‘Minimalist Fishing’

I’m wondering if less is more.

Ed Engle writes about minimizing what stands between him and the trout. For him, that means bringing little gear to the river: a small box of flies, a spool or two of tippet, no pack, etc. He also nymphs without an indicator and looks for takes by watching the intersection where the leader and water meet.

Some anglers take it further. They fish just one fly for an entire season. This forces them to perfect their presentations.

All that really appeals to me.

Over time, I’ve been ditching more gear. I stopped fishing with split shot a few years ago. I avoid surface indicators as much as possible.

Gradually, I’ve been bringing fewer fly boxes to the river. I used to bring to the water all of my flies with me. I was paranoid about not having the right fly. But, I had to lighten my load, as the 12-hour days with so much weight made my back hurt.

But, I hedged. I still left some fly boxes in the car, “just in case” I’d need them. I never did.

I’m learning that the “where, when, and how” I fish is far more important than fly selection. In other words, strategy trumps all. I’ve yet to find a magic fly. I’ve got a bunch of flies that have never seen the water, and so, I’m donating them to Project Healing Waters.

So, for my next outing, I am packing one and very small fly box, and I’ve taken as much as I can out of my chest pack. I won’t be using an indicator of any type when I nymph. Have on me just a few dry flies. I’m going to minimize my gear.

Let’s see how this experiment goes.


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3 thoughts on “‘Minimalist Fishing’

  1. I like the idea! I think it is partly just practical as well… it gets to be a pain lugging around a ton of gear every time. That's why I look forward to the summer when I can ditch the waders, and just carry a 2 wt and a little container of flies in my pocket, and go wet wading in the small streams 😉


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