You should fish more. No, really. You should fish a lot more. Yeah, I know that family, work and the unfortunate surprises of life keep us away from the rivers we love.
When I meet young people, full of ambition and new excitement for the fly rod, I marvel at their dedication and eagerness. Many of them fish every day. (College — it’s a rough life, isn’t it?) I had a time like that in my own life. I fished 5-6 days a week for about eight years before my sons were born, and that’s when I really learned about trout. Of course, I thought my free time would never end. None of us are any good as seeing very far ahead, and we rarely understand the opportunities of the present.
I meet guys who tell me they’ll start fishing a lot when they retire. Honestly. . . they probably won’t. I’ve seen what usually happens when people retire, and so have you.
Some say they’ll fish more once life settles down. (I’m currently one of those guys).
Even more people tell me that they used to fish and miss it, but they don’t have the time.
A great friend once explained that he didn’t like to fish just a once in awhile. If he was going to fish again, he would be all in. I didn’t understand that ten years ago, but I do now.
Our fishing life is a rhythm. And it’s easy to get out of sync with all the extra things that come along with a fishing life. Keeping up with failing gear, filling fly boxes, patching waders and following the stream levels takes time. When fly fishing becomes a regular part of life, we do something to keep up with it every day. We do all the things. (Read: All the Things.) When we fall out of rhythm, we’re outside the cycle, and it’s hard to pick up and go fishing for a couple hours when you haven’t been out for three weeks. It’s much easier to say no.
I’ve often said that fishermen are looking for reasons not to fish. It’s easy to get into the habit of grasping onto the first reason why it’s inconvenient to fish today — I gotta mow the grass this evening. We want to think of ourselves as die-hard anglers, but oh well, life is getting in the way. Excuses are an easy out. I’m guilty of this. I catch myself staying home as darkness falls because I have to get up early. But maybe two hours of night fishing is a better choice before returning home to fall into bed.
Bottom line: if you want to learn anything about this game you have to fish more. If a trout stream isn’t close, find a river with willing fish and target a new species. Any time on the water is good time, and it keeps us in the rhythm of fishing.
So the first tip on the list of 50 is an easy one. Just fish more.
Enjoy the day.
T R O U T B I T T E N