Jun 13, 2017

On The Hunt - Never Sit Down

As a fly angler do you consider yourself a hunter?

I've never been an angler who sits and waits for fish to come to me. I don't see the point. Sure it's fun to hang with friends and drink lagers while waiting for the catfish to bite but that is not my definition of fishing or hunting.

Too often when reading fly fishing material the picture is painted of cool mountain streams, cascading clear water and matching the hatch. That's all good but is that always reality. It's like the sports car commercial were the drive is through scenic mountains and another car is nowhere in sight. Fly fishing like sports car commercials are often portrayed to give us feelings of peace, solitude and serenity.

That's great if you have time to find it. Sure I take trips and get off the grid but I can't wait all year for that special week of fly fishing. To satisfy my passions I must get on the water as often as possible. Most of the time the places I can go fish are shared with others.

Recently while hunting bass on a local reservoir I watched two guys in a boat sitting on pedestal seats, casting and waiting for something to happen. They came past me and said "Hi! Are you catching any?" At this distance there was no way they didn't notice I was wielding a fly rod. I yelled back my standard reply, "yeah, catching a few." Little did they know I've just landed an 18" smallmouth, a 17" white bass, two respectable largemouth's and more sunfish then I care to claim.
Take note that this all took place while this other boat was in my view and I never once saw these guys get out of there seats. I'm sure they caught fish but are they hunting fish!?

On my local lakes I watch an endless stream of guys who drag lures or whatever around all day but they don't really hunt. I never see another fly angler on lakes. Such a wide open field of opportunity. Image this...The fish in most lakes have never seen your flies!!! Yes, that sentence deserves three exclamation points. That is what I call opportunity.

I'm a hunter!  Are you a hunter?

I spend much time warmwater fishing from my boat. It takes me places I could otherwise never get to. It is my platform of which I operate from. At one time it was equipped with pedestal mounts for front and rear seats just like the ones those guys were sitting in. I say at one time because I just recently re-carpeted the boat and in that process I removed the pedestal mounts. I don't need them and was tired of stepping over them. I don't need them because I stand and hunt.

What is a fish hunter? To be a hunter from a boat you must...

Stand Ready! 

The entire day. Get into a stance that keeps you focused and ready to strip set in a nano second. Get serious about your footwear and comfort. Consider possible wind chop, swells and waves. Fly fishing is a sport, treat it like one!

Believe! 

Make every cast count and believe every spot you cast to has a fish to catch.

Attention! 

Remain fully vigilant for any and all clues. After the cast watch for swirls or pushes. Watch for shadows appearing under your fly. Watch your line. Fish will tell you what they want if pay attention and spot their reactions.

Embrace Wind! 

Most lake fishing involves wind. Let it be your friend. Winds helps to provide cover for both us and fish. It also helps to add oxygen to water and fish will naturally be more active. My experience is windy days are usually better fishing than dead calm days.

Make it Real! 

Make that fly real! You don't wait for strikes...you create strikes. DO NOT JUST DRAG THE FLY BACK TO YOU! Mix it up. Avoid rhythms. Vary your strips and pauses and mentally record the action you were giving your fly when a strike occurs.

Zone! 

Get you mind and body in the zone. Your thoughts, your posture and your attitude can affect your day. Believe that!

Summer is Here!

I've switched to hunter / predator mode. In the next couple months I wish to break down individually some of the bullet points listed above into much greater detail and share with you why I get so excited for this type of fly fishing.


I'll see you on the water...But you probably won't see me


Greg Darling 


"My Passion For Fishing Is A Lifelong Pursuit Of Discovery"

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