Thursday, June 12, 2014

Catching Fish on Our Terms

I was casually checking the Headhunter Fly Shop blog the other day a few months back, mulling through one of Scumliner's recent articles "News Flash.  Not All Anglers Want to be Dry Fly Anglers." that got me thinking about this topic in earnest.  Clicking the link will take you to the article.  After that you can come back here, or not.  It's up to you.  You just might get swallowed by the Headhunters website after all.
Do You Like Sneaky Stuff?
Back?  What does catching fish on our terms mean?  Simply, catching fish how and when we want to.  In my humble opinion there's a prevailing sense in our sport that dry fishing is the ultimate, high art way to catch trout.  Many folks would agree with that statement but it's when you start dissing on the other disciplines I think there's a problem there.  True, personally I would rather catch fish on dries or streamers than on nymphs but that's just me.  There's nothing wrong with indicator nymphing or anything else for that matter.  It's my opinion that fly fishing is fly fishing, plain and simple, and as long as you're not San Juan shuffling, chumming, or snagging fish I could care less which method you prefer to use.    
Throwing the Big Bugs?
This brings up an interview I recently heard on an Ask About Fly Fishing Internet Radio podcast with steelhead guru Dec Hogan.  He was discussing why in the heck we choose to swing for steelhead when we could nymph them up a lot better.  Or for that matter, why not just chuck bait and catch every fish in the river?  I guess the answer lies in the fact that many anglers reach a point where it's not important how many or how many big fish we catch.  It's that we want to catch those fish the way we want to, on OUR TERMS.  We just want to do what makes up happiest.
The Big Nasty Stuff?

Thinking back to steelhead again.  Why swing?  There's a lot of reasons out there to justify it.  Purists might argue that a floating line and wet fly combination is the only method fitting of such an amazing creature.  Plain and simply though, it comes from a mindset that you're going to catch that fish the way you want to catch it.  Most hardcore steelheaders that only swing, I believe, would agree with the notion that when you catch a fish it's because you deserved it, you worked hard for it, you earned it.  For some, that one fish and the consequential feeling of achievement and satisfaction it brings, means more than anything, more than twenty gear or nymph caught fish.  I get it.
The Junk?
After many years involved in this sport, I've come to the conclusion that there's almost no wrong way to fly fish.  This craft of ours accommodates every style, every method, every age, and (almost) every personality type.  The fact of the matter is that you should do whatever brings you joy.  If fishing a double nymph rig under an indicator brings you joy, then do that.  If ripping six inch long streamers on a sink tip brings you joy, then do that.  If throwing a size 24 trico spinner on a 3 weight with a 20ft. leader brings you joy, then do that too.  Fly fishing should bring you joy, whatever that may look like.  There's no better way, no worse way.  There may be the more technical and challenging way (think dry or die and/or streamer junkie guy) but it's not better.  Hey, but if it makes (dry or die and/or streamer junkie guy) happy then that's what he should do, plain and simple.
Do What Makes You Happy.  Get out and Fish.
There's a hatch, a run, a technique, a fish, a spot in the world for everyone and everything.  So go do what makes you happy.  Catch those fish on your terms, how you want to.

And if you really just like to catch a lot of fish, use bait learn every discipline, technique, method, fly, and rigging combination you can, and figure out when and where to use it.  Oh, and swing soft hackles occasionally, you just might catch every fish in the river.

Feel free to leave comments and tell me how I'm totally wrong about all this. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

New Boat Smell

A month or so I sent my old Riken Dodger raft affectionately known as the "Gray Whale" down the road.  The "whale" was a good old boat for me and logged literally hundreds of days on the water over the last few years.  A lot of good memories were made, and a lot of great fish were caught out of that old raft.  For being twenty years old it only ever had one tiny leak, that's right, one. 

All things come to an end however and it was the right time to sell her.  I'm happy to say that the whale has found a good home and I hope the new owners get as much enjoyment out of that old boat as I did.

On the flip side I recently got a brand new ride, a 13' NRS Otter.  Needless to say I am excited to get it out on the water.  In the meantime I'm enjoying the new boat smell in my garage, kind of a chemical smell however.  I think it's probably killing some of my brain cells...  Oh well.  I don't need many anyways.    

Goodbye Gray Whale

The Finished Product

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I'm Still Here

I am alive. 

Blogs tend to go through a hibernation period every once and a while.  However just like the grizzly bears here in Montana, after the long slumber I'm once again up and running, and ready to spread more nonsensical misinformation about fly fishing through the intellectual wasteland known as the inter-web.

Just like the proverbial phoenix in Igor Stravinky's Firebird, Bum Trout will too rise from it's own ashes and once again take it's place as one of the most preeminent  mediocre fly fishing blogs on the planet.  Self-aggrandizing aside, it feels good to be back, to have time to be back.  Teaching, school, coaching a high school sport, tying flies, and teaching saxophone lessons has left the blog feeling thoroughly neglected.  I did however have one or two of you out there ask where the heck I was and when, if ever, I was ever going to post again.  To those folks, thank you for caring.

Anyways, two months later here I am.  I promise to post some more this summer.  Some new stuff is in the works.  Promise.

Big Bitterroot Brown From a Few Weeks Back