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10 Obvious Truths of Successful Anglers

Posted on December 26 2015

Leopard Rainbow Trout Release by Tosh Brown.
Michael is part of the 10 percent. Photo: Tosh Brown.

It’s been said many, many times before that 10 percent of anglers catch 90 percent of the fish. We’d have to agree, but what if we told you what sets those 10 percent apart are things you already know?

There are all kinds of tips and tricks out there to catch more fish (heck, we run a fishing blog about them!), but from our experience the anglers that catch the most fish have the best understanding of some of the most obvious truths in the game..

Trust us, there are no secrets here. But if the following aren’t in the back of your mind when you’re on the water, you’re probably not going to catch as many fish. So, without further ado here are..

10 Obvious Truths Known by Successful Anglers

  1. You catch more fish in the water than you do in the air. Hey, we said ‘obvious.’ All kidding aside, whether casting to bonefish or banging the banks for trout, really good anglers spend less time casting and more time fishing their fly. Excessive false casting means less time your fly is in the water, you know, where the fish are. Maximize the amount of time your fly is in the water and guess what, you’ll catch more fish.
  2. The more fish that see your fly, the more fish you’ll catch. Catching lots of fish is all about odds. The more fish you can show your fly to in a day, the more chances you have to connect right? That means moving around and covering as much water effectively as possible.. Not standing in one place wasting time on the fish that ‘should be there.’
  3. Short casts catch fish. Fish don’t choose their lies based on how far you can cast. In fact, we’d go out on a limb to say the majority of fish are caught somewhere between 0 and 40 feet. The best anglers never underestimate the chance of a fish holding really close, and neither should you!
  4. Ugly casts catch fish too. Fish also don’t care how great your cast looked. If you’re in the ball park, and can still make a good drift, keep your fly fishing and fish it out! Crazier things have happened.
  5. Sharp hooks work better than dull hooks. Duh, right? It might be obvious, but we can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen fish come unbuttoned only to find a dull hook the culprit. Even quality hooks can dull up after very little use, and a simple hook file can make the difference between “I felt a bump,” and your new profile pic.
  6. Time spent looking for gear is time spent not fishing. Just like time spent false casting is not time spent fishing, time spent looking for the right fly, an extra split shot, hook files, and so on is probably also time that your fly isn’t in the water. Simply organizing your gear means less time searching, more time fishing, and in the long run, more fish.
  7. Damaged leaders break. Leaders and tippet with wind knots, nicks, frays and so on tend to break when pulled on.. Wow, go figure! Successful anglers hardly ever ‘break off’ while fighting a fish because they constantly check the condition of their leader and tippet, and change it if necessary.
  8. Fish like the water more than the beach. When fighting fish from shore, more often than not the best angle to apply pressure is to the downstream side, towards the bank. Why? Because after being hooked, most fish would rather head towards deeper water than flop up on shore. Downstream pressure towards the bank helps keep an acute angle on the fish, keeping the hook pinned, and wearing him out as fast as possible.
  9. Fish don’t like people. We’ve all heard that most fish have a brain roughly the size of a pea. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not smart enough to notice something out of the ordinary. Whether treading lightly to avoid being seen, keeping quiet on the boat to avoid being heard, or making sure your fly doesn’t smell like people stuff, great anglers know that hiding their presence is just as important as putting the fly in the right place.
  10. There’s no substitute for time on the water. Sorry folks, but if there’s one thing that makes a better angler, it’s experience! Great anglers spend a lot of time on the water, bar none. So, as soon as you’re done cruising our blog, get after it! The more time you spend fishing, the more fish you’ll catch.. We promise.

More Common Traits of Successful Anglers

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