Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Envision It

We've all been there. You're out on the water with a buddy and he's struggling. The person knows how to fish. It's not knowledge that's the problem. The issue is familiarity with this water and how to fish it on this type of day. You want them help them out and offer tips but when is the right time? There is always an awkwardness to these situations. How will they take your advice? Do they even want it? 

I am really bad at assuming things. You share fishing stories with friends and you get an idea of what level they are as an angler.  Many times I just assume other fishermen know more or at least what I know. On this day your drift had to be just right. I tried to explain it and show what I was talking about. I then realized fishermen have very vivid ideas of what they can't see. When I cast a nymph into a run that falls into a plunge pool I can envision it going down in the water and appearing out of the white bubbles. Slowly getting tossed around the current and drifting over the rocky bottom. I can even see the lies of where fish are and how they are behaving towards my fly. In reality I can't see any of this. Most of the time I can only see my indicator and a blurry stream bottom. The things I envision in my head help greatly though. These visions can get the best of me. Like when a fish under the brush just sits there as my nymph drifts by. In my mind I can see it slowly moving from side to side and avoiding my offerings. To everyone else and in reality all you see is a bunch of water going by some submerged brush. The thought of that fish and the hope of catching it gets so intense it is almost like watching a show in your head. How can you teach this or even explain it properly to another person who doesn't think this way? Even if you're reading this right now you might be thinking I'm insane. It truly is how I fish and I can't see me fishing any other way. 

I could tell my buddy wasn't thinking this way when we spotted some fish in the water and he kept moving his indicator right over them. His indicator was in the proper position but the current was moving so fast his fly was way downstream. He also would hold his indicator there thinking his fly was directly underneath it.  When in reality it was downstream probably just 6inches under the surface.  I tried to explain that he needed to cast upstream so the fly could dive and be at the depth of the fish by the time the indicator got to them. He attempted the cast but his actions verified we weren't on the same page. When he cast upstream he couldn't imagine the fly going under then slowly drifting down depending on the current and pull of his leader. I wonder if it just comes down to what kind of learner you are. I am a very visual learner. Most of the sports and things I have learned were by watching others.

I enjoy reading books too but I've always had a better understanding by physically trying what I want to learn. There are many theories about imagining what you want to happen then trying to do it. I think most fishermen do the same thing. It kills us to imagine a big bass right behind some submerged logs and not even get a bite. In our mind we can see the bass there just waiting to ambush our popper. The bass in our mind attacks but all we experience is dead water. There are times when it does seem you get a little of both. Your mind sees the fish and a fish does strike but the behavior and fish are nothing compared to what you imagined. Did you will the fish to hit? Who knows?  

Maybe the fishing is never what you envision in your head but it's really great when the fishing is better than you could have imagined.


  1. You've made some great points Kevin and I appreciate them. Sometimes it's a tough call on whether or not to correct a fishing partner if they're doing something not quite right. Now this will surprise you...no one asks me for advice except maybe how to get a fly out of tree!

  2. It's always hard for me to know when or if to give advice to somebody fishing with me. I always appreciate advice from other fishermen, but I usually hesitate to give it out myself just because I'm not sure how it will be taken.