Fishing Partners

They always say that it is easier to find a good wife than a good business partner, I am not sure the same doesn’t apply to a fishing partner for that matter. There is something about having a fishing buddy whose approach is similar to one’s own that makes it “work” compared to fishing alone or with others.

On a river the pace is probably the most important, I rather like to stick on a feeding fish until I either spook the living daylights out of the thing or catch it. That can mean fly changes, leader changes, waiting things out, repositioning and generally fiddling about for quite some time. Partners who deal well with that appreciate the same courtesy when they are “on” fish but it takes a certain outlook to achieve.

The rabbits, the ones who want to run upstream, slamming down a fly in likely looking holding water as they flit past don’t take well to this kind of perseverance, they grow impatient and when they start to leapfrog you or indeed cast over your shoulder then you know that perhaps their outlook isn’t quite the same as yours..

Not only that but things change as time passes, I rarely finish a beat these days whereas we used to fish a lot more water in a day, perhaps the fishing is tougher or perhaps we are just getting old and slow. I like to think that we are becoming more patient and resourceful but of course that is a biased view, I am not going to admit to anyone, never mind myself, that I could have slowed down.

One perhaps requires different attributes in a good boat partner but the same considerations hold sway, you need someone of similar ilk. It isn’t so much about who can row the best or even whether they are likely to club you about the head with a wayward cast now and then. It is more about having the confidence that they are fishing as well as you are.

For example when I fish with my regular boat partner we always start off with different lines, and stay that way unless one of us starts to club the fish. Doing this you get to cover more water at different depths and are then more likely to find the fish, or at least that is the theory.

I recently went fishing on my own on a good sized lake where we have had considerable success most of the time despite the fact that we might have frequently had to work hard to find the fish to start with. Rowing out in the boat alone was a rather strange experience, not unlike the early days of being divorced. One can revel in the space, the comfort and the fact that you can put stuff anywhere you darned well please but after a while you sort of start to miss the company.

Without a partner you can’t check the depths as well and can only fish one line at a time so you run a greater risk of passing over a pod of fish without knowing. In boat fishing two heads and indeed two lines in the water, are better than one.

The second day I fished with a new boat partner, now I am not in anyway suggesting that this person was at all inadequate in the piscatorial arts, just that as a new quantity I never quite put the same amount of faith in his fishing as I might with my regular partner’s fishing. I was never quite sure if he was covering the water the same way as we would normally or that if he was casting shorter than I was whether he was really fishing at a different depth despite the variation of lines.

You see to my mind when boat fishing , and particularly during the phase of trying to find some fish the onset of doubt is always just outside the metaphorical door. The onset of doubt is the kiss of death to boat fishing. If you aren’t careful at some point doubt creeps in and you find yourself either helplessly going through the motions with little or no expectation of result or you start to switch lines, flies and locations in some mad and hopeless frenzy. It reminds me of my youth, out surfing alone on a perfect break, you are fine so long as you don’t start to think of sharks, once you do you have a maximum of ten more minutes in the water. The mind has tremendous power and if you start to think that you might not catch fish you probably won’t.

So if you have a good fishing partner look after them, they are really gold dust when you get right down to it, they may simply make the trip more enjoyable but if they are really good, they will probably improve your catch rate too.

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2 Responses to “Fishing Partners”

  1. sharland East Says:

    Thank you Tim. This all makes such sense. Well written and food for thought.

    I do hope that you write another book soon – must show you a dvd of FF with casting and video clips that has just been given to me. Most interesting.

  2. Peter Mamacos Says:

    Tim,
    Slowing down on the river reminds me of the Texan being shown Bruce’s block of land and says: “That’s small. I thought you Aussies had big farms. On my ranch I can get on my horse and ride all day and still be on my own land”. To which Bruce replies “Yea, I had an old horse like once”.
    You can take an old horse to water but you can’t make him fish all of it.

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