Spring Slump

I wrote the following words almost a year ago when I was deep in the midst of a fishing slump. Since it also applies to the present day, I thought I would share it. I apologize for any out-dated pop culture or weather references. Enjoy!

You could say I’m in a slump. In fact I would readily agree with your assessment.

Fishing slumps are both the most disheartening and motivating occurrence that can beset a fisherman. The problem is, a real fisherman shouldn’t have to be motivated in any way, shape or form. Spending hours standing in cool, clear flowing water with warm sun on your neck and gorgeous scenery all around generally doesn’t take much inner probing. Unfortunately, in the midst of a slump all the joy can quickly bob out of reach downriver like that No. 18 Adams I dropped because I was rushing my knot.

I could surely blame the weather. It was too cold in early spring so the frost didn’t thaw soon enough. Too much rain made the streams soupy and brown. Even the 70 degree bluebird days probably pushed the trout into deeper, darker holes where I couldn’t get them.

I could blame extraneous circumstances on not being able to fish prime times. That deadline at work that kept me in the office until 8pm on a buggy evening. All the friends getting married out of state, where dropping $40 on a fishing license for 2 hours of staring at water I have never seen before, doesn’t seem like a profitable return on investment. Even the infamous Mayweather-Pacquiao fight that forced me to get off the water just an hour before the hatch hit.

I could blame my lack of top notch gear for not giving me the tools to appropriately seduce wily browns. Is the beginner’s fly rod kit that I purchased in college really even designed with catching fish in mind? Or is my gear made solely to trick some newbie into thinking that they are fly fishing simply because they have a neon green foamy line attached to their rod.

I could blame the flies that attempt to imitate the most delicate and varied creatures on God’s green earth. Who decided a few twists of thread and tufts of feather could double for a dainty, intricate Baetis? That’s like using a Sears mannequin as Mark Wahlberg’s stunt double in a Hollywood blockbuster.

I’m sure my brother would say that my skills just aren’t honed to the point of fooling a fat native Brookie. The fly shop would tell me that I should hire a guide because they have been finding 20-inchers on the river all season. My dad would say that sometimes the fish just don’t want to bite and there is nothing to do about it. Tom Rosenbauer would tell me to re-listen to his podcasts for the 16th time.

I contend that the trout rapture came and all the fish in Michigan were devout believers.

A slump is something that everyone faces at different points in life and in different areas of life. The only thing to do is press on and find a different reason for doing the thing that is frustrating you so badly. For instance, maybe I should keep fishing because it’s one of the more admirable ways of wearing out my rotator cuff.

So I’ll take a few weeks off. I’ll spend time with my wife. Barbecue with friends. Go to the beach and get sun burnt. Maybe I’ll play a few rounds of golf and realize there are more frustrating things than not catching fish. Also, that breaking a 5-iron is easier than breaking a 5-weight.

And then I’ll find myself back on the upper Manistee, dodging booze cruisers, searching for the dumbest trout in the river, and having the time of my life.

One Response to “Spring Slump

  • Great post, any fly fisherman worth his salt has been in a similar situation. It is what makes fishing so much fun! Keep up the good work guys!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.