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Time on the River


I’ve been thinking about time lately.  How much we have. How we spend it.  How an investment in time pays off. And since this is a blog for a fly fishing shop, how does time come into play?


When you ask a seasoned angler about how to improve, you’ll hear the same comment over and over:  time on the water.  Want to improve your streamer game?  Put in time fishing streamers.  Want to improve your nymphing? Put in time on the water (and leave your dry fly flybox in the truck). Having trouble with your hook set?  Get out on the water and hook up some fish.

sunrise on the dream stream
Sunrise in South Park

On the way back from Deckers with Steve Gossage, I was telling him about the new fly pattern I inadvertently created:  The Unraveling Mole Fly.  Good for one cast.  I asked him for suggestions on improving my fly tying.  Lo and behold, the same answer:  time at the vise.


A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to fish for a few minutes with Angler’s Covey guide, Earl Hecker.  He was coaching me through some approaches to the roll cast that I hadn’t tried before. It was all about technique. His main goal was to get me to relax, to let the rod do the work.


“You overthink it,”  he said, standing to my side and coaching me through my casting motion to properly load tension into the line.


Part of my learning curve is to move from the stage of “over thinking it” to “letting it happen.”  And that movement develops with time devoted to the new learning.  I have to move from being conscious of my actions to relying on the muscle memory of good technique. 


Think about learning to drive a clutch.  It didn’t come automatically (no pun intended); we moved from stalling the engine and herky-jerky starts at the green light, to smooth shifting almost unconsciously done.  And it didn’t happen over night or without practice.


Without saying it, Earl’s message was the same.  If I want to improve my roll cast, I need to practice my roll cast.  Of course, to practice a roll cast, I need to put in the time. I can practice the roll cast in the backyard or at the park, of course, and at the river.  I’ve practiced it at the Catamount Reservoir, too. 

Sunset in South Park

The other part of the learning curve is getting effective feedback from others.  And although I did not start this blog with the intent of plugging our classes, I am going to end it with a shout out to our guides who lead these classes. 


So, while I’m at it, check out our Calendar for our upcoming classes.


Time on the Water + Effective Coaching = Improved Fishing.


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