2014 Angling Resolutions

It’s the start of a brand new angling year, just the right time to make a few commitments to upping your game.  We polled a few experts in everything from musky fishing to narrative writing to see what they think a good 2014 angler’s resolution should look like.  Here’s what they had to say.

Kelly Galloup on fishing streamers: “Hunt the fly, don’t hope the fly. Learn to make your fly twitch and quiver. Learn to change your pace and still be in complete contact with your fly. Take ten minutes from your fishing time (preferably at the beginning of the day) where you are not trying to catch a fish and learn to manipulate your fly and keep good line control. Too many anglers just throw and hope, thinking a fish is going to find and eat a fly just because it’s big and it’s there. Wrong.”

Tom Lynch on mousing at night: “Stop trying to fish a daylight program to night-time fish; they aren’t under wood or deep in the pools. They are out and about. Use the force and believe that the fish is under each and every cast, as he likely is. Faith catches more in the dark than any fly in the box. If you wake it, he will come!”

Chris Willen on musky hunting: “Fish every cast, even casts that fall short. And never, ever just rip your fly out of the water. When you’re hunting muskies you’re throwing all day for one or two follows. That time when you yank that fly out of the water without figure 8-ting might be the time a big fish is following. And then you’re back to square one.”

Erin Block on writing about your experience: “Keep a small journal (carried at all times), which can be as simple as a jotted-down list of conditions and flies, to thoughts and metaphor. There’s no better way to learn a body of water (and be able to apply that knowledge across time and place) than these sorts of observations, rather than the creative liberty taken by memory or forgetfulness.”

Jeff Hubbard on swinging flies: “Fish the fly. Swinging flies isn’t all about casting and letting the current take it. Pay attention and watch what your line is doing in the current. Over time you will even find that different flies work better in different types of water.”

Jay Zimmerman on nymphing: “Remove all strike indicators from your pack and force yourself to nymph without them for an entire season. You may be surprised how fast you can run without crutches.”

Mat Wagner on saving a tough day: “When things get tough, move your fly. Bugs are not dead, they are living, moving things. Sometimes fussy fish in clear slow water will respond more to movement than size, silhouette, or color. After a few unsuccessful dead drifts, sometimes twitching the fly can save the day.”

April Vokey on the importance of fishing through mishaps: “Simple as it is, fish out even the worst of your casts. You never know… with the hydraulics and current, it may be exactly the presentation the fish was looking for!”

Damian Wilmot on the importance of position in dry-fly fishing: “In my 25 years of guiding, the most common flaw I see anglers make is trying to cast too far. There are times when a cast of 50 or 60 feet is necessary, but these longer casts bring with them a whole array of problems: presentation, accuracy and line control to name a few. If you really want to step up your success with dry flies, put yourself in a position to make short, accurate casts and you will see your success rate increase.”

Greg Senyo on fly tying: “Tie more and tie often. Tie for yourself and tie what you want—not what you’re told. Confidence is the key to every good fly pattern.”

Alex Lafkas on targeting big browns: “There are two things I’d advise. The first is to practice and learn to cast better. 30 feet of fly line to the bank will not catch big fish unless it’s high water.  The second is to learn new water. Fish new sections of river and spend plenty of time in there.”

Brian Kozminski on spot selection: “Don’t only target the fish across the river. Target the fish you don’t see that are right in front of you.”

Cameron Scott on making the most of the experience: “PB & Js, car camping, never skimping on the gas to get there.”