Many times last year, particularly in the spring, I felt the need to catch fish. My overall experience was based on how many fish I caught. As the season went on, I realized that there is more to fishing than catching. Slowly, I became more patient and my approach changed for the better.
You fished all day without a fish landed. The angler just downstream of you landed his third in five casts. Meanwhile, you continue flogging water in the hope that a fish will take your fly. Suddenly, an immediate sense of dread starts to fill you. What am I doing wrong? What fly is he using? These are some of the questions that you ask yourself.
This is desperation, and everyone feels it now and again.
It is easy to lose your cool in this situation. When this happens, casting and wading become erratic. As a result, you lose attention to detail and spook many more fish. Suddenly, a small problem feeds into a larger one and you start to lose confidence. If you feel desperate, take a deep breath. It is easy to regain your cool.
Desperation makes you more aware of your surroundings and attentive to detail. Factors affecting success include improper presentation and fly selection. Good presentation usually tops fly selection. Common issues usually include drag and depth of fly.
For example, the conventional wisdom with nymphing is to add more weight until you either drag bottom or catch fish. Sometimes fly selection is the most important factor in fishing success, but, this is usually during or before a hatch. Above all, there is no substitute for experience. The more you get out, the more you enjoy the pursuit rather than the catching.
Due to the weather and flows, the opportunities to fly fish are fairly limited. In the meantime, I will think about lessons learned and goals for the upcoming season. I hope to see many of you at the show this weekend.