It is an interesting truth that the best why to learn is from someone who is better than you either from listening or observing . It is also an interesting truth that having to do things differently and getting you out of the routine of a comfort zone can reap rich rewards too. In the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of the company of two fine Grayling anglers. The first reminded me about fishing the Duo.
To be honest I never much liked the duo I never really liked fishing with the Klink as a dropper, on larger open rivers ok but on small streams with many overhead snags I found that tangles were to much of a hazard. and with the New Zealand style of the hook bend I never could bring my self to trust that the dropper would not drop of. Anyway I had seen the patterns with a 2mm rig ring caught in at the bend within the dressing so tied a few and gave it a go. I was impressed by the rig, easy to cast and delivery was more accurate. On my next trip out that rig brought me some success and the change of presentation was I am sure part of it allowing me to fish a section of river more effectively , but the point is more that I am as guilty as the next guy of getting into a routine , Yes I do fish the usual methods and catch enough but it does demonstrate that I and I suspect others get into a rut and we all need the proverbial kick up the arse
As well as getting into a rut method wise for those of us that fish the same water regularly I would hazard that there are many like me who on every trip fish pretty much the same runs and pools . Now on Sunday a friend accompanied me , now the truth is he is a more experienced and much more efficient grayling angler than I am and so doesn`t need my assistance but as a guest in my book he gets to fish the favoured runs and glides that I would prefer, So that leaves me steered towards the areas that usually I walk past because the access to the river was poor or historically its an area that hasn`t really delivered . I have fished this stretch of water now for about 15 years so I know it fairly well.
Anyway the point is I found myself fishing different areas in different ways and actually caught my best of the day from a corner that I had not really tackled seriously for years as I figured the wading was to deep and the silt too soft after trying it a few times over the years. But I guess as most of the river changes constantly that little area had shallowed of over a winter and what was head high was now just above waist high but wade able. The lesson is keep things fresh and your catch rates improve.
I am definitely a pleasure angler , a keen one I grant you but truth is I know that my casting needs to improve I also have been told my work rate needs to improve, My answer to that at the time was If I had to work hard to catch fish them my advisor at the time could stuff it where the sun don`t shine , these days stopping and watching wildlife and even better a chat with another angler is all part of the day for me. Another friend has a successful angling business , so successful he hardly ever fishes himself, that to me would be the worst result imaginable but I also appreciate that his success is down to the effort and time he commits. But after saying all that I love catching fish anyone who knows me has my permission to kick my arse if I claim that blanking doesn`t matter. It does matter but just not as much as it used too and it amazing how little extra effort is needed to improve your catch rate and enjoyment ,
I have spent the last few years working hard to build a small business and that is what working hard is for. Fishing is so I can keep my head sane to keep working hard. As for fishing hard generally I have found that for me less is more, on the rivers taking your time and casting less often has increased my catch rate, If I had to give any prospective small stream angler advice it would be just stand still and watch for a bit, it is amazing how often that single bit of advice helps. Usually when I wade into a new river section before I start to work upstream I stop and take of the fly, change tippet well you know the rest but its amazing how often in that pause you spy a rising fish or even just notice an interesting current, even before that its a good rule to stop and look a minute or two before you wade in , How many times have we waded into a stream to see a bow wave of a fish that you had missed speeding upstream spooking everything else?. My very first fishing mentor 50 years ago told me of for always just trying to cast to the far bank, he pointed out that from other side this was the far bank. It was a lesson I never forgot.
Fishing should not be hard it should be leisurely and pleasurable or at least it seems that to me. It is also something that is aesthetically pleasing. I think part of the reason why I have fished so much with Bamboo and silk during the last few summers is more about the quality of the experience and less about technical excellence and the numbers game. It could of course be that I am simply getting older and have fished for so long that there is simply no urgency any more also cane rods and silk lines do seem to slow everything down and enhance the experience.