Ask Brook

Why am I standing where I should be fishing?

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A couple of years ago I went on my first guided trip. I was looking to learn nymphing and figured I could run up the learning curve a bit if I hired a guide who was experienced in nymphing. Ross and I hooked up with a guide on the Farmington River and learned a bunch that day. In fact, we’re still making the same mistakes were we taught several years ago.

One of the things I learned that day was about surveying the water before you wade in. Now, I didn’t learn it when the guide held me back a bit to actually watch the water. He was watching the water. I was thinking about all the fish I would be catching.

I also did not learn it a little later in the day when we were actually catching some fish in water that I would have thought too skinny to catch fish in. I thought the fish were on the far bank (aren’t the always). We were catching fish on the near bank. We were catching where I would have been standing. But I was happy to be catching so I didn’t consider why we were actually fishing there.

No, it didn’t all click for me until late in the day when the guide nodded downstream and said, “That guy’s standing in water he should be fishing”

Then I put it all together. Watch the water. See the fish. And even if you don’t see the fish, cast to a few of those places you don’t think will hold fish just in case they do. Don’t overdue it. But a few casts can’t hurt.

Today, I always wade in to the spot I want to fish preceded by a few casts to the places I will walk through and a few casts to the spot where I will soon be standing just in case they hold some fish. I’m rarely rewarded with a tug on the line using this technique but I am often enough that it’s become a nice habit.

Phillip Monahan has a nice article on this subject over on Midcurrent, The Inside Scoop.