Wednesday, October 14, 2015
The Three Phases Of Fly Fishing And Another Peeve
One of the most brilliant minds to grace the literature and science of fly fishing was one Edward Ringwood Hewitt. Born in the 1860's in southern New York, of good, solid, OLD money, he devoted his life to one of invention, first in the fledgling auto industry and then into the world of aquaculture. He became world renowned for his theories on raising trout and salmon in his Neversink "laboratory", fished all over North America and lived into his 90's. He also invented the felt soled boot. He was a busy man.
What I admire him for the most is his "Three Phases Of Fly Fishing."
Phases 1 is the quest to catch as many trout as possible. It's purely a numbers game at this level. You will find a spot and if you catch one then you try to fish the spot empty. If you don't hook up quickly then there is the rapid fly change(s) and then a quick retreat to a new spot. This phase has infected many over the years from the old photos of bursting stringers to the need to photograph every fish that you catch before it's release. Newbies get a thrill here as they should but we should move on.
Phase 2, according to Hewitt, is the need to catch the biggest fish that are in the river. This is admirable if we are working an old, giant brown next to a log in tight quarters BUT it's pointless when the biggest fish in the river are fresh stockers. They usually hit everything and are not worth the brag.
Phase 3 is the end of the journey and it is the most rewarding because it is here that catching the most difficult to catch trout is the goal. We have seen this trout, next to the bank, at the head of some riffles that have that overhanging branch in the way, under a log that creates it's own nasty drag. We know this trout and how it reacts to our mistakes - our chance is gone until the next trip. It may be a large fish or it may be of average size but has found a well fortified domain for protection. Our job is to breach that "wall" and capture the prize.
Now, phase 1 anglers will tell the world how they caught a zillion trout or how they caught five 3lb bows at the PIPE but Phase 3 anglers will NEVER mention this fish until after we catch it. The last thing we want to do is give out its location. We will not even mention that we have found this trout. Even after it's capture we will be vague as to the location of the dual.
My friend Al sent me a video of a 24 inch brown finning near some obstructions. No river or location included and the video cannot be downloaded either. I like Al!!
Don't think that your equipment will save you at Phase 3. It takes skill and patience to win and that's the fun of it.
You don't meet Phase 3 trout on every trip or even every year. Sometimes years will go by on that same stream before another reveals itself. At that point you can be assured that you "know" the stream and it's trout and THAT trout is worth more than anything you catch in phases 1 and 2.
Proceed to Phase 3!!!!
Now why is it, over the last two years or so, that so many people are taking pictures of trout heads?? You've seen them: one hand firmly grasps the trout around the shoulders while the other hand takes a facial mug shot of the trout, usually a profile shot. One guy wanted to show me a photo of a bow that he caught a few weeks ago but he couldn't find it in his camera because all of the trout looked the same. Come on, trout are beautiful from head to tail and you should be taking pics of the whole body while its in the net that's still in contact with the water. They will be more valuable to you when you download them and will look much better when you show them to others. Isn't that a lovely brown on this post. You get to see the W H O L E thing.
Posted by Millers River Flyfisher at 8:42 PM
Labels: Fly Fishing Instruction, guided fly fishing trips on th East Branch of the Westfield River, Guided fly fishing trips on the Miller River