Fly Fishing: Fish Smarter, Then Harder

“Ours is the grandest sport. It is an intriguing battle of wits between an angler and a trout; and in addition to appreciating the tradition and grace of the game, we play it in the magnificent out-of-doors.”
~ Ernest G. Schwiebert, Jr.


If there is one angler I would have loved to fish with, it would have been Ernie Schwiebert. I couldn’t agree more that fly fishing “is an intriguing battle of wits between an angler and a trout”. Which is why I think when the fishing is tough, and angler needs to focus on fishing smarter.

Lets think about at casting for example. Casting harder, or overpowering a rod, will usually create way more problems than solutions. If an angler wishes to cast farther, they need to cast smarter, not harder. Catching fish can the exact same way.

As anglers, no matter how hard we try we cannot force feed the fish at will. Simply fishing harder will not make the wrong technique, or fly, work better.

When faced with adversity on the water, I fall back on an analytical approach. At times it’s been said that I over-analyze. There could be some truth to that, but I am passionate about trying to completely understand WHAT the fish are doing and WHY they are doing it. This helps to drive me as a fly fisherman, and keeps fly fishing a never-ending journey.

There are many things anglers can control such as location, water type, technique, fly selection, weight distribution, depth, tippet size, indicator type, etc. When you do find success on the water, it’s helpful to consider all the details that came together to create that success. From time to time, I record some of my experiences on the water in a journal to reflect on at a later time.

Being a detail oriented angler will never hurt. Analyzing details, recalling prior experiences, and recognizing situations are key factors in figuring fish out. The next time you are on the water and the fishing is tough, try fishing smarter. After you have the fish figured out, then fish harder.

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