Now if there’s one thing all anglers have in common getting skunked and anyone who tells you they don’t is a liar. But you know what they say, all fisherman are liars, and that’s why they call it fishing and not catching, and the early bird catch…you get the point. Skunked, ghosted, striking out, whatever you call it; there’re hundreds of different names for it and ten times as many excuses.
As much as we all hate it, can we argue it makes us a better fisherman? That maybe it humbles us as anglers, more than it hinders us? Or are those the words of someone who was recently skunked…While it does happen to us all, there are ways to avoid making it a regular occurrence. Here are 5 different skunkers and advice on how to prevent yourself from becoming one of them.
1.The Spot Sticker
We’ve all been guilty of sticking to one spot for far too long. Either you saw a quick flash in a riffle, maybe you’ve had luck in that hole before, or ya just missed a “huge strike” a couple of casts prior. Good chances are if you’ve thrown a hundred casts into the same spot, every fish is well aware of you and your arsenal. Move on, go find fresh water, or sit on the bank and kick it for a bit. Either way, spot sticking is an easy way to burn daylight and lower your chances of getting your line tight.
2. The Entomologist
You know the one, out there spending more time with their nose buried in their fly box or flipping rocks, than with a line in the water. Convinced they’re fishing the wrong color, size or pattern, and constantly switching flies after a couple of casts a.k.a you and me on occasion…Yeah, we’ve all done it. We’re not saying don’t alter your approach, everyone knows you gotta figure out what the fish are eating. But at the end of the day, you’re not gonna catch a fish unless your line is in the water. If you’ve had luck with a pattern before or see other anglers using a similar bug don’t be afraid to keep it on for a bit and alter your approach as an angler. Sometimes its the hunter, not the arrow…
3. The SnugBug
Now on the other side of the spectrum, there’s the SnugBug. The times where no matter what, you just really refuse to change a fly. Sometimes it’s fishing in single-digit degree weather where tying on 6X with your fingers is out of the question. Or the fact that a pattern has proven tried-and-true all week long and one day it suddenly turns off. No matter the reason we’ve probably all been guilty of fishing the same fly for a little too long and it can definitely contribute to getting skunked. Don’t be afraid to switch it up.
4. The Jealous & Overzealous
The only thing worse than getting skunked? When you’re getting skunked and your buddies continue to catch fish in your face all day long…the nerve of those dudes. The only remedy? Wait for your buddy to get tight, wade on over, and punch him right in his smug little face. I mean really punch him too like ruin any chances of a future cool-Instagram post due to a bloody nose or something. Just kidding…kind of…I mean it could help…
But really, if you find yourself getting skunked and clearly there are fish present, take a deep breath, relax, and ignore your buddy hooking up for the fifth time. Getting frustrated is never a good thing on the water. Getting over excited because there are fish present is another great way to blow any shot at hooking up. They can smell overeagerness, I swear.
5. The Hero & The Zero
Been slaying it lately? Bad mouthing the intelligence of fish in your spare time perhaps? Listen, at the end of the day we’re all being outsmarted by creatures with the brain the size of a breadcrumb. But showing up to the river with a cocky attitude is an easy way to end up striking out. Put yer 3wt away, this pissing contest is over.
The Zero on the other hand. That’s the persona we’ve all encompassed at one stage in our angling career. Maybe you’ve been in a slump recently. Maybe the fishing has just turned off. Maybe you’re running out of daylight or just running out of ways to lie to your girlfriend or boyfriend about how many fish you caught. Sometimes we all dread being skunked so much we can hinder our chances of ever catching a fish. Again, leave your big head or your dread on the river banks and stick to the fundamentals until last light.
Now no matter what we do the truth of the matter is anglers will always strike out. Mark my words, as long as there are anglers they’ll be getting skunked. At the end of a no-fish day, I think we do develop an appreciation for the stealth and skill required to fool a fish on the fly. It keeps us coming back and eager to learn more about the sport but most importantly, it makes that next hook-up even sweeter.
Sometimes you are in the perfect spot and there are dozens of unsuspecting fish in that hole. Sometimes you might have tied on the perfect bug, in just the right size and color combo, and matched the hatch perfectly. And sometimes you can approach the river calm, cool, and collected, fishing at the perfect depth bouncing bugs of trout noses and you will still get skunked. So I’ll leave you with a quote…
“That’s why they call it fishing not catching!” -Every old guy you’ve ever run into leaving the river
Tight Lines folks.
A fellow Skunker
Article by Britton Beal
The 10 Best Fishing Snacks You Should Always Take With You on the Water
Once the waders are fastened on, the rod is rigged, and the boots have touched the water; there isn’t much that can distract an angler in pursuit of some hungry trout…that is until their own belly starts rumbling. Fly fishing can be a physically demanding hobby, whether you’re fishing from gravel put in, or spending your nights in a tent in the high Sierras: your engine needs fuel. Instead of wasting time off the water finding a meal, or simply procuring one from your adventure mobile, pack one of the snacks we’ve listed below in order to get the calories you need to stay focused and haul in that once in a lifetime fish.
1.The Protein-Packed-classic: Nature Valley Protein Chewy Granola Bar
With 5 grams of Protein packed into every bar, whether you’re heading out from base camp or driving up the street, this snack is essential in every anglers’ pack. With energy crammed into every bite: this snack is easily transportable, lightweight, and most importantly TASTY. Grab a couple of these guys before a day on the water and you’re sure to beat the mid-day hunger wherever your trip takes you.
2. The Meat Lovers Heavy Hitter: Chomps Beef Jerky
Grass-Fed Chomps Beef Jerky is a step above the rest when it comes to an on the go meaty snack. Not only does Chomps provide a large variety of flavors such as jalapeno beef to Salt & Pepper Venison, but they contain no added hormones, no sugars, and are made from 100% grass fed Livestock. Chomps has it all for the hungry carnivore looking for a protein boost to keep them tossing heat cast after cast.
I mean hey…why should monster browns get all the meat?
3. The Nutty-Nature Power Pack: Power Up Trail Mix
Because what’s better than sticking to your crunchy roots? Power up Trail mix is a specially crafted mix designed to provide a late afternoon boost and kick fatigue in the butt. Made from 100% all-natural ingredients, Power up trail mix has mixes to cater to any dietary restrictions including gluten-free, and vegan options: all still made with fresh delicious ingredients. We recommend packing a baggie of these in the top of your waders and saving the rest for a job well-done treat on the way back to home base.
Be careful… once you have a handful it’s hard to stop
4. The Sweet Tooth’s Guilty Secret: Gummy Worms
Just because you’re not throwing worms to fish doesn’t mean you can’t have some for yourself! Yes, while we don’t recommend substituting a meal for a sugar-filled treat, we know there’s no way ALL those vest pockets are filled with gear. Why not indulge your guilty pleasure and pack a sugary snack to brighten up a fishless day, or even put down with some water to keep that blood sugar steady? However you choose to enjoy these tasty worms, it’ll put a smile on your face and always manage to calm down that insatiable craving that manages to strike at the worst times.
Fishing with your kids? Bring a pack of these bad boys… you can thank us later.
5. The Long Tripper’s Fatigue Fighter: GreenBelly Meal 2 Go
While this isn’t technically just a snack, it sure can be eaten like one. Greenbelly is a meal sup. for hikers, made by hikers. Containing 1/3 of your daily value of fats, proteins, and fiber; this supplement is perfect to throw next to your reel in the day pack and head off the beaten path. Whether your hiking through the rugged mountain terrain or sloshing around a salty cove, this portable meal guarantees you’ll have the power to focus on your mission—not your hunger.
6. Natures Candy Flavored Cravings Killer: Dried Fruit
Dried fruit, specifically picks like dried mango’s, dates, and apricots; are the true definition of natures candy. Being light and portable, a few bags of these are the perfect snack for a hot day in the sun. Filled with natural sugars and vitamins, these little delights can be consumed by the handful as a guilt-free pleasure, and while you can’t fit an entire apple in your fly bag, a small bundle of dried apples can be conveniently stowed next to your nymph box as a quick and easy snack to be had in-between changing flies.
Feeling really hungry? Drink water with your fruit. The fruit will absorb it and expand in your stomach to hold you over until that next meal.
7. The Twisted Trout Targeter: Mini-Pretzels
No, this snack won’t actually target the trout for you, but it WILL make sure you have the energy to do so. Pretzels are a classic, and a great source of a little bit of salt, a little bit of sugar, and a healthy dosage of carbohydrates to keep the all-day angler sharp and energized. These snacks can be kept in (almost) any crevice there is on an angler and can be readily accessed for a carb boost that will make sure the hands on your watch don’t determine how much time you have left on the water.
Need an extra boost? Pair pretzels with some portable peanut butter (try saying that 3 times fast).
The Produce and Protein Power Combo: Carrots and PB
This snack combo has been in the pockets of anglers since the beginning, and there’s a good reason for that. Carrots and Peanut Butter are a killer combo that has essential vitamins, sugars, and loads of protein sure to satisfy any adventurer running on low. The healthy mixture of some fresh veggies and a mouthful of peanut butter can’t be beaten when it comes to refueling in-between fishy holes.
Feel free to use celery as well. Heck, it’s practically designed for holding PB.
9. The Beyond Belief Energy Bean: Sports Beans
So much power in such a small, tasty snack. Power beans are jelly beans infused with carbohydrates, proteins, and tons of vitamins. These are real magic beans that taste like candy but work like an energy shot. Put a couple of these in your pocket and you’re off to the races. These little guys can be consumed with such convenience, you could pop a few in your mouth with one hand and wrangle a meaty fish with the other! (though truthfully, we wouldn’t recommend it…)
10. The Pescavore’s Pleasure: Pescavore Ahi Tuna Jerky Strips
Some people like to keep their fish, and some prefer to let them go. However, instead of making the hard choice, just carry around a few sticks of Pescavore’s delicious Ahi Tuna Jerky strips. These jerky sticks are finely crafted to be delicious, and with each stick being an impressive 12G of protein and a solid source of Omega3, how could you say no? Oh, did we mention their caught responsibly with minimal ecosystem disturbance, and without the use of FADs? With this jerky, you can enjoy a healthy snack, as well as a healthy conscious.
BONUS SNACK: Caviar
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Buy Them Here!
This article was written by Flylords Team Member Wills Donaldson.
What if I told you that, for $34.95, you could have a top of the line piece of fly fishing gear?
It isn’t a fly box. It isn’t a small tool. It certainly isn’t a rod or reel. It is something that is significantly less prestigious, but absolutely necessary. It is a good pair of good socks.
(And, to be clear, you don’t need to spend $34.95 on a pair to get socks that will literally change the way you fish. That was just the most expensive pair of wading socks I could find from major retailers.)
Why should you care about socks? How can the punchline of gift giving be worth serious consideration? With all of the engineering that goes into fly rods and the sheer volume of entomological knowledge necessary to match the hatch, why should the lowly sock demand any of your busy brain’s energy?
Comfort transcends “it feels good on my feet.” Comfort entails cushion over a long day on your feet, proper circulation, moisture management, and warmth. It doesn’t make much sense to spend hundreds of dollars on waders with ergonomic booties and nearly as much money on wading boots if you’re wearing just any socks.
Moreover, comfort means you can spend longer periods of time on your feet on the water with greater focus. Good socks, or any other piece of gear, aren’t going to keep you fishing into your later years. The cumulative effect of lots of wise choices, however, can.
Here are four things to consider when it comes to socks for under your waders:
Forget cremation, this is the way we want to be buried, as long as we can take our secret fly patterns and fishing spots with us. An Arkansas coffin maker, Glory Boats, is making caskets for the outdoorsman who wants to go out in style. They make a few different colors and can also do custom designs.
Hopefully, a drift boat model is in the works however there is no word on whether or not you can include a custom Yeti on the bow…
I love a good sales pitch. In fact, one of the things I enjoy the most at fly fishing shows is hearing people hawk their products. But after riding the circuit for a while, I start to say “no thanks” when people ask if they can show me how their gizmo will surely help me land more big fish.
When I have two kids in tow? Its a hard pass.
After a frenetic morning of visiting booths, sticker collecting, and politely asking to place the thousand dollar rod down, I was in no mood for more product demos. Primarily because patiently watching an adult conversation is the absolute last thing my six- and four-year old wanted to do. That was about the speed of most sales pitches, and rightfully so. Gear X is 50% more fishier than the last generation and 75% fishier than the previous model. Not riveting content for the kindergarten crowd.
Just as we were about to leave the show, I heard the common refrain: Can I show you how this works? I was forming the no thanks when I realized that he wasn’t talking to me. He was talking to my sons.
For those Zoolander aficionados let’s be clear from the start: I did not – I repeat, I did not – magically pull my underwear off whilst wearing pleather pants and hoist them victoriously over my head. That’s not to say haven’t tried. And while I am sorry to disappoint those hoping to garner the secret methods for said act, I did do what I consider the piscatorial equivalent. Last spring, on one of the rare nights when two hectic schedules aligned, I was able to get on the river with my good friend Mike. I clipped the hook off my fly. That’s right I clipped it off – and to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure why. Maybe it was fatigue, maybe it was the humidity, maybe it was that I lacked the near unattainable flexibility to accomplish what Hansel so aptly achieved. Maybe. In reality it was probably some distorted and deranged melding of those factors and many more. Regardless, I am glad I did it.
I know I’m not the first person to ever clip a hook off a fly, not by a long shot. In my fishing youth though, the mention of such a brash decision seemed outlandish and otherworldly. I can assure you it is neither of those things, but rather an action followed by a choice, and one I don’t regret.
There I stood, trusty Echo 3 in hand, questioning my very existence. I won’t lie, for the first few minutes I was pretty much convinced that a fish wouldn’t even look at my fly. I even began wondering if there were even fish in the river (doubt seems to be a common symptom of straying from the proverbial norm. Other rare but serious symptoms may include verbal self flagellation, soul mockery, feelings of futility and as always, in severe cases, diarrhea). Some infallible part of me stood confident that they wouldn’t appreciate my backhanded gesture of peace. I could hear them saying “All or nothing, jackass!” I couldn’t have been more wrong (wronger should be a word).
What ensued was complete chaos. Not only did the trout, brimming expectantly with June’s promised bounty, eat my fly, they crushed it– some multiple times. Some even hung on for a few seconds thrashing wildly, not because of a new lip piercing but rather out of sheer frustration and confusion. With my innate compulsion for smart assery, I began to play a game which simply consisted of seeing how many times I could get the same trout to eat my fly. The results blew me away. I found that if I let a trout eat and made no attempt to set, the same fish would chase it multiple times. They would take it and swim back down to their lie, ultimately letting go only when the currents tension made them realize “this is not food”.
What was initially a half baked attempt at some sort of zen transcendence became an all too entertaining and educational experience on the water. I believe fully in deflating the status quo. That’s not to say I don’t’ have the utmost respect for tradition, but I was ruined the first time a fish ate a fly presented in a way that would, by the all too often rigid standards, be incorrect. Further ruin ensued the first time I casted an Echo Base– seriously though that thing is amazing, but I digress.
Clipping the hook in many ways may have defeated the purpose. I subtracted a major part of fishing. But with setting, fighting and landing the fish completely removed from the equation I was able to hone in on the actual eat. Without the flurry of activity that erupts when a fish takes I was able to experiment, I was able to change the way I saw a critical piece of the puzzle. I had to slow down, I had to force myself not to set, (this took a few fish). I had to break away from the engrained rhythm of eat, set, fight, land, release and become excited and curious with just the first. And as a result I gained a new perspective. I changed the way I looked at the process and moreover I had fun. It is these little moments, these epiphanies on the water that make fly fishing so exceptional. And more often than not these moments are the result of blasting a hole through the narrow confines that sometimes accompany our sport.
At this point I could bore you with further specifics of what happened or what I learned, but to do so would actively rob you of the experiences you are going to create when you go out and explore your own version of “Going monk”. So go experiment with your own fishing. Go break some rules (not actual laws). Go do some exploring and as always, GET OUT THERE!
Article by Jared Neider
In the third week of October I took my steelhead rod to the Umatilla in hopes of catching another salmon. As steelhead was closed to retention the weekend before but salmon was still open.
I got to the river early to ensure I got the spot I like to fish from. No worries, I got to “my” spot. However, there was a boat drifting their gear right in front of me. That changed after a few casts over their lines.
Took a couple hours, and more people showed up. Another boat with 3 people, 1 person on the bank above me and a few people on the bank below me. I normally use gel or liquid scents on my bait, unfortunately I forgot them. So, to at least as an idea to get scent in the water I literally soaked my coon shrimp in my coffee. No joke! Within minutes I had my first steelhead of the day. Two more followed after that, and the funny thing, not one of the other fisherman caught a single fish! Haha! Guess those fish liked the darker flavor.
Bait used: coon shrimp 1/4 oz black jighead 1/0 hook
Virtually everyone has a good time at fly fishing and outdoor shows. What isn’t to love about an exposition hall filled to the rafters with the people, places, and things that make fly fishing what it is?
However, some people like to take the difficult path. You might have a natural proclivity for pessimism. You could desire to purposefully sully your experience. To be fair, maintaining the image of “crotchety” or “stuck up” has it’s place within the fly fishing culture. With that in mind, I’ve compiled seven surefire ways to limit your enjoyment of a fly fishing show.
I do want to issue a disclaimer: These aren’t foolproof. The positive energy of sheer angling osmosis might overpower your best grumpy efforts. Yet sticking to any or all of these guidelines will inevitably lead to the negativity, internet complaining, and general sourness many seem to strive for.
Check out my list. Then, think about how one of more of these seven ways to have a bad day at a fly fishing show appeals to you:
Don’t buy your tickets online. Who doesn’t like spending time in lines? Who doesn’t like saving a few dollars? Being a high roller is kind of part of the fly fishing ethos. So that $3 ATM surcharge for cash-only events is a badge of honor, too.
Don’t look at the schedule ahead of time. There is nothing like showing up fifteen minutes after that seminar on nymphing or Labrador brook trout has started. If only you would have known; if only you would have gotten online and looked at the posted schedule. Sure, you are really interested in nymphing and Labrador brook trout. But how were you supposed to know?
Don’t take the time to sit in on classes or seminars. The last thing you’d want to do is hear what the experts have to say. After all, what could people who are professional anglers offer? You have YouTube and the guy who always fishes the hole below you and does really well. How could presentations on tactics, locations, and fly tying get any better than that?
Don’t spend any money. I mean, those vendors want your hard-earned dollar. You’re smarter than that. You can check out their product at the show, head home, scour the internet, and find a deal from a third party for a few pennies less than you would have if you would have just purchased it right away. Smart.
Don’t ask any questions. This is a biggie. Asking anything makes you look like you aren’t an expert, a proficient fisherman, a person who has it all together. As anglers, we’re supposed to be well-versed in every imaginable scenario and situation. You’d better keep that image, lest anyone think you want to catch more fish than you already do.
Don’t think about the coming season as you walk the aisles. Think about the crowds, think about the flat-brims and tattoos, think about the temperature being a little too warm or cool, think about how things are slightly different than last year. Whatever you do, don’t give serious thought to the one piece of gear or guided trip or lodge stay that would help make this coming season better for you.
Don’t be considerate while casting. Casting the newest rods is a lot of fun. The only thing more fun is showing all the envious onlookers how you can unload 80+ feet of line (with some pretty impressive tailing loops and sonic-boom like snapping). If anyone questions you, especially the volunteer staff, make sure they notice your annoyance.
In all seriousness, I’ve seen and heard people complain after neglecting precisely what I’ve mentioned above. Given I don’t know the details of every story. However, a little planning and a little time getting in the right mindset can go a long way. It helps with the whole general sourness thing, too.