How To Catch More Fish – The Company You Keep
I’m not a very good fisherman. At least not by the standards of the company I keep. Numbered among my friends are more elegant casters, craftier fly tyers, smarter fly selectors, more intuitive water readers, and more graceful presenters than I ever dream of being. Heck, on any given day, those superior abilities are likely to all be embodied in the same person. But that’s just fine. I still manage to catch an occasional trout. Sometimes I’m even fortunate enough to catch the trout.
Even when the fishing is slow though, I’m virtually guaranteed of hooking a new idea or two from my companions. What success I’ve enjoyed with a fly rod over the years is owed more to that fact than any other single factor… bar none. Here are a few ideas on how you can harvest more from your time on the water too.
Swallow your pride – As a red blooded American man I realize it’s hard to ask for help. In the timeless words of Abraham Lincoln “It is better to remain silent and be presumed a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt” right? Wrong. Nobody has all the answers and there’s no shame in admitting it.
“Whoa slick cast man! How did you your get your line to land with that upstream mend built in?”
“Holy cow, nice hook-up! What did you see that told you put the fly there?”
“If you have any ideas where this tailing loop is coming from, you’re not going to hurt my feelings.“
Leave the posturing at home. Ask today and fish more effectively tomorrow.
The flipside, of course, is that no one wants to be peppered with an inquisition while they’re fishing. But specific, contextually appropriate questions let your buddy know that you’re paying attention, interested and value his or her opinion. Who wouldn’t share a little ju-ju in those circumstances?
Don’t be stingy – Turn about is fair play. If you’ve got the pattern deciphered and you’re buddy is interested… share the love. Found a sweet new honey hole in the next drainage north? A little tactfully shared information can garner real returns. Is someone showing you some unfamiliar water? Offer to drive. And never underestimate the educational power of a passed flask.
Cast a wide net – There’s nothing quite so comfortable as fishing with an old friend. We all have that nucleus of buddies with whom, for better or worse, we’ve spent untold days on the water. There’s no call to give that up, but branching out a little can go a long way. Maybe the new gal at the office was a champion flats guide in her youth, or maybe they just did things a little differently where she grew up. Either way, the insertion of a fresh perspective can help to reorder the way you look at things, often prompting big leaps forward for your craft.
Successful fishing begins in your head. What’s in there is influenced by the folks around you. Paying attention to that fact, and actively harnessing it can go a long way.