I have to head in to work. I have answered that phone while playing a fish, while float tubing in the lake, and while having a date with the wife. I am thankful in this economy that I have a job, but there are those days when I wonder if it is worth it. Back to fishing

On the occasions when I can get on the river or the lake, I focus on catching the fish, I can forget work (temporarily at least), tune out the other issues in my life, and focus on the right cast, soft landing, right location to land the fly, correct drift, the right location where the fish may be holding, the right action on the fly, feeling the tug, watching the indicator, etc, etc, etc... For me, that is the draw of fly fishihg, the ability to shut off and out everything else, and just focus on what I am doing right now, surrounded by beautifly country, trees, lakes, birds, and when I am lucky my friends can go also and i get to enjoy some commaraderie. If I am really lucky, I have done something right, and it's fish on. At a minuimum, I was able to spend a few hours at some pretty locations, with some good people, before I had to head back into the rat race.

I don't keep many fish, so, catch and release for me, and, if there was a way to do it, I would be ok with getting the fish to the tube or to my hip and then flip the switch and the hook would release him rather then have to remove him from the water or use a hemostat to unhook him. My buddy and I count anything that is "to the net" as caught, even if he spits the hook while netting him, and everything else is a hit. So the end of the day for us may be 6 hits and 3 to the net. or a dozen hits but only 2 tothe net, etc...

My best advice to you, stop worrying about what you "look like" and start enjoying what is around you and what you are doing.


tbblom 02-20-2012 09:40 AM

Re: An ongoing retrospective
shortly into a recent fight, the fish spits my setup. The thing slingshots into a nearby tree. I feel bad until I see the other 5 rigs stuck on the same branch...oh well, that's why I tie multiple of the same fly.
There are so many trees like this along Boulder Creek. I consider it a win if i score someone else' flies after losing mine.

Fishing the frying pan last summer (read, high pressure, crowded). I hook a nice fish and proceed to fall flat on my back, immediately losing the fish. Lots of stares, grins, and chuckles...

Took a new rod out last night. First cast, rod breaks. (bad blank, but I'm sure I looked rad...)
At another spot, I lost 4 hookups in a row.

Some people like lots of active side pressure and wild rod swinging (uh... me), usually to keep the fish from snags in my case.
Others just stand there letting the fish do long runs (in my case, where they shake off).

Being able to laugh at myself is probably the best (and carrying an extra dry layer). You are definitely not alone :cool:

axle27 02-20-2012 03:11 PM

Re: An ongoing retrospective
I get what you guys are saying. I've reached the point where I rarely care what others think. I suppose the real thing I'm thinking is: am I doing any of this right? And what IS right?

I really don't think about it very often because I just do what I mentor, no much instruction, just some sage advice from guy (and girls) on the interwebs and lots of reading. But, there are times, like this past spring when I hooked into a really nice fish with a few dozen guys beating the water all around me (not shoulder to shoulder, but spaced out 25-30 yards apart)...and no one catching anything...and I hook a nice fish. Naturally, I feel I'm center stage. I just did what I could and landed him after a pretty good fight. A few nods and a wave.

I've never been what most would call a "real" fisherman. I've been away from it a long time and picked this sport to re-enter back into it. I guess I've been thinking about this a bit more because I'm going on a trip in June with my boss, of all people. He owns a place in FL and has had an itch to learn fly fishing. Now, I'm no expert on anything, but he's garnishing information from me as if I'm some sage old trout bum. (I guess an expert sometimes IS seen as someone who knows about a grain and half more than the person he or she is talking to) He's paid for a guide to hunt Tarpon.

Now, I'm not slouch at casting, but I'm no Lefty Kreh by any means. I'm gonna be in the boat with a guide is very used to taking freshwater guys out in the salt and a boss who will be green on all this. I guess the idea of performing on a stage such as this gives me the willies to some degree. I guess I could hook up on one, have him spool me, hoot like a raped ape and dig it while it's happening, right? I mean, this is one of my dreams we're talking about...right?

Vans 02-20-2012 03:54 PM

Re: An ongoing retrospective
I understand perfectly what you are saying axle. I havent been at this all the long and some when things are not going right i feel a complete idiot. Line hangs up on in the tree behind me, cant cast the horribly heavy steelhead leech to save my life, feet get tangled up in roots and limbs and i fall on my @$$. All those things happened to me just last week. On the same damn day. The only saving grace is i had the run to myself. Hopefully no one was looking out of one the windows of the houses across the river.

I still feel like i am faking it from time to time. However, such days become uncommon. Days when you are fishing with a buddy and everything is going your way makes one look like he has been at it a lifetime.

I cant imagine anyone would want to try their hand at tarpon on the fly, much less spring for a guided tarpon trip, without at least a lesson or two and some time practicing....

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