Is it all about the numbers???

BobP

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Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
9,197
Location
Wiltshire
Fly fishing is bewildering as there are so many disciplines embedded in the sport and catching numbers of fish is the be all and end all for some.

I've been fishing for over 65 years. Like others, at first it was catch A fish, any fish, didn't matter and luckily my local brook was well stuffed with minnows and sticklebacks. It wasn't long before it was catch as many as I can, and the lake in Austria where I was born had vast numbers of one of the whitefish species that were suicidally attracted to bread.

It was not too long before yet another 6" whitefish started me thinking about how to avoid them and so enter ledgering in 30' of water and several good sized roach.

By the time I was in my early teens I was bordering on specimen hunting as I had a small lake with a lot of carp in it. Not big fish - a 7lb fish was the biggest - but it was using tactics specifically designed to catch the larger fish rather than the hordes of half pounders. That all came to a juddering halt in 1963 when the winter that lasted from Boxing Day '62 to Easter '63 killed every fish in there.

Then I began trout fishing and the start of the learning curve again. First to catch A trout, then to catch several trout, then to catch bigger trout, and here it didn't matter what the actual size was. It was whether it was a big fish for the water it came from, so a half pound trout from a small stream was as good as a 2lb trout from a reservoir.

When I was approaching my 40's I got involved in competitions and here the numbers game became important. I did that for 14 years at loch style, rivers and small stillwaters and didn't do too badly at it. However, all things come to an end and our horizons change over time.

I now do more guiding on chalkstreams than I do fishing, though that is going to change this year. Many of those I guide for are anglers whose experience is much less than mine and I enjoy getting them into a position to catch fish. They use my flies and I often wonder at the end of the day when the client goes home glowing, with a brace of fish gutted and bagged up, with three or four more returned how he would have done without my presence. They often show me their box of flies 90% of which are totally unsuitable. I have to be a bit diplomatic sometimes, especially if they have tied them, & explain that the sort of flies that would work on a Scottish loch are unlikely to be too effective on the Test.

One of the reasons I gave up competition fishing was the attitude that was creeping in. It soon became a matter of not did I catch my limit, but did I catch them before xxx or
yyy or whoever was asking the question. The curse of time bonuses had turned the fish into a commodity and I finished my competition days a year or so later.

Fly fishing is a broad church and there is room for all variants of methods & techniques. I would counsel craig not to turn his back on any of them because there is enjoyment, and moreover, learning and experience to be had and that will turn him into a better angler.
 

Craig808

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Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
39
Location
Yorkshire
I guess it sometimes comes down to what your alternatives are.

If you have a lifestyle where a fishing trip is to one of the few locations or few times you can find relative wildness and tranquility, then you might value those aspects more than the catching.

Nothing wrong with you valuing all those aspects of your day out, but, if you feel very strongly that the fishing is the least rewarding bit, then maybe you should view fishing as some view golf "a good walk spoiled". Perhaps go for few walks, bird-watching photography outings until that need is filled and you're able to focus on fishing a bit more again? Plenty of people here do. Look at the nature photography thread for example.

If I've really not got a fishing head on I go out without a rod, walk the dog, take a camera. etc.

PS. I don't consider wanting to catch fish and competition fishing to be anywhere near the same thing.

I think I have maybe worded my original post a little too aggressively. It wasn't my intention.

The golf analogy of "a good walk spoiled" does not apply in my case. I really do enjoy fishing. But for me it is all the various parts that make the day - not just the numbers.

It's probably a good point for me to say that I did not mean to alienate anyone for their individual preferences whether that be stripping lures, fishing the bung, buzzers, dries, catching 1 wild brown or 50 stocked rainbows. I do all of the above myself. I guess I was just saying that I do not get hung up on the amount that I catch.

As has been pointed out to me, I am new on this group and I really didn't or don't mean to offend anyone. it was just me putting thought to paper so to speak.
 
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Craig808

Active member
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
39
Location
Yorkshire
Fly fishing is bewildering as there are so many disciplines embedded in the sport and catching numbers of fish is the be all and end all for some.

I've been fishing for over 65 years. Like others, at first it was catch A fish, any fish, didn't matter and luckily my local brook was well stuffed with minnows and sticklebacks. It wasn't long before it was catch as many as I can, and the lake in Austria where I was born had vast numbers of one of the whitefish species that were suicidally attracted to bread.

It was not too long before yet another 6" whitefish started me thinking about how to avoid them and so enter ledgering in 30' of water and several good sized roach.

By the time I was in my early teens I was bordering on specimen hunting as I had a small lake with a lot of carp in it. Not big fish - a 7lb fish was the biggest - but it was using tactics specifically designed to catch the larger fish rather than the hordes of half pounders. That all came to a juddering halt in 1963 when the winter that lasted from Boxing Day '62 to Easter '63 killed every fish in there.

Then I began trout fishing and the start of the learning curve again. First to catch A trout, then to catch several trout, then to catch bigger trout, and here it didn't matter what the actual size was. It was whether it was a big fish for the water it came from, so a half pound trout from a small stream was as good as a 2lb trout from a reservoir.

When I was approaching my 40's I got involved in competitions and here the numbers game became important. I did that for 14 years at loch style, rivers and small stillwaters and didn't do too badly at it. However, all things come to an end and our horizons change over time.

I now do more guiding on chalkstreams than I do fishing, though that is going to change this year. Many of those I guide for are anglers whose experience is much less than mine and I enjoy getting them into a position to catch fish. They use my flies and I often wonder at the end of the day when the client goes home glowing, with a brace of fish gutted and bagged up, with three or four more returned how he would have done without my presence. They often show me their box of flies 90% of which are totally unsuitable. I have to be a bit diplomatic sometimes, especially if they have tied them, & explain that the sort of flies that would work on a Scottish loch are unlikely to be too effective on the Test.

One of the reasons I gave up competition fishing was the attitude that was creeping in. It soon became a matter of not did I catch my limit, but did I catch them before xxx or
yyy or whoever was asking the question. The curse of time bonuses had turned the fish into a commodity and I finished my competition days a year or so later.

Fly fishing is a broad church and there is room for all variants of methods & techniques. I would counsel craig not to turn his back on any of them because there is enjoyment, and moreover, learning and experience to be had and that will turn him into a better angler.

Fantastic reply, thank you.

And how lucky to have been fishing in Austria. I have travelled and worked throughout Europe and have always said to my wife that we should move to Austria. I love the people, the food, the mountains, the way of life and how they utilise the mountains throughout the year.

Perfect imo
 

Lewis Chessman

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Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,460
Location
Isle of Lewis
Hi, Craig, and welcome. If numbers aren't your game - great! You'll probably enjoy your time on the water far more for appreciating the being there as much as the catching, especially if you prefer to fish wild waters.
As others have said, many of us go through a series of stages - catch one fish/ catch lots of fish/catch one on the fly/ beat your personal best/focus on 'big is best'/etc.
You follow your heart, mate and fish how you prefer. I think that if the joys of nature are already important to you, you'll enjoy the sport immensely more than if you feel you need to catch numbers to validate yourself and the time you spend fishing.
Personally, the biggest fish I've caught weren't my favourite fish and often the ones that got away give me greater pleasure to remember than those I've landed. Ah! But the places I've been and the things I've seen because I fish, they'll take me to my grave a happy man, I know.
Good luck in your own journey.
 
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2306chris

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Joined
Jun 10, 2013
Messages
148
Location
Cumbria
My kids, wife and I regularly walk along the Wharfe. A couple of weeks ago I was stood at the water's edge and said to my wife that it seems silly that I don't fish here.

So I contacted the Appletreewick, Barden and Burnsal Angling Club and luckily managed to bag a membership. Happy days πŸ‘
That's a beautiful part of Yorkshire with some excellent fishing. I hailed from the Leeds area but have lived in Cumbria at the side of the Eden now for 17 years, also beautiful countryside and, like you it seems, I enjoy the day out and the scenery just as much if I only catch 1 fish. It's never been about the numbers for me but each to their own.
 

Mr Notherone

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Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
4,193
Location
Monmouthshire
As others have said, each to their own. Personally I know very few anglers who are all about the numbers, but that said I know no-one who goes out to blank. I fly fish because I love being on the river, the process of fishing and challenging myself to catch. I enjoy thinking about how to fish better, even if it doesn't work. When conditions are tough, one fish can feel like a triumph, but not catching does not make a bad day.

Apart from a few course matches when I was a kid, I've deliberately not got into competitions as fishing for me has always been about getting away from competition. I have fished with some great river competition anglers though and it's a great way to learn the craft.

How many times do we hear that the journey is so much more rewarding than the destination. Fishing is all about the journey. Good luck with yours.
 

Craig808

Active member
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
39
Location
Yorkshire
Hi, Craig, and welcome. If numbers aren't your game - great! You'll probably enjoy your time on the water far more for appreciating the being there as much as the catching, especially if you prefer to fish wild waters.
As others have said, many of us go through a series of stages - catch one fish/ catch lots of fish/catch one on the fly/ beat your personal best/focus on 'big is best'/etc.
You follow your heart, mate and fish how you prefer. I think that if the joys of nature are already important to you, you'll enjoy the sport immensely more than if you feel you need to catch numbers to validate yourself and the time you spend fishing.
Personally, the biggest fish I've caught weren't my favourite fish and often the ones that got away give me greater pleasure to remember than those I've landed. Ah! But the places I've been and the things I've seen because I fish, they'll take me to my grave a happy man, I know.
Good luck in your own journey.
Hi Lewis

Oh the ones that got away - now there's another story 😏

I hooked up into a fish last week on the hang and it went straight down then stopped, just wouldn't budge. It felt like I had caught a boulder!!

After a while it decided it wanted to take me for a walk and went on a steady pace stripping all the line off my reel. Unfortunately it then darted towards me at a speed where I struggled to strip enough line in to take up the slack and then turned around and went the opposite direction...I think you know what came nextπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

It would have been nice to at least see what was on the end of my line. Oh well, it is always there for another day or someone else.
 

wrongfoot

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Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Messages
1,849
Location
Northumberland
[...]

As has been pointed out to me, I am new on this group and I really didn't or don't mean to offend anyone. it was just me putting thought to paper so to speak.
I don't feel any offense relating to your posts here. First posts that are actually about fishing are fine by me.

Big question is, do you find that your rod only loads perfectly with 30ft of line out?*

[...] I know no-one who goes out to blank [...]
^ this ^








*Do not answer this unless you want to be flamed to death by other posters!
 

wrongfoot

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Dec 2, 2007
Messages
1,849
Location
Northumberland
Wanting catch fish and counting coup are nowhere the same thing either.
Sorry, I don't get your point as I don't understand what "counting coup" is?

Edit - worked it out. "counting up". :unsure:
I agree. I like to feel I had a fair number given the conditions, but fussing about one more or less isn't my thing either.
 
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codyarrow

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Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
4,245
When I was younger the numbers aspect was actually about how much I knew. It signified knowledge; so I'm not too dismissive of people who on first glance appear to be overly concerned about this.
Nowadays it is about the finkling angling technique to suit the objective. More failure than success so far. :)
 

easker1

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Nov 10, 2010
Messages
7,702
Location
Highlands
I blank more than catch, but it doesn't stop my enjoyment , My enjoyment comes from being outand at the waterside,the guys mentioned strike me as being more fishmongers than anglers, as has been said when you pay to fish it seems you must have your bag, or the day is a disappointment, not for me as a wild loch fisher, easker1
 
D

Deleted member 90002

Guest
Seems like there are more people on here that prefer fly fishing as a good day out as opposed to catching lots. I'll raise a drink to that. πŸ₯ƒ
I'm about to buy a bottle of Dubkiner whisky.. I'll raise a glass also.. To the live of out sport numbers or not..
Gary
 

smallmouth

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Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
353
The places I fly fish are pleasant places to be, regardless of whether I fish or not. I'd still visit them if I could, even if I'd given up fishing them. I don't have an arbitrary number I have to reach to make a day good, it's all relative to the venue and conditions, method and challenge, and the odd surprise.

Sometimes just being there in my own company, casting a fly with gear that's a pleasure to use, is enough, (it certainly would be just now!).

However some other forms of fishing perhaps need a numerical/competitive/social element to be worthwhile. I believe that's why match fishing was so popular on the hard river and industrial canal venues of my youth. Fishing for a 1lb 6oz net of twenty odd roach was so much more satisfying if it was a good result on the day. Without the competition, I think repeatedly catching tiny roach from a grim grey semi polluted canal, weekend after weekend, would've soon palled for most.
 
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