Thursday, December 11, 2014

Things I Thought I Knew

I haven't fished nearly as much as I'd like this fall. Maybe that's why I've forgotten so many things that I used to know. One full day of mistakes fishing reminded me:

  • Don't leave fish. If you're hooking fish and then things slow down a bit you are better off trying different flies or techniques than you are going for a walk to a new spot. You may never find them again.
  • Set the hook. The most basic fundamentals of fly fishing can be forgotten while one is worried about the ice on the guides or daydreaming of warmer days. Just because you and the fish are cold, doesn't mean the hook doesn't need to be set.
  • Re-tie bad knots. There is nothing more disappointing than having a big fish break your line. There is nothing more maddening than seeing the tell-tale pig tail at the end of your line that indicates the knot pulled out. Frozen hands often tie poor knots (so do warm hands...). I can tell when a knot isn't quite right. But rather than re-tie, I decided to warm my hands and keep fishing. Bad decision.
  • Get down. Steelhead usually are near the bottom. That means your fly has to be there. If you're not catching fish add weight. Yes, it's a pain to add/remove split shot. But the idea is to catch fish not miss fish.
  • Enjoy. The fishing can be slow. The temperature can be cold. But the opportunity to stand in a river is to be cherished. 

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