Crosstraining. Why you should get back to your roots.

30 May

I strive to be a well rounded man. I try to stay up on current events, learn new things and be technologically savvy while respecting the lessons of the past.  I think this attitude is reflected in my attitude toward fishing in general.

I don’t always fish with conventional tackle, but, when I do, I prefer to fish with live bait.  I think that there is nothing more enticing to a fish than a minnow or a worm.  With the exception of some careful and wise walleyes that I have come to know, most fish just need to be near one of these baits and you can catch them.  So the trick is to get the bait to the fish, just like presenting a fly.  You can learn a lot about where fish lie, and how aggressive they are by chucking a worm in their general direction.

There are so many ways to use conventional tackle, and presentation is the key.  Well, presentation and maintaining a feel for the bait. A bunch of slack in the line and you can’t feel anything that is happening with your bait. The same applies to fly fishing.

So why ditch the fly gear and grab some worms and go fishing.  You can figure out where the fish are quickly and you can work on line management, getting the correct drift and maintaining feel for the bait.

I have another reason to dig up some worms and go fishing, and she isn’t old enough to go fly fishing yet.  But she sure is getting to love sitting on the dock and reeling in bluegills.  And that is a great start as far as I am concerned.

When you are having the best day of your life, call in the B-Team.

16 May

You know the situation. Your favorite team is up 5-0 (or 35-3 in football) and the coach puts in a few bench warmers. Guys who showed enough talent to make roster but just haven’t had the chance to step up and make a name for themselves. These guys are hungry, well rested and ready. They want to make big plays and get into the regular rotation.

Now there are typically only two outcomes for this scenario; the guys do a bang up job and are the talk of the town, or they blow their shot and lose the lead for the team. In the latter case the coach still has the A squad to repair the damage when things get too rough.

As fisherman we like what works. Twenty trout in a row on a damsel fly… why change that? We all have an A-team of flies. First out of the box, they are our confidence flies for the situation at hand. Whether searching patterns or ‘perfect’ imitations they have worked in the past and we like them. But everyone of us has flies in the box that were talented enough to make the roster, yet sit on the bench waiting for their shot. Continue reading

Do fish have traditions?

9 May

Fish don’t have traditions or at least I don’t think they do.

But when compared with people’s traditions fish habits look pretty much the same. During Christmas I go to a predictable place, have a predictable meal, and upon completion of my yearly ritual, I head back to my normal feeding grounds for the reminder of the year.

Each spring I watch a school of redhorse come up the river, school up, and gorge themselves on a one week supply of size 12 grey caddis, which this year is epic. They mate and eat and disappear, probably back to the main river.

Leadwing Coachman, photo originally from Global Fly Fisher

Every year I try to convince one of the big ones to eat a fly. I think I have tried every caddis imitation out there, and green rock worms and emergers, and wet flies like the leadwing coachman still no luck.

But I’ll keep trying every year. I have to, it’s tradition.

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