Difference between a fisherman and a good fisherman

shropshire_lad

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Here's a question, can all fisherman become good fishermen given the opportunity?

With regards to opportunity, look at the diversity of fine people on this Forum. Some, like myself, don't live with fishing on our doorstep and opportunities to go are limited. Taking myself as an example, this means that by the time I get to the water's edge I'm a bit like a bull in a china shop.

Many here have waters on their doorstep so can just wander down for an hour or two far more relaxed. If they miss that fish there will always be tomorrow. Time to relax and hone their skills.

I remember a tale from one of my favourite books, "Trout From The Hills". The author was impetuous as a young man and flogged away with wet flies on calm mountain lakes, occasionally catching something. One day an elderly chap meandered down with a rod. He spent an hour quietly sitting on a rock. Then he wandered to the water's edge, cast and landed a fish. He walked back to the rock, rested for a while, then did exactly the same thing again. Patience and skill learnt from a lifetime of observation, a far cry from the manic lifestyles so many of us have become accustomed to these days.
 

PaulD

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Too true Scotty , nobody seems to give a flying falkirk about motoring up a drift now.....full throttle...tossers.
These people have no understanding of the finer points of fishing and then returning to the start of the drift that were prevalent before the arrival of motorised boats. No understanding of the benefits of rowing back to the start of the drift with your line out over the stern! One notable, long departed, Midlands angler was renowned for having leaping fish following his boat on the way back to restart a drift. If the leaping was too prolific the rowing would be stopped, the rod picked up and waved backwards and forwards a couple of times before bending into a 'surprise' fish! Happy days! ;)
 

petevicar

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It's interesting that there are very few generalised comments. Many seem to apply to one particular type of fly fishing, still water, river etc.

I would consider myself to be a pretty good flats fisherman and a semi competent salmon fisherman. I have little experience of still water or trout fishing in general. even though I have caught quite a few. I would not say that I am a good trout fisherman.

I would, in general, say that I am a reasonable fisherman with sufficient experience to be able to catch fish in many different situations. I am however not interested in spending hours flogging the water and hoping that some passing fish will take my offering.
I see fly fishing as hunting for fish and using my "skill" as a caster to put the fly in a position were I know there is a fish or have a pretty good idea that one may be there.
 

sewinbasher

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It's really quite simple, a good fisherman thinks!

Fishing is essentially the solving of a series of problems and once the basic skills of casting and entomology have been mastered the better anglers are those who can consistently locate the fish, decide what it's eating, choose a good imitation and present it without spooking the fish.

It all sounds very easy but you'd be amazed how many just turn up and lob out the same set up as they did last time and then just put lack of success down to the fish not cooperating or being absent.

I remember a day on Tal y Llyn when olives hatched all day and my boat partner and I took about 50 browns. When we filled in the book at the Tyn y Cornel Hotel we were virtually mobbed by other anglers who had had little success. They had mostly been using flies like Peter Ross and Mallard & Claret on heavy leaders and we (big surprise) had been using wet olive imitations on 4x leaders. We gave them a few flies and some finer leader material to use the next day. I had to go home but my boat partner stayed for another morning's fishing and had another 29 trout before lunch but reported that most of the other rods had quickly reverted to their original set up and of course caught nothing!!
 
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kingf000

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This has provoked a lot of good comments, but to me it is very simple. A good fisherman catches more and better fish than a fisherman, wherever you are fishing. How one achieves this has been pretty well covered by the opinions given here, though I don't agree with them all!
 

shropshire_lad

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It's really quite simple, a good fisherman thinks!

Fishing is essentially the solving of a series of problems and once the basic skills of casting and entomology have been mastered the better anglers are those who can consistently locate the fish, decide what it's eating, choose a good imitation and present it without spooking the fish.

It all sounds very easy but you'd be amazed how many just turn up and lob out the same set up as they did last time and then just put lack of success down to the fish not cooperating or being absent.

I remember a day on Tal y Llyn when olives hatched all day and my boat partner and I took about 50 browns. When we filled in the book at the Tyn y Cornel Hotel we were virtually mobbed by other anglers who had had little success. They had mostly been using flies like Peter Ross and Mallard & Claret on heavy leaders and we (big surprise) had been using wet olive imitations on 4x leaders. We gave them a few flies and some finer leader material to use the next day. I had to go home but my boat partner stayed for another morning's fishing and had another 29 trout before lunch but reported that most of the other rods had quickly reverted to their original set up and of course caught nothing!!
I had a similar experience on a Welsh upland lake but it was not a case of me and other anglers, it was a case of me and me. I always fished the same wet flies, Zulu, Black Pennel, Butcher. There were fish swirling all around me, slashing at the surface. I had not so much as a touch.

Then I put on a B&P spider and had a swirl at it. It was then I noticed the things landing on my jacket - Coch-Y-Bonddus. I had never seen one before but I guessed (correctly) that's what they were. I had some in my fly box. I greased one up and put it out to be taken almost immediately. They would take it dragged across the water, submerged, etc. I soon had a nice bag of bigger than average wild browns.

However, it took me too long to realise what was going on.
 

3lbgrayling

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Here's a question, can all fisherman become good fishermen given the opportunity?

With regards to opportunity, look at the diversity of fine people on this Forum. Some, like myself, don't live with fishing on our doorstep and opportunities to go are limited. Taking myself as an example, this means that by the time I get to the water's edge I'm a bit like a bull in a china shop.

Many here have waters on their doorstep so can just wander down for an hour or two far more relaxed. If they miss that fish there will always be tomorrow. Time to relax and hone their skills.

I remember a tale from one of my favourite books, "Trout From The Hills". The author was impetuous as a young man and flogged away with wet flies on calm mountain lakes, occasionally catching something. One day an elderly chap meandered down with a rod. He spent an hour quietly sitting on a rock. Then he wandered to the water's edge, cast and landed a fish. He walked back to the rock, rested for a while, then did exactly the same thing again. Patience and skill learnt from a lifetime of observation, a far cry from the manic lifestyles so many of us have become accustomed to these days.
1 of my favorite books.a Gem.
 

Paul_B

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This has provoked a lot of good comments, but to me it is very simple. A good fisherman catches more and better fish than a fisherman, wherever you are fishing. How one achieves this has been pretty well covered by the opinions given here, though I don't agree with them all!
I'm a bad one then :cry:
4 bows, a blue at around 4lb, 2 perch and roach this morning, not t worry, I'll try harder tomorrow ;)

all on cdc
 

kingf000

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I'm a bad one then :cry:
4 bows, a blue at around 4lb, 2 perch and roach this morning, not t worry, I'll try harder tomorrow ;)

all on cdc
Not necessarily just a fisherman. One can't tell from one session as there too many variables and with no comparison. It could have been a good catch if conditions were unfavourable.
 

BobP

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Here's a question, can all fisherman become good fishermen given the opportunity?

With regards to opportunity, look at the diversity of fine people on this Forum. Some, like myself, don't live with fishing on our doorstep and opportunities to go are limited. Taking myself as an example, this means that by the time I get to the water's edge I'm a bit like a bull in a china shop.

Many here have waters on their doorstep so can just wander down for an hour or two far more relaxed. If they miss that fish there will always be tomorrow. Time to relax and hone their skills.

I remember a tale from one of my favourite books, "Trout From The Hills". The author was impetuous as a young man and flogged away with wet flies on calm mountain lakes, occasionally catching something. One day an elderly chap meandered down with a rod. He spent an hour quietly sitting on a rock. Then he wandered to the water's edge, cast and landed a fish. He walked back to the rock, rested for a while, then did exactly the same thing again. Patience and skill learnt from a lifetime of observation, a far cry from the manic lifestyles so many of us have become accustomed to these days.
I, too, have that book, though I'm afraid the author's style doesn't suit me much. However, we can learn from the lesson described above and the key words are "a lifetime of observation." It's amazing how often that word "observation" crops up in angling terminology, and how seldom anglers apply it.

Let's have a look at shropshire lad's basic point which is, "can an angler with limited access to fishing become a good angler given his reduced opportunities?" Basically, the answer is yes he can and if he cares to read Brian Clarke's book, "The Pursuit of Stillwater Trout" he will find in those pages a road map of how to do it. Another book worthy of reading is Tom Ivens on "Stillwater Trout Fishing". First written in the 1950's that book inspired a generation of reservoir anglers in the same way that Mr. Crabtree inspired coarse anglers at around the same period.

Today we have endless videos on Youtube that show how its done and very good some of them are. Visuals are frequently much better than the written word providing the presenter knows his stuff.

There is a wealth of knowledge to be gleaned and just because the angler is not able to be on the water every day or every week does not mean he is not capable of learning what to do should he recognise something he has read about.

An example: many, many years ago I had blagged myself an invite to the River Arle, a tributary of the Itchen. I had never fished a chalkstream before, but I had read Kite, Sawyer and Skues until the covers fell off the books, and with the brashness of one in his early '30's was convinced I knew what to do. By lunchtime I was, not surprisingly, fishless, but on my way back to the car I saw a nice trout just below the outfall from some watercress beds. This fish was behaving exactly as those books described. Up on the fin, swinging from side to side and every so often a little white flicker of his mouth as he intercepted a nymph. I had never nymph fished before, but with the roadmaps of those books in my mind it was a foregone conclusion and I caught that fish, plus three more after lunch.

That first fish led on to much, much more, but those are stories for another day. The fact is that, having read the books I recognised the behaviour, knew what the fish were doing and applied the observation to reap the reward.
 

shropshire_lad

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It's in my top ten of fishing books as well
Last year a friend and I had a week in North Wales visiting haunts that we last fished well over 20 years ago, before family and commitments got in the way. I took my copy of the book along, a reprint which is readily available. He started reading it and was hooked (excuse the pun). Through the wonders of the internet (Abe Books) I subsequently bought him a 1st Edition for his birthday :)

Bob's post above has prompted me to get a copy of Brian Clarke's book which I'm well aware of but have never read. I did read Ivens when I first started but have no idea where the book is now. Looking on my bookcase I have spotted Thelwell's "Complete Tangler" - that's more like me :ROFLMAO:

A1WU6D4zS3L.jpg
 

Wee Jimmy

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Bob's post above has prompted me to get a copy of Brian Clarke's book which I'm well aware of but have never read. I did read Ivens when I first started but have no idea where the book is now. Looking on my bookcase I have spotted Thelwell's "Complete Tangler" - that's more like me :ROFLMAO:

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That particular book, “The Pursuit of Stillwater Trout” made a huge impression on me Phil.It was published in 1975 only a few years before I took up fly fishing.Its a great read and the philosophy behind it made total sense ....👍
 

BobP

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I've got Thelwell and it's brilliant. We can all recognise something of ourselves in it. Not the book to be reading with a full glass of chardonnay in the other hand!
 

shropshire_lad

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That particular book, “The Pursuit of Stillwater Trout” made a huge impression on me Phil.It was published in 1975 only a few years before I took up fly fishing.Its a great read and the philosophy behind it made total sense ....👍
I have ordered a copy Jimmy. The great thing about the Internet is being able to track down old copies, often first editions, relatively easily. I really like an old battered first edition as it has character, seen some life (y)
 
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