It’s become very clear to me, that dumb people shouldn’t fly fish. I know this because today I was one of the dumb people.
Fly fishing is like a scientific experiment. It takes technique. It takes skill. It takes trial and error. Today it was mostly error.
The basic premise behind fly fishing is to use a man made artificial imitation of the fish’s food source and try to present it in a way that will cause the fish to bite it. That’s a fairly difficult task, but one that can be learned, practiced and improved. Today, I took a giant leap backward in the demonstration of my skill. My only solace is in the fact that I was the only one to know how dumb I was this morning (until now).
At 5:00 am I was awake. The weather on this July morning was quite pleasant so I went fishing before work at the trout pond just north of where I live. I parked, grabbed my rod and vest and proceeded to the bank to get started. My line had on a mosquito pattern from a few nights ago. After three casts, one hook up! A short struggle and a release and I was convinced the day would be a great one. Then I though about the coffee I left on the hood of my truck. So I laid my rod down and walked the 50 feet to get my cup, leaving the fly floating in about 2 inches of water less than 12 inches from shore. When I returned less than 60 seconds later, my rod was about to tip over the bank into the water and down the steep slope as an adventurous and determined trout was about to make off with my fly, my line, and my rod. Dumb mistake #1: never leave a fly unattended. It almost cost me my rod (and the rest of the morning).
I moved down the bank to the far side of the pond, to my favorite spot, furthest from my truck, as the sun broke through the clouds, off the water, straight into my eyes. Dumb mistake #2: always have your sunglasses with you. I struggled against the sun, then finally moved of it’s path to a less desirable spot, with poor footing. Dumb mistake #3: wet rocks soon equal wet shoes and pants. It didn’t take more than 3 casts to hook a fish and for me to miss a step and plunge knee deep into the water.
I figured if the mosquito pattern was working so well, why not try a caddis fly? Dumb mistake #4: if your catching fish, don’t change your fly. Well, the caddis got no attention. I spent the next 30 minutes trying to convince myself the cast would be the one to attract a trout to the caddis. 30 minutes of being dumb. Thinking like a scientist, I tried another fly, not at all like a mosquito. Dumb mistake #5: keep switching away from what works. Another 30 minutes of casting practice.
By now, it was almost time to had back to the truck and head to work. I decided to give the mosquito pattern the duty as I planned to walk and cast my way back to my truck. Between me and the truck were about 4 large bushes and a wire fence running in line with my path. I made a quick mental note and started casting to the rises of the trout. I quickly hooked a small fish and released after a brief struggle (proving my past hours experimentation with other flies an error). After releasing, I moved past the first bush and watched for rises. I spotted one proceeded to put my back cast into the first bush I passed. Dumb mistake #6.1: look behind you before you cast. I untangled and looked to the water again for rises then put my next back cast into the same bush. Dumb mistake #6.2: look behind you before you cast. I untangled and looked to the water again for rises then put my next back cast into the wire fence. Dumb mistake #6.3: look behind you before you cast. After untangling, I glanced at my watch, my morning had run out of time.