Now there's a title to give pause.
For the new guy just starting out there seems
to be an endless list of what he needs to know
to become a 'successful' fly fisher. Granted,
success is in ones own mind, so the amount of
success (catching or landing) will be most
relevant to the operator...the person doing
There is something called 'beginners luck' and
it does work. It also works for children who
don't have the good sense to sit still, be calm
and watch for a strike. They tend to be making
movements of all sorts with the rod and line and
amazingly some uneducated fish is just likely to
grab onto the fly. I suppose the fish could
mistake the jiggling movement as some kind of
life form, but I've not really asked any of the
fish to explain that one.
Usually the longer one fishes, the more fish
one fools. This has to do with fishing in the
right places, reading the water, checking for
structure, shade, cover, rocks, runs, weeds, riffles and
thinking like a fish. If you were a fish,
where would you want to be?
Undercut banks, and tree roots (and in ponds
and lakes inlets, springs, weed beds, drop-off
edges, possible former river or stream beds) all
are 'likely' spots for fish to hang out. Topo
maps can help with that, or at least give the
angler an idea of where to start. But it will
take some research to find the right places.
Knowing what insects appear at the various
times of the year is very important - as well
as the size and type of bait fish which might
be found. That holds true for streams, rivers,
lakes, ponds and saltwater too.
In our email, as well as on the Bulletin Board,
we often see questions from folks who either just
had their very first successful outing - or can't
figure out why they didn't catch a thing. It
wasn't that they didn't enjoy the day or trip,
they did, but the catching wasn't what they
expected. Or perhaps what they anticipated.
Ever been around someone who couldn't seem to
buy a fish? Just couldn't put the parts together?
They also don't understand why you did.
Fly fishing is a mirror of life. You get out
of it what you put in. If you are willing to
learn, do the research, have patience and some
tenacity and figure out what works and what
doesn't you will catch fish. Or succeed at
whatever it is you wish.
If however, you believe your rod, line, leader,
or the fly you used were somehow 'faulty' or
that someone gave you 'bad' information or
instruction, you probably also have the attitude
that everything/everyone else is responsible for
your lack of success and you could not in any way
possibly be responsible for the outcome.
Unfortunately for those who believe that, you
can't make that work in fly fishing. (Actually
it doesn't work very well in life either.)
Fly fishing is one of the places which puts the
total responsibility on the person who holds the
rod in his hand. If you put the various pieces
of the puzzle together correctly you catch fish.
Maybe not every time - but if you don't catch
anything you still had a wonderful time and it
was a learning experience.
Sadly, our current society is not geared
to those who wish to learn to fly fish. There
are no 'instant' answers, no turn-key results.
You have to work at it. That in itself makes
the number of new people coming into fly fishing
self-limiting. Those who must have instant
gratification will wander off to some other
'interest' which allows them to buy their
gratification instead of putting in the time,
effort and dedication necessary to become a real
But for those few who do make the choices to
be responsible for their own success will find
fly fishing becomes a way of life - and the way
of their life becomes more successful for them as well.
Success does have its rewards.
Maybe, it's not such a bad situation after all. ~ DLB
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