I’m sure you have all had days where you don’t even get a nibble, or slow days where you only catch one or two fish. I also know you have had days where the fishing couldn’t have been any better - what’s important about those days is they provide you with a great opportunity to learn. The slow days of fishing, or the days when you keep missing the hook set and landing your fish, provide you with a great learning experience if you allow yourself to do so.
If you’re interested in becoming a better fly fisherman, or just a better fisherman in general, its important to keep a journal of all of the variables and important details about your day. The things you need to include are:
- Time (including how long you fished for)
- Air Temperature
- Water Temperature
- Weather Patterns (Cloud Cover, Wind, Low/High Pressure)
- Wind (Speed and Direction)
- Fish Activity
- Insect/Bait Activity
- Number of Strikes
- Number of Hook-up
- Number of Fish Landed (if you want you can keep information about your fish, size, weight, etc.)
Many of you may think this is way too much information to keep track of. That may be true, but I can promise you that you will start to see a pattern year after year, even within the seasons that will help you improve your odds and help you catch more fish. If you don’t believe me here is a personal example.
I have been fishing the Big Head River, in Ontario, for a few years. Luckily, I’ve been fishing with a world class guide who has helped me learn along the way. He challenged me to take note of the conditions and learn when the best fishing is. I noted the water height specifically. Days where the water was low, I barely hooked any fish even though I could see them moving from pool to pool. As the water level rose, I could no longer see the fish, but the number of strikes increased. I was able to identify a pattern, which helped me catch more fish. Over time, I found the ideal range and when the water is within that range the question is not IF, but HOW MANY fish can be caught. I continue to keep track and update my notes to improve my odds.
Even if you don’t get an opportunity to fish often its still important to keep track of your findings, it will help you be a better fisherman. Regardless of how your day on the water goes, its true that its better than any day in an office!
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