Posts Tagged ‘Jake Amaler’

Getting your Mojo Back.

February 9, 2013


An interesting little hypothesis:

It is an annoyingly common complaint I suppose, you set about doing something that you love for a living and then find that you don’t actually get to do too much of it as a result. Fly fishing guiding is no doubt one of those enterprises which on the surface provides the opportunity to immerse oneself in a passion and then at the end of the day turns out that you don’t have the time to enjoy it as much as perhaps you should.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I greatly enjoy teaching and guiding, I have had the opportunity of late to guide a good many novice anglers and to see the surprise and joy of catching their first fish on fly is worth any amount of struggle.


A young Jake Amaler, contemplates the complexities of the next run.

Plus I have a lovely office, surrounded by a wallpaper of gloriously majestic mountains, carpeted with cool clear mountain water and sporting a ceiling of bright blue sky in which the occasional fish eagle or perhaps a giant king fisher will show itself. It’s just that when the working week is over it is tricky to motivate oneself for the long drive back to the streams to enjoy them for one’s own personal pleasure. Plus at that point the clients have generally used up a heap of flies and I need to set at the vice in preparation once more, I just rarely seem to actually get to go fishing for my own pleasure for an entire day.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother day at the office  

As a result many of my very few casts over fish are hurried and pressurised once offs in demonstration to a client. I generally don’t fish when I guide so the opportunities are few and far between, generally at tricky fish which the clients offer up to me when they are tired, or perhaps simply recognise the difficulty is beyond them and figure they will “give the guide a shot”.


Luke Criticos puts the benefits of some on stream coaching to good effect.

All of that means that I am nowhere near as practised as I once was and never really “get into the groove” as it were. On top of that the clients are generally outfitted with slightly shorter leaders than I would use and larger flies because they struggle to see the tiny ones. Over time one gets used to this set up and then when I cast a fly with my own gear it lands further away than I expect, I have trouble picking up the tiny morsel in the current and being out of practise miss the strike. Or at least that is what I thought was happening.


Visiting Aussie angler with his first ever trout on fly.

So it turns out that recently I was coaching a lady angler on the rivers, it was a voluntary thing and as such I was unlimited by the commercial constraints of not fishing and shared the time on the water. With that I had the chance to hone my skills a little, make more casts than usual and get used to my own set up, the longer finer leader and the smaller flies and would you believe I didn’t miss a fish.


Have I got my Mojo Back?

I would love to imagine that I have “got my mojo back”, but I don’t think that is actually the whole picture. It seems to me that the smaller and better presented flies illicit a far less circumspect view from the trout. They take the patterns with more confidence, slower and more deliberately. The minute hooks are not as easily detected by the fish in a mouthful of water and as a result they hang on a tad longer. All of that makes it easier to time the strike correctly and allow the small hook to gain a significant purchase.

This is how I always used to fish, it’s just that over time, with so many novice anglers or at least less proficient ones I had got into the habit of fishing a little less finely and as a result was missing fish left right and centre. Fishing “properly” is more tricky, troublesome at times but it does work, I suppose that’s the point.  Back in the groove, with long fine tippets, measured presentations and smaller flies the game has changed back to the way it was.

GuideFlies 001

I prefer small sparse parachute patterns for much of my fishing.

I suspect that there may be a good many anglers out there who experience the same thing, perhaps for different reasons. But if you have become used to the larger flies, the shorter leaders and the generally “easy” way of fishing beware. The process can be deceiving, it still looks as though you are being successful, the fish will frequently rise to the large patterns, success seems but a hair’s breadth away but at the end of the day you find that you missed a lot more than you actually hooked. Changing down to smaller patterns, pushing the limits of your leader, in both length and diameter and settling into a focused rhythm might just see your success rates climb again, it has proven to be a valuable lesson. Perhaps now I really do need to find the time to get out there on the water again for my own pleasure.