03/22/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3.    Little Brown Stoneflies
4.    Quill Gordons
5.    Blue Quills
6.    Little Black Caddis

The Basics of Fly Fishing Series - Choices Available For Beginners
So far, I've written about the type of streams in the Smokies and I've described the
different types of trout that live in them. I haven't gotten into anything related to
catching trout. Before I do, anyone following this basics series should first be aware
of two basic choices they have to choose from. They should make up their minds as
to the type of angler they want to be from the very beginning.

You have probably heard the statement that ten percent of the fisherman catch
ninety percent of the fish. I have heard that for as long as I can remember. Although
the exact percentages may vary and the fact the statement leaves out the female
gender, what the statement implies is very accurate. In fact, when applied to fly
fishing for trout, the anglers that consistently catch most of the trout probably
constitute less than ten percent.

This statement is not only true, there are very good reasons for it. The single
biggest reason most anglers fall into the large percentage group is that they rely
mostly on luck. They accept that what they catch or fail to catch
is mostly a result
of what the fish do and to a much less extent, with what they do.
They
accept the old "fishing is good" or "fishing is bad" scenario I wrote about yesterday
as fact. Those that believe that, always have an excuse. They can always use the
"fish weren't biting thing" you have heard all of your life. They can choose from a
checklist of a thousand reasons why they didn't catch as many fish as they wanted
to catch.

What's really sad is that most anglers that fall into this category, and keep in mind
that I'm referring to the majority of all anglers, actually believe the excuses they
come up with. It's the easiest thing for one to accept. Once they begin talking to
other anglers (again the majority) and finding out that they too had problems
catching fish, it puts their mind at ease. It confirms their thoughts that it wasn't their
fishing. It was one or more of the long list of excuses.

This is one thing I like about professional fishing tournaments. Those that fall into
the majority category that I refer to as the "mediocre angler" group, never make it.
When lots of money, and especially when one's livelihood is at stake, an angler
better be far beyond the "fishing is good" crap or they will end up broke and looking
for a new sponsor before they even know what happened.

I found out many years ago that good numbers of fish can be caught under just
about any circumstances. This wasn't only true of bass tournaments, it was true of
various types of saltwater tournaments.
Tournaments prove it's the angler that
has the largest affect on the results, not the fish or the fishing conditions.

There's something else the tournaments proved that I think is good for everyone to
know. The old "I've been fishing for forty years" thing is another statement that's
usually worth little more than a good laugh. I'll never forget the times the
professional bass tournaments wouldn't allow local fishing guides to enter the
tournaments on the lakes they guided on. It was considered that they had too much
advantage over those guys that were new to a certain lake. This rule insulted the
regulars fishing the tournaments in the early days and it didn't take long for Ray
Scott to change the rule to allow anyone to enter the tournaments.

Although there were a few exceptions where a few guides turned out to be good
tournament anglers, it proved that those who proclaimed to know all about a given
body of water actually had little advantage. At times it even proved that local
knowledge could even turn out to be a disadvantage. Often, those that thought they
knew everything about a lake and how to catch fish from it, found out they were far
too set in their ways of fishing and that they relied too heavily on their favorite spots.
They found out there were fish in many places they had ignored for years and in
some cases, never fished at all. It turned out that anglers who were new to a lake,
who approached the water with an open mind; ignored the "honey holes" and local
advice; searched the lake for fish and remained flexible in their fishing methods and
strategies ended up with all the money. It was also common for local guides to
discover that they had been fishing the waters for forty years in the places no better
than many others and often, using less than the most effective methods.

It's just a fact that anyone, young or old, with the right attitude that's willing to put
forth the necessary time and effort can learn to fly fish for trout (or any other
species of fish and type of tackle) just as successfully as anyone in a relatively short
time. In order to do that, he or she first must understand that it will be their own
knowledge and skills that determine their success, not the fish or the fishing
conditions.

Choices
Please be sure to read tomorrows article of the Basics of Fly Fishing. I will outline
what I refer to as the two choices that are available for anyone that's just getting
started.


2011 James Marsh