In today’s fast paced world, it’s easy to overlook the small things in life. We want things that are bigger, faster and readily available. It’s easy to forget to take the time to smell the roses, kick your feet up, breath and enjoy the process. The same thing can be said about fishing. Bigger fish, more fish, wish I was there yesterday. I always hear before a trip “How many fish will we catch?” or “What’s the average size we will catch?” and that seems to overshadow the actual fact that they are going fishing. And once fishing, we tend to be creatures of habit. Here are some tips to help you appreciate the little things while fishing and see things from a different perspective.
SLOW IT DOWN
When I first started fishing, I would rush down to the water, jump right in and start casting. I remember being so worried about the other person (real or not) getting to the fish or the hole before me that upon arrival, realize I forgot something. I was so focused on the end result that I didn’t even appreciate the process. Time, and several fish later, have taught me a valuable lesson, SLOW IT DOWN! Now, I take my time when I go fishing. I enjoy my coffee at the car, get ready slowly, meander down to the stream and have a seat. I watch what is going on in the river, study the bugs, look for rising fish or hatches and plan my strategy. I enjoy the process. If there is a fellow fisherman down there, I may even strike up a conversation and say hello. And if I’m lucky enough to fool a few fish, even better.
WHEN IN DOUBT GO SMALLER
Many a time I hear from good fisherman “What am I doing wrong?” or “I can’t catch a fish for the life of me.” It’s hard for me to know what you are doing or how you fish without being there but often those questions are followed by “I always catch fish on this fly” or “I’ve been using this set up for the past week and crushing fish” followed by, “I DON’T GET IT!” People are creatures of habit. The same applies to the way we fish. Too often we rely on the same ole set up or proven methods from the past and that has its place. However, when the fish aren’t agreeing, I have a saying “When in doubt go smaller.” Fish are smart and in tune with their environment even more than we are. We need to put everything in our favor and going smaller will help that. Go down one or even 2 sizes smaller on your tippet. I recommend 6X or even 7X. Use a longer leader to put the fly that much further from the fly line. Use smaller flies in the 20-24 size range. Change up your indicator from a Thingamabobber or Airlock to a yarn indicator, which presents the fly that much quieter and with no splash. Instead of weight which can be loud and unsightly, use a weighted fly which looks more natural and may even catch a fish or two. Going smaller not only applies to size, but also the way we think and fish. Next time you’re questioning yourself, take the advantage back and go smaller.
A GOOD FISHING BUDDY
Some of us are lucky to have several, others one or two. Whatever your situation, having a good fishing buddy to me is priceless. Fishing buddies come in many shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common, they share your enthusiasm for fishing and are always ready to go. Who you choose to fish with can be the difference between a great day on the water or a miserable one, even if you don’t catch a fish. They understand you and have the same mindset. A fishing buddy of mine always says, “Boy, I’ll tell ya, it’s so nice that we share the same pace.” Neither one of us are in a rush, we are “enjoying the process.” You understand that it isn’t just about catching fish and the day as a whole is better for that. When you’re slacking or are hurting from the night before, they have your back and will row the boat for you, although that always comes with future consequences and rightly so. Yes, a good fishing buddy is hard to find, so let’s raise a glass to all the fishing buddies out there. And let’s not forget our four legged friends for they are the best of the best.
A GOOD CUP OF COFFEE
There is nothing I look forward to more when I’m headed out to fish than a good cup of coffee. This may seem strange that a simple beverage could bring me so much joy, but it has become synonymous with fishing and the things that lie ahead. I enjoy the smell and the taste, filling up my favorite “fishing” mug and taking that first sip. AAAAHHHHHH, it’s time to fish!
Remember the next time you go fishing, take a step back, take your time rigging, give your fishing buddy a high five, pet your dog and take that last sip of coffee before strolling down to the river, for its all about the little things. After all, “Catching a fish is just a bonus!”
Blog written by Brett Elkman