Photograph by Steve Barnett

Monday, 8 August 2011

Visitor or Resident?

It is remarkable how two anglers on the same river, on the same day, in the same conditions, can feel differently about the fishing.  Saturday was a very hot, sunny day, as days go in England it was anyway.  It made sense to fish until dark and during the day to look for rising fish in shaded places.

One angler reported afterwards that it had been important to keep changing the fly to suit what was being eaten.  He didn't stick with a favourite fly.  He also happened to take his time and invested heavily in those three principles...

He signed off, filled with joy, saying that it was as if fishing in Dry Fly Paradise.

The other didn't think so.  He had found it very difficult to find rising fish but was happy enough that he had caught some on a fly he favoured.  He reported that he had fished  "Pretty much the whole stretch........just walked and cast at any likely looking spot.........good job I had the whole day!"

This might be a choice deliberately made as a visitor wanting to see all 8 miles of the water available on this stretch of river.  It was a choice that was very likely to gravitate against the angler as it left little time to get to know a piece of the water well enough to cease being a VISITOR and instead become, even  if only for a short time, a RESIDENT.

Numbers of fish caught are not all that important here but enjoyment is.  I can't help feeling the second angler missed out by his VISITOR status whilst the first angler enjoyed the benefit of becoming a RESIDENT for the day.

It is hard to explain.  I hope you can understand what I am trying to say here...

Regular Rod


  1. Actually, you hit the nail on the head, especially in high trout density waters, where it makes most sense to stick with a good pool until you solve the biology, as there are plenty of fish around. May be different in freestone pocketwater with few fish. Otherwise, like Tennyson's Ulysses we bumble on unrequited:

    Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
    Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
    For ever and for ever when I move.


  2. I have fished alongside chaps who like to go quickly from hole to hole while missing tons of spots that are holding trout. I usually follow behind them and fish the spots they skip. I end up getting the evil eye because I am catching fish and they are taking all of the prime spots and not catching anything. Stealth on these small streams is crucial to catching trout. You spook one, you spook them all. Not only are they missing the fish rise, but they also miss all the beauty that surrounds us while were out there. Great Post. Tight Lines.

  3. I like the visitor/resident principle very much. Is it your own trian of thought because it makes a great deal of scence, the like of which is not uncommon on this particular blog.

  4. Even if it made no sense at all to me I think I am at that stage where it is inevitable to want to be in harmony as much as possible with this preferred world by the side of water. It is just a happy coincidence that it often adds to the successes on the day. There is something wonderful about that feeling of being where you belong, where you have an ancient right to be, where your natural rĂ´le is to be who you really are, and ought to be, - "Homo sapiens sapiens" the innocent predator!

    Regular Rod