Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Little Yellow Quills
3. Great Autumn Brown Sedges
4. Needle Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
6. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fishing Tales - The Real Me?
Yesterday, I was looking for an article I wrote about a trip we made to Maine, when I
ran across an article I had named "The Real Me". That caught my attention because
I had no idea what the article was about. After reading it, I thought I would publish it
again as a fishing tale.
"The Real Me"
Sometimes, I go back and read my articles a few hours or maybe even days after I
have written them and not only find some glaring mistakes, I usually get the
impression from what I have written that I completely overlooked the element of fun
in fishing or the overall enjoyment of the fly fishing experience itself. This is a little
upsetting because I feel others get the same impression.
It's difficult to get very detailed or technical about fishing techniques, strategies, etc,
without it becoming somewhat boring and dull at times. It probably leaves the
impression that I'm all about the numbers of fish caught. Believe me, the enjoyment I
get out of fly fishing isn't always about catching large numbers of fish or even large
fish. That's really not at all indicative of me or of what I personally get out of fly
Much of my early years in life was spent pursuing large, trophy fish of many different
species. I've caught most all of them, getting within only a few species of having
caught everything that existed on the IGFA World Record Book list of species at one
point in time. About the time I was getting close to having caught them all, they
added several more species, some of which are so rare that it could very well take
an entire lifetime to catch just one of the added species. I gave up on meeting that
Many years of my life was spent tournament fishing. At first it was four years of
fishing the professional BASS circuit and then several years of fishing different types
of saltwater tournaments. Those undertakings were about as serious as fishing can
get. The bass tournaments cost well over a thousand dollars to enter and
compete in one, not including the cost of a bass boat, tackle and other equipment.
The saltwater tournaments cost a lot more than that but I did have sponsors for
I have always taken my fishing very seriously, but also probably very different from
what many would think. When I gave up the saltwater tournaments and my major
sponsors, I did so because I was quite frankly just about beat to death, so to
speak. I had cracked both of my knees on boat consoles, cut and bruised myself
from head to toe, fell off a tuna tower, and not only broke, but crushed my nose.
Worse of all, I ruptured a disc. I was getting into my mid-fifties and nothing was
getting any easier to say the least.
Doing things like running a boat at 50 knots (near 60 MPH) in four foot seas for a
few hours at a time is rough on an aging body. That's done partially in the water and
partially in the air flying. I've run over a hundred miles one way and back in the same
day of fishing, just to fish a certain place for a couple of hours. Fishing saltwater
tournaments, even with the help of my crew, is usually about a 15 hour or longer
ordeal each day and there's often two or three days of it in a row.
I will never forget the day I was fishing with my close friend Jim Armstrong, who
owned the SKA (Southern Kingfish) circuit at the time, and who now owns the
Redfish Tour tournament circuit; Jim and his personal doctor, who's name I have
forgotten, and I were fishing an SKA (king mackerel) tournament out of St.
Petersburg Florida. I was running my 25 foot twin engine center console boat at
about 45 knots in heavy seas headed to the area we wanted to fish when Jim yelled
at me to slow down. As soon as we could hear each other over the engine noise, Jim
told the doctor about my ruptured disc problem and proceeded to ask the doctor if
running the boat like I was doing could seriously hurt me. The doctor replied "it
could not only hurt his back, it could kill him".
I laughed until I realized he wasn't kidding. He was referring to the severe jarring that
all three of our spines were having to absorb in the heavy pounding of the boat. I'm
sure he was also scared to death of my wild boat handling, but never-the-less, he
got my attention.
It was a couple more years before I stopped fishing the tournaments, but the more
my back hurt, the longer it took to recoup after rough tournaments, the more I
thought about what the doctor said, the more I realized I should quit the fishing the
tournaments. Slowing down wasn't an option. You can't be successful backing off of
doing any type of competitive sport. You have to get to where you need to fish and
get there as quickly as you can.
One day I woke up worried about what I had done for years and was still doing and
without as much as a second though, I quit.
Shortly thereafter, Angie and I started fly fishing for trout almost exclusively. This
happened back in 1997. I'm now 67 years old. (Note: that was at the time I wrote this
article) The second or third year, we found ourselves traveling all around the
country, fly-fishing over 200 days a year. For about three of those years, we were
either fishing or traveling to and from the streams to fish a few more days than that.
Compared to the fishing that I had been doing since 1976, fly fishing for
trout was so relaxing and pleasurable, I simply fell in love with it.
I wasn't exactly new to fly fishing. I had fished with a fly rod since I was a very young
boy. I had done TV shows on fly fishing for bass and bream during my TV days from
1980 to 1985. I had made a few fly fishing trips to Canada and Alaska fishing for
salmon and trout. I had caught several species of saltwater fish on the fly including
sailfish and bull dolphin, but I had never fly fished exclusively. Most of my previous
fishing was done with conventional tackle.
For several years (1985 to 1997) I produced instructional videos on saltwater
fishing. More copies of my videos on saltwater fishing (a total of 46 programs) have
been sold than any.
When we started fly fishing, I still couldn't get out of the fishing work mode.
I continued to produce fishing videos (DVD), I just changed to fly fishing. A couple of
years ago, someone ask me how long it had been since I had gone fishing just for
the fun of it. I couldn't remember the last time. Since 1976, it was always either
fishing in a tournament or fishing on-camera and sometimes doing both. The only
part of that fly fishing for trout changed was I didn't any longer fish tournaments.
Neither was I pressed to finish a video because of royalties I earned from the sell of
those I had spent year producing. In fact, it was about five or six years before Angie
and I finished the first one on fly fishing.
On the very first fly fishing trips we made, I noticed something very different.
For years I had fished in all the states and several countries. Often, I was fishing in
exotic locations. Other than just putting fish in the boat, I had always enjoyed the
many things associated with the fishing to some extent. There were always some
pleasurable parts of my fishing trips, such as seeing new places, being aboard big
sportfishing yachts, marlin darlins (beautiful girls), etc, but they always had the added
pressure of needing to win a tournament, or to produce a TV show or instructional
video. Since 1980, my sole income has come from fishing and boating.
When we started fly fishing, even though I was still working on producing videos, I
was never pressed to complete anything. As a result, fly fishing turned out to be a
completely different experience for me. In comparison to what I had be doing for
many years, fly fishing for trout turned out to be a wonderful, peaceful and
At the time we first started fly fishing, we were living in Panama City Beach, Florida.
We would drive up to the Smokies and usually stay at my brother's house in Laurel
Valley near Townsend. Getting away from the rough seas to wade and wave a light
fly rod in the beautiful streams of the Smokies was very relaxing compared to the
hard core fishing I was used to. It was also a welcome change from living on the
beach for years, something many folks equate to a full time vacation - that is, up
until they actually live on a beach.
The second year we fly fished almost exclusively, we took a month long trip to
Yellowstone National Park. I found the same type of peaceful and enjoyable
differences in my fishing in Yellowstone Country that we found in the Smokies.
Neither one of us could wait for the alarm clock to sound each day. We were up
early and ready to leave for the day way before the sun came up. The thoughts of
being out in the wilderness on a new stream each day was enough to
wake us up. We have been back to Yellowstone over a dozen other times and
always for at least a couple of weeks or more.
Even though we still usually fish with a professional video camera along with us,
there's never any pressure to come up with a TV program, a new video for Bennett
Marine and there's certainly not any tournament competition going on other than me
doing my best to keep Angie from catching the most trout. Actually, I'm just kidding
about that - not about her beating me, but about the way I view the results. When
she does catch more trout than I, and she often does just that, I'm actually always
happier for her. I get more pleasure out of her catching the most trout.
Often, we find ourselves as much involved with catching, identifying and
photographing or video taping the insects as we are in the actual fishing. We find a
great deal of pleasure in doing that. We always stop fishing and take the time to
video or photograph beautiful scenery and the animals, especially the bears. We
have over a hundred and fifty bears on video from all across the U. S. We also have
a lot of video and still shots of elk, deer, wolves, bison, moose, antelope, eagles,
hawks, ospreys and hours and hours of digital video of many other animals. In other
words, fly fishing has brought about many other things we enjoy that are all a part of
the overall fishing experience.
Often I just stop fishing, sit down and watch the water. It's amazing what you can
learn and how much you can improve your fishing by just relaxing, studying the
stream and paying attention to what is going on. As Yoga said, "you can observe a
lot by looking", or something like that. Of course, you can't always relax. It's only in
Yellowstone that you can break a camera running from a buffalo. Angie did just that.
It is only in the Smokies that you can be standing in the middle of a stream about to
cast and almost get hit in the head by a flying wild turkey that someone spooked.
When I write the articles I usually write on this and our other websites, i
usually do so with one objective in mind - trying to help others improve
their fishing. That usually means trying to help others catch more or maybe larger
fish. I mean, that is the main objective of fishing? We all enjoy being able to catch
fish. I don't know anyone who enjoys fishing all day and not catching anything, more
than they enjoy catching a few fish.
When I write about fly fishing in a hardcore instructional mode, I often leave those
that read the articles with the impression that the numbers is all I am interested in.
Although it may appear to be the case, I hope by now you realize that certainly isn't
the real me.
Prior to my proceeding into the details of the strategies I will be recommending
during the next few days for the beginning of the new season and the hatches we all
will soon experience, I guess I just wanted to leave a different, and hopefully a better
impression of myself than I usually do. Believe it or not. I'm not all about numbers of
fish caught and I'm sure not all about the size of the fish.
I've caught plenty of big fish - big blue marlin, the hardest to catch species of fish
there is to catch, huge shark, big bass, big trout along with big about everything else
that swims. That said, give me my fly rod, a few of my flies and some time on any of
our small brook trout streams in the Smokies and if you really knew me, you would
know that under those conditions, I'm alway very much relaxed, happy and at peace.
I hope all of you can not only catch a lot of trout, but also find that same happiness,
peace and satisfaction of the overall experience.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
New Schedule of Daily
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Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
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Weather/Stream Conditions Update
Friday: Whatever Hits Me
Saturday: Getting Started
Sunday: Fly Fishing School
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