Some days just suck. Whether the fish are feeding or not, other factors control whether an angler catches. Even the most well-versed, skilled, and knowledgeable fly fisher has days that just suck. And I'm far from the most well-versed, skilled, and knowledgeable. This post is about one of those days where my mojo was absent.
It was another in a string of mild days in January. I ventured to a lowland stream dominated by brown trout, though not devoid of brookies as I'd been the first to document their presence in 2018. It is a high yield fishery. High nutrient levels, abundant baitfish, and more than a mile of water with ideal spawning gravel means it holds hundreds of fish. It can be a difficult stream to fish but I don't usually struggle. This time though, I sucked. I caught two small browns in the first run, and perhaps gave myself a confidence I didn't deserve.
From that point forward, my success plummeted. The largest fish I fooled broke off, and it really wasn't that big. On 4x tippet I had no excuse. I spooked fish. I put flies in trees. I put flies in submerged logs. A row of 18 Hare's Ears in my nymph box turned into a row of 10 and one bent out. I missed fish and lost fish. I got more and more frustrated and it only made me fish worse. I eventually did get a third brown to hand, but it was another of less than notable proportions.
At one point, I found a couple small fish rising in a typical pool tailout and decided to give them a go. I waited and watched for a while and singled out the fish that was rising most often. It was also closer to me, conveniently. I didn't quite have the flies I needed but I thought a small foam beetle should work. These were tiny brown trout in relatively unpressured water, they should be easy, right?
I put the fish down on the first drift.
The reality in fishing will always be this: you will have bad days. Lots of them. Some will leave you very irritated- as irritated as this day left me. What I needed to do is think about fixing the errors I made and trying to treat the next new day on the water as though it were a chance to improve upon those mistakes. And that's what I'd do... more to come.