We all know anglers who fish the same waters religiously and consistently catch big fish. They use the same gear and baits each year and it seems like they just can’t lose. Those who spend most of their time fishing the same body of water may not feel the need to experiment with different styles and baits. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? But if you are anything like me, and you fish a variety of locales that require different approaches throughout the season, the time will come when you begin looking for other, more efficient ways to present your bait or lure.
I see it all too often on the rivers I fish. Anglers become locked in this mindset that they’re a fly angler or a float angler, and scoff at the idea of doing anything different. I see anglers from both of these groups struggle to fish water that would clearly benefit from a different technique or set-up. Yet they will fish all day and blame their lack of success on the fish or conditions. Deep down, these anglers know there are better ways to target these fish but for some reason, they feel like a traitor, considering other options. I get it.
At one time, I was one of those hard-headed fly anglers who would fish prime float fishing water all day, only to end the day knowing that if I was willing to branch out a bit and fish a different set-up, I’d easily would’ve banked more fish.
Stubbornness means fewer fish
I remember many instances in which my stubbornness got in the way. Days spent on the river with friends, me with a fly rod in hand, and float set-ups in theirs. The conditions were clearly favouring float fishing, but I was stuck thinking that if I was a strong enough fly angler, I could make it work. In some instances, that may be possible, but as I should have expected, my friends put on a clinic. I was left standing with few fish to show.
The time came when I had to be honest with myself, and admit that despite my best efforts, the tool I was using was just not suited for the task. Shortly after, I went out and I picked up a float set-up. While it has limitations, like any other, combining it with my fly rod has pretty much doubled the water I can effectively fish when out targeting steelhead.
This goes for any species, whether it be bass, walleye, trout, or salmon. There are always options, and exploring the different ones available will only make you a stronger angler. Don’t get sucked into the mindset that one style of fishing is superior to another. They all have their time and place.
Brodie Kenna is the creator of the outdoors and fishing blog NWO Outdoors, a community and conservation-focused blog rooted on the north shore of Lake Superior. You can find more of his work on his website or on his Instagram page at @nwo.outdoors.