So? What does this have to do with Fly-Fishing you might be asking. How do we leave the fish wanting more?
We've all been there. The day is beautiful and just the right one for a fishing trip. You got to the creek early, the sun had just barely begun to peak over the peaks of the mountain. The fish are hungry and you just know that it's going to be one of those day that you net eight or nine. The fishing is perfect, fish are rising to your dry flies and everything is going perfect. You begin to wonder what's around that next bend or what monster fish might be living in that pool just ahead. Soon the sun is overhead and there's not a cloud in sight, you're feeling thirsty and you just know that the nape of your neck is turning a beautiful, lobster red. But there might be a monster in that next pool or what's around that bend, you keep telling yourself. The fish are still biting, but there's more time between each take. You're stumbling over the boulders in the creek. But what's around that bend? What's in that pool?
You look down at your watch and realize that you needed to get out of the river an hour ago so that you would be back home in time to go to your daughter's soccer game. You hurry out of the water, get back to the truck, strip everything off, throw everything haphazardly into the bed of the truck, tear down the old washboard road. You arrive at the soccer field in time to see the last half of the game and the wife is thankful you're there but still upset you're late. You get home, you've had time to relax, and the wife has cooled down enough that she is still willing to make you dinner. You stand up from that cozy recliner you've been sitting in and your legs begin to throb, you notice how thirsty you are, and your neck begins to burn like nothing you've felt before.
Fly-Fishing is one of those hobbies that can just suck you in. There is nothing quite like being alone, only the river, the fish, and you bound up in one single, eternal moment. And that's why it's so easy to get drawn in for so long. But after too many of those trips, as described above, it becomes a little easier to stay home on the next weekend, and then the next, and the next. Eventually your rods begin to gather dust and your flies never get wet.
- Set a time limit for your trip and stick to it. Make the time limit shorter than you would normally spend on that river.
- Set a limit of fish that you want to catch and once you've caught that many, hit the road. We generally use our Rule of Three.
- Pick a new river, something you have never fished before. It's a lot more difficult to get frustrated and tired on a new river, even when the fish aren't biting.
- If you're having a bad day on the river and haven't caught anything, that first fish you catch and bring to the net is the sign to get out of the river.
- Change the object of the game--Instead of focusing on fishing, focus on the entomology of the stream you're in. Pick up a rock from the riverbed and see if you can identify every type of living organism on it, then see if you have flies that will imitate what you find.
- Forget the rod and take a book you've been meaning to read. There's nothing like reading underneath the shade of a towering pine with the sound of a babbling brook nearby to calm the senses. Take time to just enjoy the wilderness of the world instead of competing against it.
We took some time off and then decided to change our approach to fishing, we wanted to leave the river wanting more. Hopefully this helps some of you who have found yourselves in similar situations. As always, good luck and guid luck.