Trying to Do More Than One Thing at a Time

Everyone has his faults.  I have more than my share.  One that I have been noticing lately is that I’m not happy doing just one thing at a time, especially while I am fishing.  Why can’t I just finish one thing before trying to do something else?

If I hadn’t tried to tear the wrapper off the candy bar as I was walking to the next pool, I wouldn’t have rammed my rod tip into the careless tree by the trail.

Grateful for stockers this time of year.

If I would have taken the fly I just clipped off and placed it securely in the fly box it came out of (instead of rushing to get the next fly on), I wouldn’t know that those foam shoulder patches for holding flies don’t hold flies.

If I’d been keeping my eye on the dry fly instead of looking for the next pool, I wouldn’t have missed the rise.

I’m not sure why, while having all day to spend on the river, why I must try to do more than one thing at a time?  Maybe it’s because time on the river is so coveted that it’s worth trying to double by doing two things at once. Inevitably, the results are never good. I’d like to think that other fly fishermen do the same things that I do, but it’s more likely that I’m just a little weird.

Does anybody else try to tie on a fly while wading to the next pool? Does anyone try to eat lunch while driving over cratered dirt roads to the next spot? Inevitably, it never pays.  Either I drop the fly I’m trying to tie on or trip over a stick. I spill my drink or the last bite of my chicken sandwich falls off my lap and onto the floorboard. It’s the old adage proving itself to be true: haste makes waste.

I’ve been catching this little fella and his brothers in the same Deerfield pool for several years.

After relieving myself in the woods, if I hadn’t been pulling up my waders and throwing on my shoulder pack while hurrying back to the river, I wouldn’t have left my wading belt behind.

Sometimes, trying to save time by trying to do two things at once sets off a chain reaction of missteps.  If I hadn’t tried to check my fly box for a better fly while I was backing away from the plunge pool, I wouldn’t have tripped over the rock behind me.  If I hadn’t tripped over the rock behind me, I wouldn’t have felt the cool water rush down my back.  If I hadn’t felt the cold water rush down my back, I wouldn’t have tried to flip over quickly and catch the frigid water running down the front. If my waders hadn’t been filled with icy water, I could have caught my fly box before it floated out of sight.

At the end of the day, when I found that the last river pull-off I was planning to stop at before the long drive home was already filled with vehicles, if I would have just parked the car for a few minutes and taken my wet clothes and waders off, I wouldn’t have had to explain to the state trooper that the reason I was weaving down the Interstate at 65 mph was not because I was drunk, but was because when he saw me and pulled me over, I was trying to extract myself from my waders and get into some dry clothes.  That would also explain why I temporarily had no clothes on.

In the interest of truthful blogging, that didn’t actually happen, but I fear it will every time I change clothes in the car, trying to do two things at once.

Am I the only one, or does anyone else create new problems for themselves by getting in too big a hurry while fishing?


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9 thoughts on “Trying to Do More Than One Thing at a Time

  1. Good stuff Bill. This is interesting to think about. It’s easy for me to ponder “here are the things that I’ve rushed through before while flyfishing that resulted in something not going well.” But I’ll force myself to think about times where I’ve tried to do two things at once and things haven’t gone well.

    Trolling two fly rods at a time, hooking a fish on one rod, then losing the other rod overboard while fighting the fish on rod #1
    Either talking or looking for rises/splashes while walking and then slipping (I can’t say that this has happened to me this year, but it’s something I’m aware of and actively try to not do)
    Spooling on a new fly line by oneself. This inherently requires doing two things at the same time (holding the reel with your feet while reeling). It doesn’t always go as planned.

    1. Bill, just so you know I also have slammed rod tips into trees while getting that snack out of the depths of my waders/vest.. you said it correctly.. haste makes waste. Was so excited to see risers that I snapped the tip off my new contact 2 rod building my dry setup by not putting it away like I always have done… lesson learned.. till the next time we find ourselves looking for that next big one with only 20 minutes left before we know we have to leave and bam… 45 min has gone by and now your late. I think we all have that trade as east coast fast paced creatures of habit. Don’t beat yourself up to hard as it happens to the vast majority of us die hard fly guys.. enjoy your post everyone. Keep up the good work.

      Steve k

      1. Sorry to hear about your rod tip. It’s a wonder that I haven’t snapped off a dozen tips on trees because I was trying to eat, or watch the river or dig out some sunscreen while walking to the next spot.

    2. David, as they say in Georgia, “I resemble those examples.” Thanks for adding to the list. For me, trying to fish with three flies at a time is another example of trying to do too much at once and it winds up costing me. Last Saturday, on the Farmington, I decided to add an egg pattern to the Pat’s Rubber Legs and Sexy Walt’s worm with which I had been having success. As always seems to happen when I fish with three flies, a nine inch brown trout, apparently infused with Red Bull, took the Walt’s worm and went nuts – jumping, flipping, spinning. Even before he got to the net, my tippet and tags were tangled worse than the arguments in the recent presidential debates. When he got to the net, he went bonkers again. There was nothing to do but set the trout free and cut off my rig and start over. It took five minutes. I took nine trout Saturday, none of them on an egg.

  2. Just last week, I was stepping backwards while twitching a streamer in the seam in front of me, and I tripped on a large rock, sat down in the deep pool to avoid falling, and the waders filled up. Thanks to my thermometer, I knew the water was 48°. So I lost an hour of fishing time walking back to the car and drying my waders and changing into dry clothes (which I usually bring with me just in case). Haste makes waste, yes.

  3. Kirk, great detail – 48 degrees. Made me laugh. I can relate totally. I always take a dry clothes bag, except during the summer.

  4. I feel your Pain? Those Browns I posted recently, were my Mutli-Tasking High Water Mark. Not enough Fly Rods, 7X Giant Staging Browns. Lesson learned, more Fly Rods! Got some cool Footage, coming out this Off Season. Good Health???


  5. Caught my best Farmington rainbow (17”) in October while getting my phone out of my wader pocket to take a photo of my buddy’s 11 inch brown trout. Had my rod held under my left arm with my nymph just lying in the water in the tail-out of the pool. As I snapped the photo, I felt a tug and fortunately didn’t drop either the phone or the rod! Phone back in pocket, I got him on the reel (he had solidly hooked himself through no fault of mine) and landed him after 2 runs and 2 fine jumps while putting a good bend in my 10’ 2 weight. I too have dropped stuff in the river trying to “save time” but this time I’m delighted to have tried to do 2 things at once!

  6. This really made me laugh. I can so easily picture that happening. When a trout is caught, doing two things at a time becomes doing four or more things at a time – holding the net, keeping the fish in the water, getting the camera, extracting the hook, holding on to the fly rod. Not to mention, getting past the lock code of the camera with fingers that are wet and won’t work on the scan button properly – then punching in the code. How timely for a big brown to bite while you are trying to juggle all these things. Great story.

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