The last article on "Math of Probability" was written to point out that anglers,
including myself, usually arrive at conclusions on things that have to do with
fishing far too quickly. This is especially true when it comes to selecting flies and
locations to fish.
When it is easy to catch trout, meaning the conditions are mostly all in our favor,
we can arrive at a conclusion about something much easier than we can when
conditions are making it tough. We will try a new fly for an hour or less and
decide it is either great or not any good. We will fish a particular stream for thirty
minutes and decide that we need to move to another one. It is just a fact that
anglers of all types and descriptions are very quick to pass judgement on
anything they do or anything they try. This can be a mistake, especially when
conditions are tough and it isn't easy to catch trout. It is caused by the lack of
You have heard before that you should use a fly that you have confidence in.
That line holds a lot of truth. You cannot do well fishing any method; using any
technique; or any fly if you don't have confidence in what you are doing.
If you are confident in a particular method of fishing, for example, you tend to
stick with it a long time even when the results are poor. Usually when you do,
things will turn around for you and you will begin to score.
One of the first things I learned fishing the professional bass circuit (BASS)
years ago was that you should narrow your options down for the tournament. I
was never too good at doing that but those that did were the ones that won most
of the money. It was fine to use every lure in your tackle boxes and every
method of fishing there were during the three days of practice; but, when it came
to fishing the tournament for the final three days, you better have your options
narrowed down to only a few things. You also better have the confidence in them
to stick with them.
I once drew a partner that ended up winning the national tournament we were
fishing at Lake Powell, Arizona. Gary Klien, who many of you have probably
heard of, used a small plastic four inch square box for his tackle box that day. It
was full of spinner baits, all of which were white on chartreuse with a particular
blade style and weight. In other words he only had one kind of lure with him.
He limited that day, along with the other two days, using the same lures and won
the 300 person, professional tournament. There was more to it than that. He
fished within a few hundred yards of the same place all three days but there was
even more to it than that. It involved the thing that gets most of us - confidence.
The day I fished with him, neither of us caught a fish for the first three hours. He
didn't panic and he didn't move. I cannot say the same about myself. It got down
to his last hour of his half of the day before he caught the first fish. I was head
set on changing around to my own location, twenty miles away for the second
half of the day. About an hour before I could call that option on Gary, we both
started catching  a few bass here and there. The water in the San Juan River
was cold, about forty-five degrees and rather dingy. Conditions were tough for
catching largemouth bass but by sticking to his plan, we both were culling down
to the 7 fish limit before the day was over.  
Of course I can give examples of just the opposite thing. You can over do things
and stick with something too long. Anglers can be stubborn about changing
anything. That also happens to be a problem for many of us.
As the Kenny Rogers Gambler song goes, "you have got to know when to hold
them and know when to fold them". Knowing when to make a change and/or,  
when to stick with something is the single biggest factor that separates the
mediocre angler from those that are usually successful.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh