Funny thing about slow fishing

I’ve noticed those days where the fish don’t seem to be biting I seem to always be late getting back. I am very hesitant to leave the water without tasting success and the fewer fish the more determined I tend to get.

There are usually things you can do to change your luck, but how much you can improve your luck depends on many factors.

The better you know a place, the better you can take the steps needed to change your luck. You know what the possibilities are. You know where the limits are. You can pull from a variety of options. My home waters are places I know well and if the fishing isn’t happening I know I need to get on the tracks and hike a bit, I need to put on another split shot (or three) or I need to look at different types of water (move from runs to pockets or pools to runs). Something kicks loose.

If you don’t know the place, but you know a bit about your target species, you can make some adjustments. I don’t know bonefish like I know trout and I never know a place I’m bonefishing like I know my home waters, but I know enough about bones to make some adjustments. I can try to find the depth I think the bones will be at, I can look for transit routes on or off flats or I can try to change my position relative to the sun to see into the water better. Some of that will change your luck a bit, but if the fish aren’t there, the fish aren’t there. In a stream if you aren’t catching a fish you are doing something wrong. If you aren’t seeing fish on a flat there is always the possibility the fish simply aren’t there.

So, pier fishing with my daughter yesterday we fished and fished and fished. I’ve caught fish on that pier at those tides with that wind with that bait with those same rods, same weights cast at those same distances. Hour after hour passed and we were fishless all the while. I don’t know how to change my luck there yet and I don’t know if it is even possible. I don’t know enough to even come up with possible explanations for the bad luck beyond “the fish don’t appear to be here now.” But we stuck it out and about 4.5 hours in there was a tug, albeit a light one, and one small brown smooth hound shark was brought in. Glad I have a girl who would like nothing more than to sit with her old man on the pier for six hours trying to intercept a shark. I know it will likely stop at some point, but in this, I’m lucky and I’ll take what luck I can get.

We'll take it.

We’ll take it.



  1. Good job, Dad . . . there are also just days when it ain’t gonna happen, no matter what (note that those days seem to coincide with your clients wealth/power/influence)

  2. Well, glad it finally happened. We’ve been skunked out there, so I’m glad it wasn’t that kind of day.

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