A Change in Mindset

After the struggle I had over the past couple weeks, my luck did a complete 180. Suddenly, I found myself catching many more fish than I had in the past, and my enjoyment of the time I spent on the water increased consequentially. No, I wasn’t putting up huge fish counts, but it was certainly enough to satisfy my hunger for success.

I wrote about my time spent fishing for stocked trout already, but after the initial couple fish I caught, I couldn’t stop myself from going back for more. In fact, I had a five-day streak going in which I caught at least one trout everyday until a nor’easter passed through and put my fishing trips on pause. Each time I went out I assumed my luck would come to an end, and yet I continued to fulfill my goal.

I went from zero to hero, and all it took was a quick break and a change of mindset. Like I said last week, I had been forcing myself to visit the same spot constantly, and to limit myself to fly fishing only. Was I enjoying my time on the water? Absolutely! But would I have preferred to have been catching fish, and possibly exploring new water? Without a doubt. As the saying goes, “everything in moderation”. I got so wrapped up in the same routine that I denied myself opportunities to try new things. And when I did eventually stop and rethink my strategy, I was rewarded greatly. It goes to show you that keeping an open mind is often the key to happiness. I have never been a one-trick pony, and I intend to keep it that way. If spin fishing makes you happy, do it! If you enjoy spending time fishing new spots, by all means, go explore! Fishing is a sport of fun and relaxation, and all too often do I make it a competition and a source of anxiety. We all have those times when we’ve fished long and hard, and simply burn out. There’s no point in forcing it; give yourself some time to contemplate what went wrong (or right), and reset for your next adventure.

So, after my short break, I did catch a few fish. Last Saturday, I caught my first stockie of the year on a spinner. Then on Sunday, I caught my first trout on a fly of the year. Monday morning before remote school (at least there’s one benefit!) I biked to the same spot I had caught the first trout and caught another rainbow on the same spinner. Surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one there at such an early hour, as there was another angler next to me fishing bait, and another kind-hearted soul picking up the weekend’s trash. On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to get some insider information on a stocking before the state’s website had been updated. The fish were just nine-inch browns, but they were fitting for the tiny creek. Targeting them with with my fly rod, I had to cast from many feet back as to not spook the creatures in the crystal-clear shallow water. Despite getting snagged a couple times in the thick brush, I managed one on a mop fly, an obvious choice for the fresh-stocked fish. Finally, on Wednesday, I caught two trout, once again before school at my favorite bike-to spot. As if to signal the end of my eventful stretch, I lost my treasured spinner on my last cast. I biked home happier than ever, pleased that I was able find some luck after an early season dry spell.

Another chunky stocker.

As if I needed any more excitement this week, my friend, Ben, and I caught a few more pickerel and bass at a warm water pond later that afternoon. While we fished, we saw more “big” fish than we had in a while. Large carp swam by regularly, 22+” pickerel followed our big swimbaits and jerkbaits up, and a couple three-and-four-pound bass found their way into our fields of vision, but managed to avoid our lures. I theorized that these lunkers are always there, just the unseasonably low and clear water allowed us to see them much clearer than ever before. Nevertheless, Ben easily bested me during our quick trip before we headed to baseball.

A good-sized pickerel, but nowhere near the ones we were seeing.

As school vacation begins, I have a full week of fishing planned, and hopefully an equal amount of catching. The prime season around here is fast approaching, so with any luck I’ll have a little more to write about in the coming weeks.

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