03/14/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Quill Gordon Mayflies
4.   Blue Quill Mayflies
5.   Little Brown Stoneflies
6.   Little Black Caddis (American Grannoms)
7.   Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
8.   Midges

More On Confidence:
We had a very good response on my "confidence" article a day or so ago, so I will
add some more on that subject. I really just took it from a list of canned articles I
have written for those occasions that I don't have the time to write something.
Apparently, from the email we received, it rang a bell for many anglers.

I hate to keep bringing up tournaments when the subject is trout, because like most
of you, I don't like the idea of fly fishing or trout fishing tournaments. However, the
big professional tournaments do provide enough data from a large number of
anglers for one to get an idea of what occurs under various conditions.

I have mentioned before that in bass and various types of saltwater tournaments,
when everyone is catching fish, it is more difficult for those truly good anglers to
excel than it is when conditions are tough and few fish are being caught. Under
tough conditions, meaning for example the water is out of the banks and muddy, or
a cold front has dropped the water temps very low, etc., those that know what they
are doing always manage to catch some fish and sometimes, even a lot of them.
Those that are not really that good, almost always do poorly. When there's a lot of
fish being caught, and anglers have to confine their catch to the best of a few fish,  
a novice angler will place occasionally.

I have seen the situation played and replayed, as I said in the other article. At the
end of the tournament, the novice anglers are always trying to figure out what the
key was to catching fish in the tough tournaments. They always think is has
sometime to do
with a magic location the winners fished or a magic lure or
technique
. The truth is, it never does. It gets down to the fact that the winners
selected their best options and stuck with them
. They were aware the fishing
was tough, conditions were bad, and that there would only be so many opportunities
to catch a fish during the day. Knowing that and knowing they were using as good of
a strategy as anyone could come up with, they simple execute the plan. They focus
on what they were doing. They concentrate even more than they normally would.
The bottom line to it, is that
they are confident in what they are doing.

I remember a bass tournament I won on the Mobile Delta with a two hundred angler
field. The wind was blowing hard (and that makes the open delta tough) and the
water temperature was in the high thirties. In practicing the day before, I had caught
one bass under the Mobile causeway bridge, where I found some deeper water than
most of the water around the area.

For those of you who are confused about this, please note that when the tides are out and during
the late winter early spring rains, the Delta water turns almost to pure freshwater, not the normal
brackish water. The bass will follow the shrimp downstream to the edge of the brackish water.

I sat in one spot all day the size of a small house and caught the limit of ten bass
that weighted about 14 pounds. The second place angler had three bass. Tenth
place only took one bass of less than two pounds, out of two hundred anglers. Most
anglers burned a tank of gas, some even running all the way up the Alabama River,
looking for something that didn't exist. The key was nothing more than
I was
confident that if one bass was in that area of deep water, there was more
. I
slowed the presentation down and got a tap on the artificial worm about every 45
minutes or so.

I won a King Mackerel tournament out of Jacksonville Florida, trolling three foot long
ribbon fish in one area along the beach all day. One forty-six pound fish did it. I
never changed locations or baits. You cannot force yourself to do that if you lack
confidence in what you are doing.

I won first place in a King Mackerel tournament out of Destin, Florida by running
over eighty nautical miles one way and back eighty more in four foot seas to fish
one certain oil rig off the coast of Louisiana for less than an hour and a half. That
took a lot of confidence in the location and method of fishing.

I won first place in another king Mackerel tournament out of Biloxi Mississippi by
fishing one oil rig all day long and catching only two kings. One weighed fifty-one
pounds. I could go on, giving examples of where confidence payed off for me, but it
is beginning to sound like I am bragging.

Now some of you may be taking what I am trying to point out the wrong way. You
cannot just go to any place on a stream in the park, wade out into the water and fish
the same way all day and expect to catch more trout than anyone else. Your first
choice of a location and strategy to fish it may not work. The second choice may not
either but there is one thing for certain, if you don't have confidence in the location
and method you are using, you probably won't catch any trout.

The lack of confidence causes several problems:
1. You will change flies far more often than you should. Naturally, some of the time
you would be using flies that are not effective for the situation and conditions.
2. You may even change methods when you shouldn't, meaning from a dry fly to a
nymph, or a nymph to a streamer, for example.
3. You will change locations far more often than you should.
4. If the fishing is slow or tough, the very instant a trout takes your fly, you will most
likely be day dreaming, or thinking about what to do next, etc. You want be
concentrating on your fly, expecting a strike. You will miss the trout or may not even
know one took the fly and blew it back out.

I should also mention something about strategy. Everything I have said is based on
your having a strategy or game plan for fishing. Many of you may not. If you don't,
you are starting out the wrong way. I don't have time to cover that subject in this
article. It probably deserves a book. I just want to point out that if you lack
confidence to the point your don't even have a strategy, you are really relying on
pure luck.