How many times have you stood beside someone on the water and out fished them using the same fly. You both are doing the same thing, like a mirror image of one another but one person is catching all the fish and the other isn’t even getting a bite. Is it the skill of one angler over the other? It might be but what happens when you are both very good fishermen?
I have had this happen many time through out my fishing life. I remember fishing Wardens pool with my dad close to 20 years ago. We are standing side by side. I am running a black stone nymph and a copper John dropper. I am consistently hooking up and my dad wasn’t so I rig my dad up with the exact same set up as me. I continue to catch brook trout and he continues to say he keeps hooking bottom. I tell him to set on everything and his odds will increase. I even switched spots and continue to hook up. Was my skill set higher than his? Not really. I just think I was confident in the flies and he wasn’t .
A more recent trip was last year when my son and I fished a day with a good friend and very good fisherman, Dan and his buddy Nathanael. We got up early and were on the river early. As the sun rose we picked our spots in the run in which we felt we would hook up. As soon as it was legal fishing time, Jax and I were into fish but nothing for Nathanal or Dan. We all switched spots and I gave them the flies Jax and I were fishing. We continued to hook fish but the two of them never hooked up. Again, I think because they really didn’t have confidence in the flies or location that played a huge factor in not hooking up. Dan is a very good fisherman and Nathanael has gotten very good over the years so I was very shocked that they were not hooking up. They were in the right place with the right fly but still nothing. So they packed up and headed to a spot that Dan had confidence in and the report I got was they hooked and landed some fish, on flies that they had confidence in.
I also think thats is why clients hook into fish with a guide. We as guides have clients of all skill levels but I believe most guide are putting their clients on fish and not getting skunked. How can that be? Fishing is not guaranteed, it’s luck, knowledge and skill set but people are hooking and landing fish. I believe that when a person finds a guide and they have a connection it builds a confidence in the guides knowledge which then gives the client the confidence to catch fish in a situation they have most likely never been in.
Yes, catching fish is part skill and part knowledge but if I am not confident in a fly, even though I know people catch fish on it everywhere, I will not try it long. I will try it but I don’t usually long enough to give it an honest chance. So not time you are on the water fishing and not catching fish maybe its because you are just not confidence in what you are fishing. Switch it up until you are confident in what you are doing and what you are fishing.