Keys to angling success....
I fished with George & Janet again Sunday and we had a phenomonal day.
We have been out 3 times in the last six weeks, and the results were considerably less than phenomonal on the first 2 trips. We did catch fish (George even had a day with a bass slam - spotted bass, shoal bass, striped bass & hybrid striper), but it wasn't easy. Even on George's slam day, the 4 slam fish were joined by only 1 or 2 others (at left is one of George's stripers).
In spite of the tepid results, George and Janet came to fish again on Sunday. And they got their just rewards - many big hybrids and a couple of good stripers. Most of the fish ate top water bugs (a subtle, film-floating, dead-drifted Wotton injured shad).
So, here's the point - #1 Key for Angling Success - you gotta' go to have a chance. The 2 previous trips had been less than stellar, the weather forecast was lousy, but these anglers were ready to fish anyhow. Well, the rain quite shortly after daylight, the temperatures warmed up, and the fish were eating. A lot of angler would have stayed home, but you can't catch `em if you aren't on the water.
This brings to mind another angler, Joel D. from LaGrange. I have a guide friend who fishes for stripers with me pretty regular on "scouting" trips when I don't have a guide trip. I got the impression he was a little ticked that Joel had caught a huge stripe back in August - thinking that Joel only fishes there occassionally when he fishes it often. And being a very skilled angler, he felt he was much more deserving of the fish than Joel. The fish, by the way, was 43 lbs - caught on and 8-wt with a big deceiver - pictured on right - more details here.
Joel will tell you that he's not a real proficient fly angler (actually he's pretty dang good). But the thing that Joel does best is fish hard. That could easily be Key #2. The other day we went up the river and I was anchoring in the shoals (not an easy task). Before I had the anchor set, Joel was on the stern making a cast. He was hooked up to a nice stripe before the anchor ever caught.
While the importance of observation in many situations cannot be minimized, you must have your fly in the water to have a chance. Joel epitomizes another aspect of "fishing hard." He'll throw into any spot, no matter how tough or how likely the fly is to hang-up. And hang-up he often does - but lots of times he'll hook up too.
And maybe the most important part of fishing hard is to really fish every cast. Not just throw it out there and strip it back, but make it move like the bait and be keenly aware and ready for a hit all the time. Joel is sometimes get so intent on his fly that he won't even hear you talking to him.