Attitude To Fishing Vital
by Tony Orman
Fishing is just another sport and like many other sports attitude and mental approach is so very important on two counts. Take golf for instance. One golfing authority reckoned the mental side of golf is as much as 90 percent of the game. Top golfers know it. They can’t let a bogey get them down, or a putt that sits on the lip of the cup and won’t go in. Focus and positive attitude is vital. Think rugby. Watch in rugby how top goal kickers mentally rehearse, staring and focusing at the posts, back to the ball, back to the posts then focus back on the ball before running in to kick. The human factor, attitude and approach is a key factor.
Fishing is no different. Too often we think the most expensive, classiest rod and gear in general will mean more fish. They help to some degree but generally it’s overrated. I’ve been privileged to fish with some “master” fishers. One was Jim. He had incredible catch statistics on northern South Island rivers like the Motueka, Maruia and Buller.
When I first met him he was using a blue fibreglass rod, made by Kilwell NZ Ltd, branded the Robin Hood and marketed as a “beginner’s rod”. Older trout fishermen may remember it? Well, he used that boy’s rod and would catch 300 to 400 trout each summer using the nymph or little wet fly. He would catch big trout and eventually after several highly successful summer seasons with it, on a large 3.5 kg brown trout in the Buller River the trusty and proven rod broke. Jim then decided to buy a carbon graphite rod.
Jim was living example the person is more important than the gear. However that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy and enjoy the best of gear if you wish to and can afford it! The often quoted adage, ten percent of the anglers catch ninety percent of the fish is so true. Wanting to learn is another, i.e. thirst for new ideas. It’s true, your attitude should never be one of knowing it all. With that should come humility. Ask questions and listen. Read and accept or reject the ideas. But consider it. Some very wise men think so too. Voltaire, French writer and philosophiser said “The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.” And innovative Scottish entrepreneurial, whisky distiller Thomas Dewar said “Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.”
A closed mind, a conceited smugness that you know it all and an arrogant belief that you’re always doing it right, will stop you succeeding. Have an open mind when you are listening or reading fishing books or magazines.. But remember amongst the thousands of fishing books, there’s a few that frankly are suspect in their advice. On the other hand, some are brilliant but they stand out - the top ten per cent! The great early 20th century UK trout fishing writer G E M Skues wrote “The true function of an authority (book) is to stimulate, not to paralyse original thinking.”
Here’s a few rules:-
(a) Be determined, dedicated and committed
(b) Focus and concentrate
(c) Enjoy it. Everyone can have a blank day. So just enjoy being fishing. You could be doing worse things! But if it’s a blank day, analyse what you did that did not succeed and surmise what you might have done. Don’t lose your humour. Keep a balance and things in perspective. Laugh at yourself if the occasion rises.
(d) Keep a diary
(e) Be observant Observing means not only eyes but ears too. One summer’s day trout fishing I was failing to score but then I realised cicadas were singing. I switched to a cicada pattern and the day turned from troutless to troutfull.
(f) Be innovative. Seek new ideas that might just work and flexible not just in tackle but in tactics, techniques and locations. It’s an adage of winning sport games. Losing? Then try a change of tactics whether it be location, lures or techniques.
(g) Be Patient. Trout can feed in cycles.
(h) Go fishing To learn more, go fishing. Every fishing day is a learning day, fish or no fish.
But the major reason to go fishing is that it’s good for you. It’s therapy. It’s healthy. Ted Trueblood, a wonderful writer for the US “Field and Stream” magazine in the 1950s. Ted cruelly dying of brain cancer took his own life at about 69 - a relatively young age. His wise words were:-‘Never say I’ll go tomorrow. When you get a chance to go fishing, go! If you wait until tomorrow, tomorrow will drag into next week and next week will drag into next month and next month into next year - and some day it will be too late.”
There’s another rule that should be mandatory. Look after the trout and rivers by getting involved in the “politics”. Yes politics is a dirty word to some. But reality is politics in the matters of trout and rivers is nothing more than "cause and effect." Take the adverse effects of large scale dairying. That all began with a government intent on growing and growing and growing dairying with dairying - mainly of the big business corporate type - being introduced to low rainfall areas like Canterbury and the Mackenzie Basin. Water was needed. It wasn’t going to come from the rainfall so it comes from the aquifer and rivers, which in most cases is the one and same resource. Then there’s the nitrate leaching into the natural water system. Large scale forestry - again mostly corporate - with clear felling and silt-laden runoff smothering spawning streams and bigger rivers is another threat. Where will MP Shane Jones grand plans for one billion trees end - more exotic forest plantations? Keep an eye on it and speak out if necessary. Then there’s the ‘exclusive’ access issue where a guide or wealthy syndicate pays money to get sole exclusive access while the rest of anglers are ‘locked’ out.
So resolve to get involved. Support your fish and game council, stand for election, or nominate someone and vote. Get into your local fishing club, write a letter or two to social media or your local paper. The NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers is fighting for your trout and your rivers. Get in and support the Federation. Your trout and rivers? Trout and rivers belong to future generations too - your children and grandchildren. Your legacy to them should involve a solid contribution to fighting threats and indeed turning things around so that tomorrow we have better trout and rivers .