In the Zone – Tactics & Confidence
Some years ago now a good friend of mine and a very experienced Fly angler told me “There’s more to fishing than fishing”
Initially I had no idea what he was talking about! It took me some time to really understand what he meant, but he was absolutely right. Being outside in the open spaces of our natural world, away from all the hustle and bustle of our working lives. It feeds the soul and it definitely clears the mind.
All you can hear is wind, water and wildlife, that alone is exhilarating and you haven’t even started fishing yet!
For me In the Zone is a mindset that I switch into when I set off on a Fly Fishing Session. It’s a positive confident state of mind, concentrating on the task at hand. I don’t go fishing hoping to catch trout; I go certain I will catch trout having confidence in my own ability, knowledge and tackle set-up. It’s not about being over-confident or cocky just focused. Above all I go intending to enjoy it!
Being in the zone is also about how you intend to approach your fishing. I’ve listed below some of my key factors-
Fish follow the wind, in order to feed on terrestrial insect life blown onto the water, well certainly on lakes or Stillwater’s anyway. So whilst it may not be the most comfortable position to fish in, it will be where the fish are.
You can have the best gear in the world, but if you’re fishing in the wrong part of the lake you won’t catch anything!
I will spend perhaps 20 minutes or so Fan Casting * in one place, If I haven’t had any pulls or interest shown in that time then I will move. It’s important to travel light taking the minimum of tackle (particularly if you’re only fishing a short session). It helps when you’re mobile and not fishing in one place for too long.
*See How to Guide
Single Fly or Droppers
I usually start with a single or point fly while I assess the situation, then I may tie on a dropper if I think it will improve my chances of catching. Where I can I prefer to fish a single fly. Whilst some may say it reduces your potential chances of catching, I prefer a simpler approach with the added benefit of fewer tangles in windy conditions! Ultimately it’s whatever you feel happy casting and confident using. If you have a lucky fly that’s caught you fish, then tie it on. It’s even better if you’ve tied it yourself! See my How to Guides on Fly Tying and Materials.
Travel light & Quietly
I have often seen a newbie to our sport crashing through the undergrowth, arriving at his chosen spot having brought what seems like an entire tackle shop with him. Then he spends ages rooting through a big tackle bag, pulling out a handful of fly boxes to find that killa fly! He then proceeds to make up his rod attaching the reel and tying on that favoured fly.
Trouble is by this time any trout that were in that area of water have long since gone, scared away by all the noise and commotion. Where possible make up your rod and attach the selected flies or flies before you arrive at your chosen spot. (Flies can easily be swapped once you know what’s attracting the trout).
Wherever possible I make-up my rod before arriving at my chosen fishing spot. I carry a small backpack with a collapsible telescopic landing net attached to the back of it. Inside my pack I’ll have waterproofs, bass bag, priest, fly box, leaders and spare tippet spools. I will also carry a drink and some food or a snack. I wear a lanyard which holds- snips, forceps, sinkant, floatant.
Clothing needs to be comfortable, durable and suitable for the weather conditions. Getting cold or wet distracts you, impacts on your confidence stopping you from enjoying you’re fishing session. (I know this sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many new Fly Anglers forget!).
I always wear drab colours (usually olive greens and browns). These help you to blend in to your surroundings. When bank fishing, you must also try to avoid casting any shadows on the water’s surface.
I know you can only really confirm some of the above once you arrive at your chosen fishing spot. The important thing is to be thinking about them and understanding how critical they can be to your catch rate and enjoyment.
- Be Confident and Focus
- Make up your rod before you arrive at the water
- Wear suitable clothing
- Travel Light and Quietly
….and Most Important of all ENJOY YOUR FLY FISHING!
Questions?? Then get in touch!! Email- [email protected]
Tight Lines from Graeme at fishtofly.com
Fly Fish More Work Less ?