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Chasing the Challenge

I’ll admit it. I sometimes get frustrated fishing. Sure, I can enjoy the beauty around me: the river, the Colorado blue sky, the sounds in the trees behind me, and that great smell of pine and soil in the early morning. And I know (and have even written on our blog) that it is more than just the fish. There are no bad dayson the water. But face it. I didn’t come out for just a nice hike along the river. I wanted to catch fish.

I had to change my frustration into something else. Feeling frustrated as the day progresses is not enjoyable at all, and it will turn a good day into a bad one.  A couple of outings ago, fishing a hole at Deckers, the “something else” came to me. It has changed my mental approach to fishing  — hopefully for good.

I had success sight-fishing this hole before. I knew where fish suspended themselves in the feeding column, and where others hid in the slope of rocks across the channel from me.  I was fishing to this one rainbow for several casts and could not get him to move. It was both fun and frustrating at the same time. Cast after cast, my nymph rig passed by the fish without any interest.

And then my changed mental attitude came to me: when we go to the river, we are chasing the challenge. We may feel the challenge more when we venture to new water, or we may feel it when we try a new approach like czech nymphing, or fish more technical waters like Cheesman Canyon or, fish pressured waters like the Taylor. In fact, most of the time we thrive on those new challenges each time we take them on.

Eric and Greg at Taylor
Greg talks strategy with his guide, Eric, on how to get a good drift to the Rainbow between those downed trees.

I think we actually face the challenge each time we go out. Fishing that familiar hole at Deckers gave me some false expectations that it would be a productive day with easy catches.  But it’s always a new challenge each day out. It may be a low-level challenge, like skiing a green when you feel like you are an accomplished skier, but a challenge still exists when every time we venture out.

I initially started to think that this was simple problem-solution. Problem: Fish aren’t taking what I’m offering. Solution:  make some changes to pattern, depth, weight, and/or drift. And all of that is still true. But I didn’t want to think of finicky fish as a problem. They are just being fish, doing fish things, looking out for their own survival.

It is a challenge to be met.

The last few times out, I have held that new perspective in my mind. What challenge exists in this fishing opportunity, and how will I rise to rise to the challenge?

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