Crappie Fishing. I was sixteen and floating a local reservoir in early May. The summer heat was new to us and our sunburnt skin and we had the pleasure of plumping around the lake in the “bass pup”, which is a small plastic boat suited for maybe two anglers, tight quarters. None the less we trolled the lake and probed all the coves we could find.
I remember sitting in the boat and going through lure after lure on my spinning outfit. Nothing seemed to work even though the day seemed to be perfect.
There are so many variables and bits of advice when it comes to fishing, it almost takes away the pleasure of fishing at times. I never really thought much about what I was doing in those early days, the method was keep trying different lures until something catches a fish (Which is still pretty much what I do today!)
Another cast out under an overhanging tree just like the hundred before and then out of depths a crappie wrangles the tube jig. The fish seemed to hit the lure on the way down as I slowly haphazardly reeled the jig into the boat. So I had an epiphany and I put my bobber on my line at the same depth the fish seemed to strike, allowed the jig to slowly twitch and rest under the float, and waited for strikes… and strikes did come.
The rest of day was spent catching nearly every cast. What a contradiction to the first half of the day.
Two 16 year old kids thought they invented a new style of fishing! (Yeah this float and jig tactic for crappie is a lot older than I, but that’s not the point)
The point is I realized that fishing isn’t just trying the same tactics and leaving the bite up to the fish, it’s a constant chess game. There really are ways to “turn the fish switch on” and I love trying to figure that out.
Go into any forum and ask what’s the best fly/lure for situation X/Y/Z and you'll get every answer in the book. Some people swear by different colors, tactics, depths, lines, hats, sunglasses, etc.
AND: They’re probably all right.
This is what has attracted me to fly fishing. The challenge, not the numbers, not the “status”, it’s the beautiful places and the challenge.
Have fun with your fishing and try something different. That’s the enjoyment of it. I believe if there were a solution and fly for every exact situation written in a long fly fishing book, I wouldn’t enjoy fishing very much. Fish don't follow a rulebook.
Enjoy the challenge and figure it out. All the information you hear and read may be great guidelines and tactics but don’t get stuck on ANYTHING, be creative and enjoy nature, you may even turn the "fish switch" on while you're at it.