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taking my lumps

1958 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  beau purvis
Because I run these web sites and write for outdoor mags many people that I meet have the impression that I always make perfect casts and catch zillions of fish.

Not true. I make my share of bad casts and get beat up on steelhead rivers just like everyone else.

Case in point: I've fished 8 days on the Thompson this season and only managed one fish. I'm fishing all the right water and doing everything right (I think!) but I'm just not over grabby fish (I hope!). Sometimes it eats away at my confidence. Sometimes reeling up and hitting the pub sounds like a better use of my time, but I stay out there and keep casting. I read in a John Gierach book once that the only way to catch an Atlantic salmon is to keep your fly in the river and be of good cheer, and when it's tough on steelhead water that's my mantra.

Just thought I'd share that. :( :)
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I sympathize with you on this one Dana. After almost six days of fishing the Thompson, I finally landed one on Wednesday morning. I have been fishing the river since 1974 and exclusively with the fly since the late eighties. I have never managed any kind of consistencey. I understand that there are people who catch fish on every trip but I just hasn't hapened for me. I do alright on the other rivers I fish. The Thompson keeps drawing me back with the thought that if I learn to fish this river properly, I can fish any river in the world.

Your misfortune has helped to make me feel a little better. Maybe misery does love company.

I know I don't always make perfect casts but up until this year, I was fairly confident of being able to make my fall pilgramage to the Snake and count on at least a fish or two a day. 4 1/2 days this year yielded one good grab, one boil and one half-hearted pluck. Still I should not complain as this was more than the four guys I was with managed. Adjusting for late arrivals, one guys morning sleepin to nurse a hangover, etc., the five of us logged 13.5 angler days with only the brief interactions above to show for it. This inspite of near perfect conditions and 170,000 fish over the damn in the prior two months.

Some times everything is perfect except for the catching. Still it was a great trip with good company, good times and great memories. I recently read that flyfishing is the art of learning to manage one's expectations. This is doubly true of steelheading. Still there must be some honor in perseverance and the knowledge that one did everything the right way. At least I keep telling myself this.

Here's hoping that November holds some Thompson steel for you.

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I know all too well what you mean. This June we had Charles Gaines and my photographer friend Håkan Stenlund up the Three Rivers to do an article for ASF's "The Atlantic Salmon Journal". Me as the supposed local "guru" was assigned to fish with them to make sure that some nice fish ended up on the film rolls.

Yes, you have guessed it right. It became a nightmare. I blew fish in the take - got stuck with the fly in one of the three trees we have on the territory and even fell in when wading too deep to ge that darn +30 pounder in view. Meanwhile rookies fishing the far bank slammed into big fish like they never had done anything else. I was humiliated and could not help an inner pressure of low self esteem and misery build up.

That eveing we stayed at the Litza river tentcamp. After dinner I sneaked around the next bend just to get a chanse to heal up. Fished trough an innocent looking run and felt how things slowly were falling in place again. Bang! A 28 pounder took me and was safely landed after a good battle. Soon after a I got another slighly smaller fish. Ah, I had it going again!!

A quick run back to camp - Håkan scrambled after me with the cameras and I waded out to finnish the untouched lower 2/3's of the run off. For nothing.......

Eventually we got some photos worth printing. Still, to fish under that kind of pressure is nothing for me. Henry Williamson in his excellent ol' book "Clear water" says that he feels like the heron - it is hard to fish when you are closely watched. Guess that is me, too......


PS: The article came out well. in spite of me falling through, and can be seen in the lates issue of that fine magazine.
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Fish are like women--when they sense your desperation you're dead in the water.
Taking my lumps

Hi Dana
I've spent the last 5 weeks chasing Steelies. Because I live in the Great Lakes region ( as you know) I have many options as to where I can fish. The interesting thing is; I've been fishing an area where I'm more than likley to get skunked. Why, might you ask, because it's not just about catching fish, it's enjoying the whole experience. So many of us forget this from time to time (myself included).

Interesting enough!
Yesterday, I ran in to a fellow who was carrying a Spinning rod as well as a float rod, we chatted for a bit. He told me that he knows how to flyfish but chooses not to, because it's to noisey and he wouldn't catch as many fish. I told him, he's probably right.
I Then picked up my Spey Rod and started to fish ( beat the pool !!)
He left.

know what you mean. what amazes me is how fast i can lose my confidence after all these years.
last summer i arrived at a b.c. river for the 6th yr in a row. went out for the afternoon and my favorite run was open. it took me the afternoon to fish it. i started with a new variation fly. the water was higher than i had fished in about 3 yrs. i loved it! thought it fished better than it ever had. nothing. changed flies 3-4 times ;still nothing. turns out everyone else had a hayday. i was the only one skunked!i was beside myself! started to question my sink tip;was it getting down enough?etc.i could not believe i was blanked. the water was better than it had ever made me feel as my intruder searched its currentsand its cobbled edges!
next morning it was open again.ihad to know was it me?was it just that i did not fish over any fish? i used my same sink tip my same orange intruder.i did everthing the way i always do it,but was almost ready to change because i did not connect the day before. by lunch pickup time seven screamers had taken me well into my backing! it kept up like that for the rest of the trip! and i was right on my read of the water in that spot. i ended up hooking 3/4 of my fish in the one drift. how can one day like that first one sometimes make us quikly question everthing?
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