10/01/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives (Little BWOs)
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Quills (
Heptagenia Group)
4.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Slate Drakes
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Grasshoppers
9.    Ants (includes Flying Ants)
10.  Beetles
11.  Craneflies
12.  Great Brown Autumn Sedge

Confidence and the Habitual Angler
Most anglers have probably read or heard that confidence plays an important role in
fishing. It plays an important role in any sport. It's certainly true when it comes to golf.
Most low handicapped golfers will tell you that golf is mostly a mental game. I heard
confidence mentioned several times just yesterday, watching a news report on
Nascar's championship chase. Confidence also plays a big role in racing. I doubt a
driver would push the speed of his or her vehicle to near the point of hitting the wall if
they were not confident they could do so without wrecking.

In every football, baseball and basketball game preparation, coaches try their very
best to instill confidence in the players. If a team isn't confident it can beat its
opponent, they probably won't. When it comes to competitive fishing, confidence
becomes a huge part of the game. It's very obvious that those who come out winners
were confident in the strategy they used.

Although we've all heard about the importance of confidence in sports as well as
many other undertakings in life, I'm not sure most anglers consider it an important part
of fly fishing.

There's basically two types of strategies you can use in fishing.
One is based
strictly on trial and error and the other is based on following a plan that's
based on knowledge of the fish and the food they eat.
Both methods involve
exactly where, when and how you fish. My guess is, and it's strictly a guess, is that at
least 75 percent of all anglers use the trial and error method. If they have a strategy,
it's based on what others have done or advise they get from others.

The first thing they do is to try to find out how others have done. They want to know
"where" others recently caught fish, and "how" they went about catching them. They
seek advise anywhere they can get it and from anyone willing to offer it. Some anglers
won't even attempt to fish a given stream or area until they have this type of
information. At this point they don't have any confidence in their ability. They may not
even be willing to fish at a given area or on a given stream until the hear some good
news about it. They wait until they hear others have or are doing well at that location.
When they do, they assume their chances are good for catching trout.

They are usually not very concerned about the reliability of the information. They
pretty well are willing to take advise from anyone willing to depart with it. It usually
doesn't even matter if it's first or second hand information.
What I am describing is
someone that doesn't have any confidence.

Once this same angler hears that Joe Blow caught a lot of trout on X stream, using Y
flies, their confidence begins to build. They quickly develop a strategy. The strategy is
to copy what Joe Blow did.
This is false confidence.

Except in their own mind, this type of angler will never become a good,
consistent angler.
They may fish for the next thirty years, spending sixty days a
year on a given stream making little improvement in their abilities. The first thing they
ask is "how's the fishing". The first thing they want to know "is the fishing is good or
bad".
They may go thirty years without figuring out it's their own knowledge
and ability that makes the fishing good or bad.

When this type of angler fails to catch a lot of trout, it doesn't bother them at all. They
blame it on the fish. They are quick to point out that "the fish aren't bitting". It's not so
much that they are making it up. They develop characterises similar to that of a
habitual liar.
Whereas a habitual liar tells lies so often they actually begin to
believe the lies they tell, this type of angler uses "the fish weren't biting"
excuse so much they actually believe it.

This type of angler is quick to boast that they've "been fly fishing these waters for
thirty years", but they have never stopped to think, or either they just refused to even
consider, that
they've been using the wrong approach for thirty years.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh