ON THE LINE: Year In Review

With the 2014 season fast approaching, I thought I would write a year in review blog post, one more about a great experience that I had and then start on my new 2014 blog, combining information and experiences.

I really jumped into fishing this past year, both with a spinner and a fly rod. I enjoy both aspects of each, but over the year I constantly went to the fly rod, as it seemed more productive.

I had a lot of success this year at both East Pit and Muir lakes. At Muir, I was able to land a fish in the 22-inch range. It was awesome and an easy fight.

One thing that I learned this year is playing the fish. I learned a lot about it, actually. There is a lot of talk about light tackle and how exciting it is, as you can feel the fish better and it takes more finesse to battle with the fish but not break the line. I think you should match the tackle to the size of fish you are going after. Don’t use six-pound line for a 20-pound fish – the longer the fish is on your line, the less likely it is that it will survive the fight. Even if you take the time to do things the right way – wet your hands, keep the fish in the water and remove the hook quickly – if you spend a lot of time playing the fish, it may swim away, but a lot of the time the fish swims straight down to the bottom and dies of exhaustion. This is why it is important to match your equipment. The fight can be a lot of fun, but this tactic will increase the mortality rate for the fish you’re after.

Some of the other knowledge that I took away from this past year includes knowing your surroundings, what the fish like to eat and once you know that, try going away from it from time to time. If you see hatches in the air or bugs on the water, try them out. If the fish are not biting, try something else. The best way for me to catch a fish at Muir is to troll a fly behind my float tube. I figured this out by accident, and by putting the pieces together after my accidental discovery.

I want you all to remember one thing: nature was here before us, and even after we are gone nature will be here. Let’s take the time to give it respect. Clean up your mess and somebody else’s. Have respect for the animals around you. Learn the proper way to handle fish, to increase its chance of survival. The excitement of catching a fish or taking down big game is an amazing rush, but we don’t have to get caught up in it. Remember that an animal had to go through pain and suffering for us to get that rush. I’m not saying I am against hunting or against fishing, I just believe we need to bring some respect back into it.

Until next time, keep your rod tip up.

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