Tuesday, May 3, 2011
"Why does a Frenchman kiss a lady's hand?....He has to start somewhere. In either seduction or fly fishing it is silly to proceed without a plan. This book is my plan for selecting a dry fly or emerger pattern to fish. And besides, no one is clamoring for me to write a book on seduction..."
-Gary LaFontaine in the preface to his excellent book The Dry Fly: New Angles .
Norman Mailer was a brilliant yet controversial writer, poet, playwright, novelist, and more. In his later years it was no secret that Carole Mallory was his mistress. Seducing him probably wasn't all that difficult....I mean, he was on his sixth wife at the time. Painters, authors, chefs, and a myriad others seek to seduce and I think what we do to the fish as fly anglers is no different.
The most important thing to understand is that seduction only works when the other party is cooperative, is contributing, and is in some way interested in what we are doing. That's the rub. Finding an interested subject.....again I believe our job astream is not much different.
Simply put, 'seduction' is the process of deliberately enticing some form of engagement. 'Seduce' stems from Latin and literally means "to lead astray", or in applicable language, to be led into making a choice that would otherwise not be made if the subject were not being controlled at the moment by desire or senses. Its a lot easier to seduce when the present state of the subject makes them open to it. And as anglers, if we want to be successful at whatever form of seduction we have in mind, we have to pick out the right targets......those who are most likely to fall for it. And yet often as anglers we treat all of our targets the same....come up with that magic cast, magic fly, magic that opens every fish mouth.....and that doesn't happen. Maybe in some things but not in fly fishing. It is important and what matters most is seeking out the right targets.
A lot of folks wonder how we catch numbers of fish consistently on guided trips. I believe the reason is pretty simple. I know the places well and have fished them in all conditions and seasons and am familiar with them and where the fish will be before a cast is ever made. We do a lot of nymphing at certain times of the year, and beginners are often amazed at the numbers we can amass. Again, I believe the answer is simple. Trout feed 80-90% of the time subsurface. That is a given. We spend our entire day fishing with flies I know work only to places I know the fish will be and using a method that corresponds to the way they almost always are feeding.....subsurface. Seeking out the right targets.
It works the same at other times of the year with the dry fly.....and sometimes in some places it can occur with dry flies all year. Two such friends and anglers Dr. Jim Sellers and Bill Feisler, both of Greensboro, have almost magical abilities with a dry fly. They know where fish are most likely to rise, what they will likely take, possess almost flawless skills to deliver the fly to the target...and they spend their time fishing to fish where they are most likely to rise with something that they are most likely to eat. Seeking out the right targets.
It takes time on the water, reading, studying, experimenting, and you have to be alert and soak in all that you come across. Keeping a fishing log, fishing a lot, and learning from your time on the water all contribute to success. Its a process of learning to spend most of your time in places where the method and setupflies/rigging you are using are being constantly presented to fish that are most susceptible to fall to your presentations.
Because in the end, the art of seduction lies in seeking out the right targets.