Change The Way You Think, It’s all about Mindset

ECA81D0F-BC60-45AF-AD07-ADD234196B8F_1_201_aLet’s start here: You’re a fly fisherman, a seasoned angler, you know what the term 5x is referring to, you know the difference between a comparadun and a parachute BWO, you have racked up a ton of days on the river, Life is pretty good for you, but do you have the proper mindset?

Do you miss more strikes then you think you should? Do you get frustrated when you have a great drift and you think it’s more often than not a rock or a stick? Only to find out it was a strike that you just lost out on?

Welcome to the world of an improper mindset – a world most fishermen believe they are above or shouldn’t be concerned about.

Let’s paint another picture.

Imagine this; You find yourself the most remarkable spot on the river, alone on great water loaded with gorgeous  “bubble seams” flowing under a shaded tree section, just the right amount of cloud cover. You tie on a fly that matches the hatch perfectly, all is right in the world. You skillfully judge your distance, line, and rod in hand, you make the perfect cast to that one sipping trout you spotted from the bank, then BAM, he takes your bug, you set the hook, hastily and snap the fly off…then your line is tangled in the trees, you yell  “Mother FK’r” then your temper rises because you have to wade through the water you were planning on fishing…you feel your day is now ruined.

Question is, is this fishermen’s head in the right place? Some may say yes, there is nothing wrong with trying to achieve perfection while doing any sport, being disappointed that your masterful effort wasn’t rewarded, frustrated that errors were made and so on, that’s fine, but, what a shortsighted way to do something you claim to love…I see things a bit differently.

I do understand that missing an opportunity can be aggravating but in my mindset, at least you were given the chance.  Something to remember is fishing is about compromise, it’s about giving and taking, some times you “win” and sometimes the fish “wins’. But you can’t forget that at that very moment, that very second the trout did its part, you fooled the fish in believing that your offering was better than the real thing. So what if you lost it, what it should teach you is to take a moment to reflect on what you could have done differently to have the result you were expecting. The proper mindset is realizing there will always be another opportunity, another chance in the future. That snapped off fly and spaghetti in the trees is only a moment, the only thing that got hurt was your ego.

The fact is this, you could easily be sitting in your office, behind a counter, mowing your lawn, painting the fence, sitting in the blistering heat, hating life, instead of collecting yourself, looking around at the beautiful surroundings of the river, digging out your fly box, tying on a new length of tippit and focusing on that next “opportunity” just around the bend.

The next change in mindset (and this is directed to the millennials reading this blog) is don’t get fixated on taking photos of every fish you catch. I do understand the importance of social media and how it has become a deep-rooted part of the youth culture but leave something for you. Despite popular beliefs, you will not become the next fly fishing influencer nor will you make a living by having a certain company beer can placed oh so perfect next to your catch or having a reel manufacturers hat on, tilted so it looks good in the image, truthfully it’s transparent and kind of ridiculous.  The proper mindset is you’re out doing a beautiful, poetic sport in places most people won’t have an opportunity to enjoy. Instead of being vainglorious, you should really be humbled. Secondly, and most importantly, it is really bad for the fish and our fishing resource to abuse the fish that way, the more we handle them, the more we keep them out of the water only shortens their life span if it doesn’t kill them that day. I take this very seriously, your wishing for more likes and shares is nowhere as important to respect the life, habitat and well being of the animals which are the reason we fly fish in the first place.

img_0781.jpgOne other point of mindset is to remember why you started to fly fish in the first place. I can tell you mine;

It takes me to beautiful places, quiet solitude, wilderness, water, a place to escape the ‘real’ world.

I enjoy the riddle that every day brings on the river when I’m hunting for fish. What’s the hatch? Is it bright today? Are they on dries or nymphs? What’s the flow? and so on.

Lastly, I never forget that the Trout, Bonefish, Tarpon, Whitefish did me a favor by eating my fly, so my mindset is that I am just grateful for a day on the river.

Tight Lines

Guide Glenn Smith

 

 

 

Better Late than Never!

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Well here we are, it’s mid-October, the first snow has fallen and the fly fishing season is slowing down. It is that time of year that the army of amazing guides start to migrate to other waters or sunny destinations where the water is clear and the beer flows like beer.

I had every intention of writing a blog post once a week with magical stories of fish caught and the newest, freshest techniques, as well as videos of showing knot-tying, beautiful water, and tours of our local rivers. As you can see, my feed was as dry as a spring creek during a drought, yes, I did none of what I promised myself to accomplish.

But the year is not over! So here I am, trying to backpedal and make journalistic amends. I got busy, the bar is next door to the Fly Shop and 6 AM comes early during a 7 day a week workweek.

Enough of the filler content, let’s get right into fish pics!

So this photo series is just proof to recuse me of the appearing unengaged and lazy. Truth is, I was fishing like a bandit and making memories for my clients as best as I could. So please keep checking back here for new and interesting content and I promise I wont disappear like a dry-fly hatch on a windy day!

 

Tight Lines

Glenn

 

Water Writes​, Journaling A Moment

As many the followers of Glenn On The Fly can attest, I really enjoy sharing stories about fishing incidences and practice. I very rarely write about just a good day on the river, John Gierach-esque style. I write mainly about process and etiquette of fly fishing, almost to a fault. But that’s going to change as of today.

As a Profession Guide, I am on the river every day from early morning to when the sun starts to set, and yes I know, I am very lucky, I know it.

I also realize that my every day is someone else’s  “once in a lifetime”… I try to never forget that notion. For years, I have as a habit, try to look at the river and my surroundings with “fresh eyes” every time I drive up the river or drop into the water with my new C.O.D. (clients of the day). It is very easy, almost too easy, to take everyday occurrences for granted, it’s the ‘been there done that’ approach which is never a good thing.

This is why I advocated taking the time to write in a journal anytime you hit the water. Even a better plan is anytime when the mood strikes you. Nothing is better than reaching for your own written word to bring the texture and more life to a fond memory or for the dramatic of you, a not so fond memory.

Photos are fine and good but can be the Cliff-note, short cut take on what you actually were doing or experiencing. Sure, we all know it is said that a picture is worth a 1000 words but that is if you want someones else’s words or someone else’s take on your day. What gets missed is all the details, the little stuff that makes it that much more special.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about:

Photo By Jeff Holt
Photo By Jeff Holt

This photo is a nice pic. A nice shot with a dark moody feel and a touch of some action. All is good.

But what the photo doesn’t show is how beautiful the day was, a legendary Colorado bluebird sky. The wind was doing the craziest things that mid-afternoon. Its gusts were blowing swiftly upstream, then sideways, then back again which made casting the size 24 Blue Wing Olive pattern with a 24 black biot emerger as a dropper just 16 inches from the microscopic curved shank of the lead fly.

We had to have our line set-up this way because it was the rising fish that Mister Haute Couture lifestyle photographer Jeff Holt and I were trying to entice. We were taking turns casting at 3 or 4 amazing brown trout sipping just under the surface film of the still water at the tail end of an eddy in the “Eagle Pool” section of the Frying Pan River.

Jeff was new to fly fishing but had the perfect temperament to get very good, very quickly…it was a treat for me to teach someone so eager to learn the nuances of presenting a small hand-tied fly to a feeding Brown trout and get the poetry of the motions.

I decided to take a few casts toward this selective, picky trout with a long reach cast, then high sticking with a slight rod lift with just a touch drag to emulate a delicious insect freshly leaving the water. That moment, BAM! my object of desire struck my small fly with a vengeance. This was the first time Jeff had seen a fish take a dry. At that moment I set the hook quickly to tag this trout just in the right spot of his mouth. He takes the classic short run upstream and then downstream, he did exactly what he was supposed to do. I brought his head up, skated him to the net as quickly as I could. I took just a second to remove the hook while our catch lied calmly half in my net, mostly submerged in the cool water of the Frying Pan. Both Jeff and I admired the spots and colors, its full majesty then within a minute was set free to live another day.

I realized I caught two things at that moment, a gorgeous fish and witness the enthusiasm of a soon to be a fishing good friend.

Now, isn’t that better than just showing a shallow photograph that only tells 1/100 of a second of the story? I can’t emphasize the power of a good story perfectly seasoned with a great image.

All I can say in my cheesy Matthew McConaughey way;

Write On, Right On, Write On!

Tight Lines

Glenn

 

The Shop is Gonna Hate Me for This

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No matter what Sport you decide to take up, it all requires stuff, stuff you need, stuff you want and stuff that just gets in the way. This article is about the extras, the add-ons, the things you buy because you think you need it but find it a year later in the gap between your car seats. It’s OK that you do that, I do that. Sometimes it’s cool just to have those things, This blog is only meant to bring it to ones attention, not divert your American right to buy anything you please. So read on…

  1. Newer is not always better. That widget may be the newest tech in the coolest colors but that does not make you any better of an angler, it makes you a chaser. Get good enough to need the latest.
  2. Don’t fall in love with shiny things. This is a hard one for anyone, pretty things are just that, pretty. I have dirty waders, a vest, spooged with floatant and whatever else. Hey, I still catch fish. Also, $150 anodized clipper to cut 5x tippit seems more of an ego boost than a necessity, for that price it better cook me dinner.
  3. If it’s sitting at the Point Of Sale, it’s a want, not a need. Yes, things at the counter are things you might need but you should already have. Remember they call it a POS for a reason.
  4. Don’t try to keep up with the fishing Jones’s. We all have that rich friend or obsessed friends who gets everything and goes everywhere. That’s cool as long as you can pay that credit card bill at the end of the month. If not, do what you can do, don’t go to the poor house because you want to live someone else’s life.
  5. Rooftop Rod Holders. Again, these things serve a purpose, for some. But most people, it’s a way to brag, showboat, set your “rig” apart, whatever.  It’s nice to have as a Guide but as your average Joe driving around the city with it and you only fish twice a year…you’re selling an image instead of filling a need. AND why would you want to invite a possible thief? Dude, if I was a dishonest chap, I would look at that Rod carrier as a reason to look in that ride because, man, this cats got some good stuff I might want.
  6. A leader straightener or any other weird things to clip onto yourself. Tippit, clippers, hemostats and maybe a knot tool, That’s it!
  7. Any Gimmick. If it claims to be Hi-Vis, “Fool any Fish”, Celebrity endorsed gadget, avoid it like the plague. If you do buy it, I have some top secret fish attracting stank to sell you as well as an affordable property on the Frying Pan.
  8. Any Fly that your brothers best friend’s uncle says is guaranteed! This is the best way to burn through your fly budget a buck or two at a time. Listen to the shop guys, local fishing report or what you hear Guides talking about at the bar that afternoon.
  9. Guide Beers. Truth is that guides like their beer and they like their shots, and some don’t, but most do. You may think it’s a way to get free advice and/or make a new friend to shoot the shit with… that can happen. But don’t count on it. Guides are good people but also keep things close to the vest. Not that they don’t want you to have success but we want to be an “active” part of your success, aka make a days wage and hopefully a good tip. To make this point more relatable, would you go up to the Golf Pro at your country club and ask him to give you free tips on your golf swing? Just say’n.
  10. Don’t be egotistical. Everyone is out there for the same reason, you weren’t born a Fly Fishing prodigy when you came screaming out of your mother so lighten up and be humble.

I am sure that you might call BS on some of these items on my list and others you might agree with, that is what makes this such a great sport, we all are in our own world and make our own decisions. Decisions like putting on a BWO emerger instead of an Adams Parachute like your buddy did with no success.

So if you want a machined aluminum tie-dyed autographed leader straightener with a web-enabled automatic blood knot tying feature, have at it, more power to you. I’ll stick to my years of diligently practicing my knot tying for the sheer joy of mastering a beautiful skill.

When Tempers Fly

Imagine this: You’re driving up the river and you see that one of your favorite spots is open. You pull over in the single car pull off, get out and start setting up your rod for some dry-fly action. As you get the last knot tied off and you look up at the glorious pool, you see another fisherman B-lining straight into “your” hole you were planning on dropping a line in…What do you do?

This happened to me just the other day, and to let it be known, I despise conflict. Not that I’m a pacifist, I excel at saying exactly what’s on my mind and can escalate the situation in two seconds flat into fist-a-cuffs and possibly violent scene, that can be a problem, a problem I don’t want. So I do everything I can do, even what I don’t want to do, to avoid a battle. But that does not mean that I let things slide.

It begs to be asked:

What do you do when someone snakes your water, steps up on you or steps in directly above you?

How do you react when you see another “show off” fishermen, hooping and hollering while keeping the fish out of the water so long that it is unlikely it will survive?

What if you see a someone catching and keeping fish in a catch and release area?

How about if someone is just plain rude, blatantly ignores basic rules of being decent?

I have been on the river a very long time and I have witnessed a lot of these scenarios. I won’t say I’ve seen it all because people are just crazy. What I have seen is enough. The question is what do you do?

I have been in some dicey situations out there, ranging from anglers breaking river etiquette to straight you verbal battles. In the heat of the moment I chose to think about one thing, It’s fishing. It’s nature.

What should be happening on the river what the world should always be. A Peaceful, quite, respectful place.

So I suggest if you’re confronted by any of the above listed, step back, take stock and defuse the situation. It’s fishing, try to not engage. Let the A-holes wallow in their anger and be the better person.

What you don’t know is why they are so angry? Something more lingering is at play, don’t let their problems become your problem.

If they stepped in on “your” water, simply move right or left and move on. If you want to passively punctuate your point home with some satisfaction…catch a fish in the hole they bypassed, nothing is sweeter than that.

Now what to do about the blatant rule and regulation violators, the ones not following the rules. First off, start a friendly conversation, find out if they even know that what they’re doing is not cricket. If they do know and just being dick about it, Call the DOW. People like that don’t care about the rules and truly don’t care about you or your opinion. If it gets tense, head somewhere else, it’s not worth it. If you can, snap a pic of them and get their license plate, save it for the cops if it gets out of hand.

What I do want to reiterate is we are all out there for the same reason, to enjoy the outdoors, catch some fish and have a good time. Leave the fighting and bickering for Reality TV.

Tight Lines

Guide Glenn Smith

The 10 Things to do Pre-Fly-Fishing Season!

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10 things you need to do BEFORE you hit the river!

It is the end of winter, I would expect that you’re getting anxious for the up coming fly Fishing season. I have done this routine for over 25 years and it is a great way to get primed and ready.

Here is a checklist of things to do ahead of time that will make your spring, summer, fall adventure successful.

  1. Do a dry run with your waders and boots. It is a great time to see if you need to repair leaks in your waders from last year, the ones you forgot about that soaked your socks. Also, check your boots of delaminating, wear and condition. Make sure they’re good enough or still fit you well. Soak your boots and change your laces.
  2. Go through all your flies. At the end of the seasons we just put our flies in our boxes, close them up, that’s it. What people forget about is that the hook itself can rust. Check to see if they still are in good shape and also take the time, with the help of an adult beverage, organize your boxes. I have a separate box for nymphs and dries as well as each family; Mayflies, Caddis, midge and so on. You never need to carry ALL of your patterns with you at all times. Do your homework, or ask your favorite shop what’s hatching and stock that. (but also keep a few secret bugs with you just incase.)
  3. Set new goals. Where do you WANT to fish? Learn a new technique? Take a float or do the high country? Maybe a stretch of new water would be interesting? Should you try the salt?
  4. Make sure to throughly clean, lube and/or rebuild or replace your fly reels. Look at the line, flip it if a double taper. Clean and “lube” your line. Check the drag, lube the spindle. Make sure it’s not dented or out of round. Again, alleviate a problems before it’s a problem
  5. Be sure to inspect your rod for nicks and the ferrels are square, not bent out of wack. How’s the cork? Do you even like that rod anymore?
  6. If you need to buy or replace anything, now is a great time. Fly Shops have great deals on last years inventory, big companies like Orvis, Sage, Simms might have deals on their websites. It’s a good time to find a deal. (don’t get caught up in “newer is better” trap… Truth is, there can be upgrades or new tech out there but you have to be so incredibly sophisticated to realize the difference, so last years stuff is awesome. Remember, it was the ‘New Tech” not that long ago.
  7. Make sure your fishing license is up to date and what you need to get it. In Colorado the rules have change up and you HAVE to have a drivers license or passport on you to get it at the shop. Be prepared. You can also get it ahead of time through a state run website, which I fully recommend.
  8. Obviously, do your inventory of disposables and consumables. Leaders, tippet, floatant, strike indicators, so on. If any of this stuff is old, like over a year, think about replacing it. Nothing is worse that losing that state record fish due to line failure.
  9. Practice, practice and practice. It’s time to rig up that rod and start casting in the yard or park. Make it fun, set up hoops and cans to cast into or towards and master the feel of the rod (again) and judging your distances. It will pay off you when you see that sipping fish under that branch 30 feet up.
  10. Get out there, enjoy yourself and remember why you’re there. Please don’t make it about your Instagram, hunting for that big fish or filtered pic to share for “likes”. You’re out there to be part of the experience, not to think you’re the next fly fishing god or goddess, planning on becoming a fly fishing “influencer” to get free stuff from the big companies or magazine mentions, it’s a touch sad really…Last thing you want to do is disrespect the fly fishing pioneers before you and cheapen what they wholeheartedly loved to the core of their soul for a free hat.

 

I plan on doing a post on the Instagramination(TM) of fly fishing in another future post.

As we say;

Tight Lines

Guide Glenn Smith

A Nibble of My “For Kids of All Ages” Fly Fish’n Book!

This is a big thing for me to announce today but I feel it’s about time that I do! I have been working on a children’s fly fishing book called  Fly Fish’n Fly Fish’n! I have been working on it for quite a while.

I personally dislike most of the books about teaching fly fishing to kids for one main reason: they’re really not fun to read, they’re dry and geared for a very small window of ages. I wanted to write a book that would be fun for kids as well as adults. I believed I nailed it.

It was important to me to create something that was a bit more broad, smart and beautiful to look at. That means no cheesy illustrations, just great photos, line drawings, a fun to read layout with real examples of real places, real gear and a contemporary feel.

It is written in a verse style and fragmented by design.

So let me know your thoughts, I’m excited about it! Here is a sample page…

Guide Glenn Smith

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Aspen Press Is The Best!

 

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Summer is over and fall is defiantly in the air. There is no question that winter is right around the corner and godspeed to that! We need the snow, we need the snow pack and we need the water (desperately) to bring the river and water levels back up to it glory.

The fact is, trout need water, period. So do your rain/snow/moisture dance to entice the weather gods to do their thing.

Enough about that, lets talk about me! LOL

This spring I was asked by Aspen Sojourner to be part of the summer issue featuring stories about fly fishing in the Roaring Fork Valley from a guides POV. Also included in the article was the legendary Tim Heng and the master “guidess” Shannon Outing.

It was a ton of fun to do, the photos are great and is so well written, click the link below!

Thank you Sojourner!

Best

Guide Glenn Smith

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Here is the link: Aspen Sojourner Aspen Fly Fishing