2 Guys, 1 Trout

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

I always enjoy fly-fishing more when it’s a team sport.

I think that’s why I enjoy saltwater fly fishing so much. The interaction between guide and angler creates something special. A shared accomplishment and a shared reward. Not unlike some of my best days of trout fishing, when a buddy and I might have figured out a tough fish and worked together to catch him.

When fishing small water, it’s customary for me and my friends to take turns fishing. It’s more effective than having a foot race to the honey hole and a lot more fun. Some days it’s more about the conversation than the fish, and thats fine. Fishing is almost like therapy and fishing friends are often therapist or priests hearing confession.

Some days, and for some fish, it’s about combining your wits to out fox an educated fish. Those are the fish I enjoy the most, whether the rod is in my hands or my buddy’s. I think it ties into the reason I enjoy fishing in the first place. The connection it gives me to my human nature. Practicing the skills that put food on the table for millennia and made our species what it is. I firmly believe that team work is chief among those skills.

Justin and I did this not too long ago.

I was the one taking up position in the bushes where I could spy on our target, a big educated brown in shallow water. Justin would have to make a long, pin-point cast upstream to avoid spooking the fish. The fish was shifting position constantly and from his position Justin couldn’t see him. It was up to me to guide his cast.

It was a tough setup. Even putting the fly near the fish without landing it in a tree was a challenge. Several times I had Justin drop his fly behind him when the fish moved suddenly. It was a tense and exciting fifteen minutes. From my vantage point I could see how the fish reacted to the fly and call for a change or different presentation.

This approach has worked for me many times. I won’t lie to you, it didn’t work on this fish, but that’s what keeps it fun. It did get me thinking though about how much I enjoy collaborating with fellow anglers rather than competing with them. When you find yourself in a similar situation, try the 2 guys, 1 trout approach. See if it works for you.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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11 thoughts on “2 Guys, 1 Trout

  1. Done this before. Fun for both. Liken it to guiding in New Zealand. The observer also learns a lot about trout behavior by seeing things you can’t see from a lower angle.

  2. Have done this on tailwaters with very hatch specific fish and multiple bugs on the water. A buddy and I will take turns watching a steady riser react to the offerings and tying on different patterns and swapping rods while we take turns with different presentations. It speeds up the process of finding what the fish are dialed into, especially when their taking flies smaller than size 20.

  3. I’ve been fly fishing since I was in 6th grade and one of the best days I ever had fishing was with two friends who took me out a couple years ago and taught me to tight line nymph. We took just one rod between the three of us and took turns pointing out the hot spots, casting and pulling multiple fish out of each hole, netting each other’s fish, and all the time razzing each other about the size of each other’s fish or how long it was taking them to bring the fish in, etc. Very social, and very, very, fun. Of course netting close to 100 trout between us that day helped too!

  4. Sounds like cheating to me. TWO adult humans trying to outwit one 16+ inch fish with the brain the size of a pea. Not a fair fight any way you parse it.

    • Hey, don’t rub it in how lucky these guys got.

      Salmo Trutta: Just an opposable thumb away from ruling the world.

  5. The thing I like best about this post is the fact that working as a team is very rewarding and enjoyable. I love that in this scenario, you have to slow down and think about every step of the process to achieve success. Catching one or two fish like this during the day can be much more memorable than catching twenty+ covering lots of water.

    You learn so much about the current conditions and fish behavior when you have two sets of eyes and target a tough trout. I miss days like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Kent Klewein

    • I agree with Kent. I have a fishing buddy that I have spent 26 years fishing with, and there are numerous times when we have tagged up to catch a tough fish. We stalked a fish on a well known brown trout creek, spent 15 minutes getting into position, first cast, nailed him, and it turned out to be. 5” Brooke!! Man, we laughed hard. That’s the memories I will never forget. At the end of our fishing careers, that what we will have left.

  6. Hmmm. Unlike golf or bass boat fishers, fly fishing for me is an individual, quiet sport, where time alone is valued. It seems you always have to compromise something (time you leave for the stream, time to return, which area to fish, “who’s up”, etc.) when you fish with others. Most of the time, fishing by yourself, is what fly fishing is about.

  7. Norman I think your comment says more about you than about fly fishing. I am gregarious by nature and much prefer to fish with someone and enjoy it together.

  8. Yes, fishing with a friend is fine. Fishing alone can be dangerous according the river’s place. Fishing with a friend is a nice moment for exchange. With only one rod, we can also, without competition, try many ways for grabe a fish : casts, flies…
    And enjoy together the landscape.
    It will be also nice to,remember, several years after, this moment.
    G. Baudin

  9. This is the very best way to fish, both of you learn and make each of you a much better angler. It is almost like having a good guide with you. My fishing partner passed away late last year and it’s just not the same, most of the guys I know just want to run to a spot then come back and lie like hell about how many they caught!

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