Today it can be difficult to leave our jobs at work but that's what stream-time is for. Here's a guide to help you clear the air and get your head in the game.
Remember the O4P's of fly fishing: Observation, Position, Presentation, Presentation, Presentation!
Make your first cast the best cast. That might mean using a bow & arrow cast or pendulum cast in tight areas on small streams. It might mean taking the time lengthen your leader by building out the butt section with longer sections of stiffer line to turn over a long leader for hard to reach or spooky fish. It might mean taking a moment or two to settle into position and read the water before making a cast. It can also mean tasking a moment to guage the depth of the water or direction of the current to determine where the food line is or where fish might be holding in a tight-line nymphing situation
Rushed fishing isn't fishing. Rushed fishing is closely related to what we do at work and there is no place for work on the stream. In fly fishing especially the best days come from tuning into the stream and turning off the outside world. Sure we all have time constraints, not everyone can fish anytime or for as long as they want to. But here is food for thought: when you fish, are you fishing to relax and enjoy the outdoors or are you fishing to put another notch on your net?
Making the most of your outing means being present. We all remember our teachers telling us to pay attention. It can be tough to tune out the rest of our busy lives when we are on the water. But focusing on the water and our surroundings in the moment can help us hone our game. Taking the time to observe conditions and acclimate to our surroundings makes the attentive angler more efficient and effective. More importantly it is how we unlock the mysteries in each water we visit.
I don't know about you but I love to cast. I think I love casting as much as I love to fish. Sometimes I get caught up in the casting that I forget what the casting is really for: making a good presentation. Joan Wolff made a great point about this when I was at her instructor's school. She told us that when we head out to the stream we should decide whether we are there to fish or practice our cast. She warned us not to try to do both at the same time.
Her advice comes from years of experience teaching eager anglers. Joan was dance instructor originally and knew that good fishing and casting come from following clear steps that build off of fundamentals. A clear and quiet mind lends itself to the focus it takes to be successful. Clearing your mind takes time. Give yourself the time on the water to observe and position yourself, the presentation is the next step and will come from there.