A good many years back, we were out on a first class piece of water in the Kamberg valley, and I had my two young boys with me. They were really little guys at that stage. “Knee high to a grasshopper” as the saying goes. We were tackling up at the time, but the boys had got distracted, and just as I finished tying on a fly, I looked up to see they had diverted their attention to perfecting the yo-yo. It was in vogue at the time, and they were distractible youngsters, but as my gaze shot over to them with the toy in hand, and their rods lying in a rod tube in the grass behind them, I quickly summed up that they were wasting time.
We were on hallowed waters you see. This venue had a reputation for big fish. We were leaving that day, and I think we may just have seen a few rises too.
It’s not that I am one to rush, but I also don’t like to ‘dawdle’.
I told them they couldn’t catch a Trout on a yo-yo. For some reason that saying stuck, and it has been knocked around a few times since, when someone is taking their time.
Taking your time is fine. We are after all out on a day’s fishing for the very purpose of escaping the hustle and bustle of the working world, and we should be slowing down. Its just all about when you do the slowing down bit. The other day conversation turned to a very pleasant old guy who has since emigrated, and someone remarked that he spent so long getting ready that it was unclear as to whether anyone had actually ever witnessed him throwing a fly! That is pretty extreme, but most of us have witnessed the first fish of the day caught before one of the guys has tackled up.
So don’t get uptight about it all, but I would reason that you should get set up quickly, and then go and sit somewhere and relax. Smoke your pipe, twirl a piece of grass, drink a beer if you like. But do it with your eyes on the water and a fly tied on, or better still, with a fly in the water.
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen fish caught just in front of where we parked, by the guy who was the only one with a rod set up.
Last year it happened to me. We had all just arrived, and it was lunchtime. Some were looking for sandwiches, some were inflating float tubes, others were milling around doing who-knows-what. And I had luckily set up a rod. A large fish swirled right near the corner of the dam where we were. I covered it with a few casts, and BAM…… I was “in”. It was a good fish. We never weighed it, but it may have gone over six pounds. It was the only fish caught that afternoon.
I must confess that I am not normally the one with the discipline to get the rod set up first, but I try to. It is easy to be pulling out waders, cleaning polaroids, changing camera batteries, and any number of other things before setting up a rod. But so often there is a swirl under the jetty, or a rise as you arrive at the waters edge. So you had might as well be the one with a rod up. And while we are on the subject, you had might as well take your rod down last too.
Many years ago there were a few of us at a stillwater. We had had a rather slow day, and had caught just a few small fish. One had been hooked badly or something and had been kept by one of us. At day’s end we sat in the grass chatting, while someone gutted the fish. The rods had all been taken down, but for one fellow. As the guts were tossed out into the water for the crabs, a fish surfaced where they had been thrown. The guy with the rod up, threw a large “Mrs Simpson” in there, and he was into the best fish of the day after a single retrieve!
Having a rod up while trampling around arranging gear, means that the rod is at risk. It is at risk of sliding down into the grass and getting trodden on, or sliding into the path of a closing car door. To solve this, as soon as it is up, either lean it against a tree well away from where you are setting up, or put it on the car roof. Another option is one of those handy magnetic rod holders that allow you to rest it against the car, and secure it in place with the “U” shaped magnet. Very handy.
Either way, my suggestion is that you get set up quickly, and stay set up until everything else is packed away. And then keep one eye on the water over coffee or lunch, and if you are having some idle time, do it while flicking a fly into the water along the margins.
It is about putting yourself in the path of good luck. I won’t get philosophical on you now, but take heed of that concept.
People who do, are just so damned fortunate!