Sunday Classic / Angler Attitude Can Increase Success During Tough Fishing Conditions

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Louis put the proof in the putting with this nice rainbow he landed during a slow afternoon float. Photo By: Louis Cahill

By Kent Klewein

I’m grateful to have a full-time fishing partner that isn’t afraid to step it up when the going gets tough.

Louis Cahill is the epitome of this, he’s an angler that’s willing to do whatever’s necessary to put fish in the net, even when catching fish seems completely hopeless. In fact, he seems to shine when fishing conditions are really tough, and oddly as it may sound, sometimes I think he actually prefers bleak fishing conditions for the challenge and reward. It doesn’t matter if everyone on the river is getting their butts handed to them, Louis won’t except defeat until he’s given it everything he’s got. And here’s the real kicker, unlike many of us, I rarely have to pump Louis up for him to give me his absolute best on the water. All I have to do is get a serious look on my face, start cranking on the oars, and mention the words, “Let’s do this”. Nine times out of ten, he charges out the gates, like a horse at the Kentucky Derby, and ends up getting the job done by landing multiple big fish.

I think Louis has figured out how important angler attitude (staying positive, confident, grounded) is for catching fish, and many of us, including myself, need to take note. Louis openly acknowledges trout can be super technical and extremely difficult to catch at times, but he maintains a firm stance that trout don’t have a higher intelligence than us, and they can’t consciously pick and choose who they outsmart. This fishing attitude is why Louis can travel all over the world fly fishing uncharted waters and find success, and that’s why I eagerly follow his lead where ever he goes. The man always has a plan b, c, and d, if plan a fails to produce.

When fishing conditions are grim and we, as anglers, begin doubting our ability to catch fish, we often begin fishing below our skill level. Unaware, we begin straying away from our angler reasoning and fishng instincts, and in turn, we make bad fishing decisions on the water. We’ll find ourselves sticking with a dry dropper rig, because we’re seeing an occasional riser along the bank even though we’re getting no takes. We’ll continue fishing a specific fly pattern because it produced for us earlier in the day even though its been hours since we caught our last fish. Plain and simple, we stop thinking outside the box as anglers, and we find ourselves making up excuses for not changing our fishing tactics.

If you’ve been pounding the banks with no success on the river, why not try fishing the channel out in the middle of the river for a while. Try changing the depth or water column your presenting your flies in. Forget about the fly pattern the guy behind the counter at the fly shop recommended. Tie on your go-to pattern, the one you always seem to catch fish with on your home waters, you know, the one you have absolute confidence in. The key in tough fishing conditions is to keep a good attitude and continue changing it up (your fishing tactics) as many times as it takes until you find success. Next time you’re on the water and fishing seems hopeless, dig deep inside you like Louis does, and commit yourself to giving it your best. Think outside the box and most importantly, keep an attitude on the water that will bring you positive results. I think you’ll find your fly fishing experience more enjoyable and successful.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / Angler Attitude Can Increase Success During Tough Fishing Conditions

  1. Well said, Kent. I have always known that confidence in a fly pattern is a key to getting the most from a trip to the water. It is hard to say what empirical logic supports such a tenuous proposition, but I will offer a parallel from my former profession of trial lawyer. I absolutely needed to believe in the position taken on behalf of a client in front of a judge or jury in order to be effectively persuasive. I would stick to facts I knew or at least believed myself to be true in developing my theory of the case. When I stood in front of the jury, I wanted to make sure I believed in everything I said. It served me and my clients well in my legal career. In fishing, I will not waste my time on the water with a fly I do not believe in. That works for me too.

  2. Having a positive attitude will pay you great dividends in more ways that one. Not only will it help you to catch more trout you will enjoy doing it! Enjoy it, your fishing remember?! When guiding clients it is a must for both of you to have success on many levels of the trip experience. When I get frustrated, I think of the people who are physically not able too be standing in the river and my attitude gets checked back to being positive an thankful! Good post and God bless

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