"Good Fishing"

(I wrote this on an internet bulletin board and decided to add it to the site.)

I tend to have a saying "the fishing was good, I sucked" and my "rating" of fishing has changed drastically over the years and now has much more to do with challenge and enjoyment than actual fish. I don't mean the simple evolution from wanting to catch fish, to catching numbers, to catching large fish. I guess I tend to rate fishing based on my experiences, but also on the characteristics and expectations of the lake.

I had 3 different experiences last year which if you had asked me the day after, I would have said the fishing was great, simply because I had a great time. Qualitively (is that a word?) great but perhaps not quantitatively great in terms of numbers or size.

The first on a Golden/Lahontan lake that we all know. I caught six fish in quick succession, all between 16 and 19 inches by sight fishing with a nymph. I didn't catch a single fish after than and hadn't caught any fish before that. Pretty much fished all day.

The second, spent the morning casting unsuccessfully to 20 inch plus fish, in inches of water. Then I caught an 18 inch fish, blind, with a dry fly, while standing on the bank, 20 feet from the water. Followed that up catching another 18 inch fish sitting on the edge of the bank, casting just the leader as the fish approached me. Then spent the rest of the day catching large numbers of fish in 10 to 14 inch range.

The third, at a well known glacial lake, I fished in the morning and caught less than handful of 5 to 6 inch fish. Then spent the afternoon inducing rises from large numbers of fish in the 10 to 16 (maybe 18? dreaming?) inch range. Just a guess because I didn't catch a single one and spent the day missing fish of a size I never new existed in the lake. Probably landed 4 fish all day.

How would you rate those? I had a great time and would call the fishing great as well. Not because in some instances I caught large fish or in others numbers of fish, or not even because I was sight casting each and every time. I think, I think it was great because I learned something each and every time.

At the first lake, I suspect the afternoon scud migration caused the feeding frenzy. Never knowingly experienced it before nor did I realize that particular fly might be taken for a scud.

At the second, it was the discovery that a huge fly, that I always carry and never use, would work on this particular piece of water when the smaller flies failed and the expectation of returning to the lake, with the larger fly to fish to those 20 + inch fish with the fins sticking out of the water.

At the last, it was the discovery of larger fish than I realized existed in the lake, that they were holding in a totally different area of the lake than you hear about and that I might be able come back and catch these fish.

I know that if someone with the proper skill went back, they would have a great time, if they were into numbers and figured out the lakes sooner than me, they would get their numbers. If they were into size, they would get size.

The fishing was great! I just sucked but I guess I had a great time because of the learning and anticipation of what might come. To me, that makes great fishing.

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