It starts like any other day. You are excited to be fishing, anticipating the tug of a fish on some water you have successfully fished hundreds of times. It happens early…something is a little off. Nothing major, but maybe you snag on the first cast resulting in the loss of gear. Maybe the water conditions are not quite what was expected. Maybe some dude comes in and gives you a little unwanted company. Whatever happens it seems like on the worst day something bumps us a little off rhythm early in the morning. On this morning the annoyance seems to linger. You just can’t seem to focus completely on the water. Your drift probably takes the brunt of your distraction and for whatever reason the “worst day ever” sets into full swing. The flies that always work yield nothing. The fish you know are in the pockets (because you can see them) mock your offerings. You struggle to even move a fish. You adjust by fixing the rig, adjusting the weight and methodically working through you fly box. Nothing. You take a break, refocus, drink a river soda, grab a snack and try to realign your mind to the water. A hookup usually ensues, but a lost battle seals your fate. You rally with a new surge of adrenaline running through your blood but the fish continue to mock you as if they had drawn straws to see who would take the hook and break you off to ensure your torment. You can almost feel it…the empty realization that today is going to offer you nothing but frustration. Like some kind of self-fulfilling prophesy you go all day with nothing but frustration, confusion even bewilderment. This day is the worst day you could imagine on the water. You didn’t just get skunked….you got skunked when you thought a skunking would be impossible. There is no reasoning to it. No explanation. It doesn’t make sense.
Maybe you haven’t had a day like this yet but everyone I know that has fished more than 50 days a year has had one. I have watched other guides who are much better fisherman than myself experience it. We have fished same set ups, but while I seem to have a normal day my fishing buddy struggles to even connect. It’s frustrating to watch and it’s even worse to experience. I have been there. The best advice to get past a day like this is extremely simple, though I wrestle to really own it when ever the worst day shows it’s ugly head on my shoulders. Acknowledge it for what it is: a bad day. Almost all of your days on the water will be much better. Forget it happened and move on. Maybe it was your drift, maybe it was your ambiance or maybe you were sending out some weird vibes. Who knows. Who cares. Move on. The next big fish is a cast away. You are better than your worst day makes you feel.