“Be patient and calm, for no one can catch a fish in anger.” –Herbert Hoover
I’m not a fan of the Hoover Dam, or dams in general for that matter, but I do love that quote from President Hoover. There are days that nothing goes right on the stream making it very difficult to stay calm. Maybe it’s the relentless black flies swarming your head, the unplanned “swim” you just took or the growing fish differential between you and your fishing buddy. It can be easy to get frustrated and let your temper get the best of you. To amplify things, fly fishing has a way of bringing your faults to the surface. It is downright unforgiving at times. I’m not going to mention any names, but we used to have video footage of a certain someone during one of these meltdowns (I wonder how that “disappeared”). It has happened to all of us at one point or another, but I can assure you anger has no place on the water.
The right mindset is crucial to your success as a fly fisherman. I know what kind of day I’m going to have before I even slip into my waders. The wrong mindset means more mistakes that quickly compound on top of one another until you are better off breaking down your rod and heading home. We can’t always control what’s going on around us, but we can control how we walk through the woods toward the river. Leave your problems at the car, and let fly fishing do its thing.
So you have the right mindset, but at times there are situations out of your control that can transform your calm patient demeanor into that of a childish temper tantrum. It could be the kids throwing rocks into your favorite hole, a “worm dunker” fishing in the delayed harvest section, someone dragging a stringer of fish out of a catch and release river or any number of other unthinkable things. I admit that this has ruined a day or two of mine. Do your best to take a deep breath, then educate those people as calmly as possible. Be mentally prepared for ignorant responses and do your best to not let it ruin your day.
When you have the right mindset, and can avoid those other sticky situations you will have a successful day whether you are catching fish or not. However, if you can remain patient and calm I can assure you that the likelihood of landing fish will increase. When all else fails, take a seat on the river bank and wash down some “river sodas”.