Monday, December 28, 2015

Hunting Fish

Fish get into rhythms, so do humans.  If you grew up hunting, you were probably taught how to stalk, how to sneak.  This translates to our fishing, or at least it should.  I remember my Dad teaching me to walk softly through the woods, with plenty of pauses.  Nothing alerts deer to the presence of humans better than our rhythmic footfalls in the crunchy leaves.  This can apply to our fishing as well.

We all get excited when we find a big fish that is feeding, whether you’ve been casting at rising trout for a lifetime or only a few weeks.  After repeated casts at that fish of the season, we often notice that we “put them off their tea,” so to speak.  The usual reason for this is that we have been casting every six seconds for half an hour, and we have successfully alerted that fish to our presence. In other words, the fish noticed your rhythm.  

If that fish hasn’t sulked away in utter disappointment after busting you, take a break and watch the fish.  Have a snack, add a new fly or fresh tippet.  Stay low, stay relatively still.  When the fish gets back into its feeding rhythm, stay low and make one cast count.  I’ll bet that fish will eat!  Just watching fish is more fun than the actual fishing sometimes. 

As our rivers begin to drop and clear, hunting fish becomes easier but can be challenging.  Sight fishing is very similar to hunting.  You need to stalk, creep, and tiptoe around.  If you can see them clearly, they can usually see you too. You've all heard Kirk Webb preach the gospel of "Getting Your Stork On," and he is right.  Watch that Heron or Crane fishing next time you come upon one.  Slow movements and watching the water with an intense gaze will clue you in on the rhythms of your quarry.  Sooner or later the trout will betray their hiding spot, all you have to do is be still and notice.

Words by Scott Spooner
Photographs courtesy of Danny Frank, Glenn Smith and Scott Spooner
Reprinted from The Aspen TImes