Welcome to Panfish!

Part Ninety-six

Randy Fratzke

Panfish Chat- Host FRITZ FRATZ - Monday. 6-8 p.m. PST (9-11 EST)


By Randy Fratzke

We've all heard these axioms, clich's, old sayings (whatever you call them in your family circles): "The only constant in life is change", "If you don't learn from past mistakes (and make some changes) your doomed to repeat those mistakes", "change is the spice of life, it keeps things from getting too boring". I know, there are many more, including your mother's sage advice to "be sure and change your underwear often so if you get into an accident they'll be clean when you get to the hospital" (like that's what I'll really worry about in that situation!) But when you really think about it, most of them hold true.

We need to make changes to situations which happen on a daily basis (some of us even more often than others) and adapt to those situations. What do you do when you get to your favorite stream and the hatch you were expecting either hasn't happened or is already over? You can go back home and sulk about it, or you can make a few changes and adapt to the situation. What do you when the fish are rising on the far side of the stream, just beyond your casting ability? Sit down on the shoreline and watch? Try to wade in to get closer (at the expense of life and limb)? Change to a heavier line or rod? Try a "shorts ripping" cast to try and get more distance? Decisions, decisions!

Living on a river, as I do, the change in the water is fairly constant. The sand bars change almost daily. The flow rate changes with every rain shower (or lack of rain). The way the fish respond to certain flies changes with fishing and water-craft pressure. Fish also respond to the changes in water temperature, barometric pressure, air temperature, and other weather related variables. Changes in season, spring spawning, summer heat doldrums, fall feeding frenzies to stock up fat for the upcoming winter, all play a part in the constant changes we need to understand to catch fish. Of course you can always just go fishing, but I'd really rather be catching!

Now you may be expecting me to go into my own version of sage advise on how to deal with all of these variables, but I can't. I have no idea of your situation, your environs, or your abilities. There are a few generalities that will usually hold true, but that's what they are, generalities, they hold true most of the time for most situations:

    "Dark day, dark fly, light day, light fly."

    "Fish move slower during cold weather, so slow down your retrieve."

    "Fish move deeper, into cooler water, during hot summer days, so fish with flies (Nymphs, streamers, or wet flies) that will get down to them."

    "Try to match the hatch (or the forage)."

There's one other "generality" which seems to get quoted a lot: "90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the anglers". Hmmm, wonder why? Just luckier people? I doubt it. Better equipment? Maybe, but I doubt it plays a significant difference. I'm betting these are the people who adapt well to change. They've learned what to do in specific situations, they've watched and read about the species of fish they're angling for. They've studied the water they fish on or will be fishing on. They share their knowledge with other anglers and because of that sharing have received knowledge from others. They've learned from their mistakes and listened to the mistakes of others and what was done to correct the mistakes. I don't really think they're smarter than the rest of us, but they are obviously wiser!

So take a little time, get wiser. Work a little less, fish a little more, catch a lot more! ~ Randy Fratzke

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