I admit it, I got skunked. A whole afternoon of fishing and not a single trout in the net. It was my first day on the water in months, and I couldn’t wait to get out and go fishing again. However, my excitement slowly diminished after a few hours without a single fish. I started out with a Pheasant Tail, but that didn’t produce. Maybe a Copper John? Nope. How about a Hare’s Ear? No. Stonefly? Nothing. Midge? Still nothing. Every one of these flies caught fish consistently this time last year, so what’s going on? Ok, I’ll try something a little more out of the box. Will a streamer interest these fish? No, it won’t. What about scud? Nope. San Juan Worm? Of course not. Glo-Bug? Not a chance. By now it had been close to 4 hours, and my fingers were too numb from the cold to get the next fly out of my fly box. I knew that it was time to break the rod down and go home.
This was certainly not my most successful day of fishing. Actually, it was one of my least successful, but it still made me realize one of the major reasons that I love fishing so much. Fishing allows us to try to outsmart trout (or whatever else we fish for), and the feeling of accomplishment from taking one of these beautiful creatures out of the net and holding it in your hands, before gently slipping it back into the water is second to none. Although these fish may have a brain the size of a pea, knowing that you fooled them into thinking your fly was food is what keeps anglers coming back for the rest of their lives. If we didn’t have days like I had, when the fish just don’t seem to be feeding, then the days when they seem to attack everything we throw to them wouldn’t be nearly as memorable. Finally, after all the second guessing and excuse making, I remembered the old cliché and how true it is: a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work.