Why three? We have no idea, it's fairly arbitrary and we gladly admit it. Why not two, or four? We don’t know, it's fairly arbitrary and we gladly admit it. One thing that we must point out though, is we used successful and effective in describing the fishing day when we've met "The Rule of Three." It’s not a good day or a great day when we meet this arbitrary standard. Why? Because any day out fishing is good. At the end of the day, if we don’t catch a single fish, it was still a good day and those days push us to try harder.
If the finite goal of fishing, whether using fly or bait tackle, is to catch fish, then there has to be a standard by which we gauge success. For us, it is three fish. There is a method to the madness however. First, fishing, regardless of tackle being used, is a sport. There we are competing against the fish. The fish live in this environment and consume their life with eating, not being eaten, and mating. That's it, and they've become masters of completing these activities with ease. We come in to their arena and try our best to imitate a food source or elicit a territorial response from our opponent. That's the basic premise of the game.
Now, with these two unwritten rules of the game out of the way we get into the stream and throw out our best offering to our worthy opponents. Sometimes the stars align, or maybe we just found an opponent that needs to practice a little more. They're the fish that take the hopper during the middle of the winter. Yes it happens, but it's not likely and happens only once in a while. Probably not a tactic to keep in that playbook. Sometimes you just get lucky and catch that one fish. It's a good day, but was it successful? In our book, no. The stars are probably not going to align again on that trip and you were ultimately beat by the fish.
For us it's three fish on a trip that make it a successful day on the creek. At three we feel like we're pass luck and we were able to use our knowledge to even the playing field with the opponent and came out the victor. We picked the right flies, we knew the right holding water, we stayed hidden enough, and the stars just aligned. So, what happens when we catch that fourth? Nothing. Don't get greedy!
As always, Good Luck and Guid Luck!