We fly fishers, are quickly falling into the numbers game. It’s inherent in most of us, we are hoarders, collectors, and boastful of things, not all, but most.
Let’s start with the important bit, rods! It used to be, back ‘in the day’ that we owned one rod. This sturdy bit of cane, carbon fibre, or whatever was used in the pursuit of EVERYTHING, a one size fits all job.
Look at us now, a single rod is never going to be enough, even if you only ever fished for trout on the Trout fishing on a small stream and definitely on big rivers requires us to have in our possession various rods, some with stiff and some not so stiff actions. The same goes for the salmon angler, he’ll have his favourites. When it comes to reservoirs and small water outfits we will often carry two and sometimes three of one particular size, 10-ft 7-wts if you please, the more the merrier!
If you are ‘stillwater’ angler then the amount of fly lines that you own will indeed beggar belief! I know of many competition anglers that will only go out on the water with minimum of 20 lines, ones for the top of the water and ones that will fish their flies all the way down to the lakebed, they have got it covered!
Then we have flies… WOW!
I have seen boxes upon boxes of serried rows of immaculately tied flies, each one seemingly there to do a job for a specific time on a specific venue, it’s mind-boggling.
Is it all just good marketing that see’s us gather all this gear, yes, we are consumers, we consume!
The real worry, when it comes to numbers though, is the amount of trout that stillwater anglers feel that they have the god-given right to catch in order for them to say that they’ve had a good day.
It’s been said many times that the numbers game doesn’t belong in fly fishing yet the ‘bag up mentality’ has become even more prevalent in the last decade or so and no matter what anyone says, competition fly fishing has to take the blame.
It’s a sorry state of affairs when anglers are writing out their catch returns and claiming to have caught X when actually they only landed Y. Now, this kind of thing may sound far-fetched but it does happen, for whatever reason anglers don’t want to be seen to be catching two fish when the rod average has been five.
A friend of mine ( remaining nameless) told me an amazing tale recently; he had fished the whole day at small stillwater and in the afternoon another angler, younger, took up station on the next available peg along from him. They struck up a conversation and whiled away the rest of the day
When they’d both finished, they went back to the lodge. The other gentleman, his new mate, had completed his catch return first and then he said his goodbyes. My mate went to fill his returns in and saw the numbers….
Surprisingly, the chap had claimed that he’d caught and returned six fish, all taken on “slow-fished buzzers”.
My mate, who’d been standing next to him the whole time saw him land two!
Heading out to the car park he saw the boy and asked him about it, done in friendly banter you understand.
“I land two yes but I hooked another four and they came off, you saw them,” He said.