This entry comes to us from SRS member Dan Helm.
How many of us have been in this situation? It’s late afternoon and the air is starting to cool. The wind has died down and the sun is slowly sinking in the western sky. You’ve got the stream to yourself – except for one guy who is in the very spot that you covet. Oh well, there’s got to be fish down here, too. You take a few minutes to assess the situation. No surface activity. What’s this! The guy that is in your spot just hooked a nice fish. You watch out of the corner of your eye as he releases the fish. Now, where was I? Before you can gather your thoughts and decide on a fly and the proper presentation he’s hooked another! No sense in being coy any longer. You turn and watch as he releases the fish. By this time, you have made multiple casts with nothing to show for your effort, but you keep casting and watching as the intruder catches and releases still another fish! This time you home in on exactly what he is doing. No strike indicator so he’s not nymphing. There it is! He’s making short casts and stripping the “fly” across the current. “Streamer,” you say to yourself. That’s it! Now you rummage through all of the fly boxes you’ve stuffed in your vest only to find that the one box that you want is probably at home – three hours away! While you do the slow burn and beat yourself up for having forgotten that one box, you notice that suddenly the mystery fisherman is leaving. What great luck! There’s still enough time to move in to this “honey hole” and try to duplicate what he did. You move into position and go through the one small box of streamers that you find in your vest. You tie on a Woolly Bugger. Ah, good choice. After numerous casts you have yet to have one strike. Hurriedly you change flies again and again. What am I doing wrong? Then if finally comes together. There it is in the bottom of the box. Old reliable! A heavily weighted Mickey Finn. You tie the best knot that you know and you make a cast. Suddenly there is that long awaited strike. Good fish! Heavy fish! After several minutes you carefully unhook and release a nice 16” German Brown. Several casts later there is another solid strike and another heavy brown trout. You smile to yourself. You’ve finally figured out what you were doing wrong and what it takes to catch fish at least for this moment in time. Tomorrow could be entirely different.