Anyone can catch a limit! Preparation, planning, and education can help you to fill a limit of fish. Once this task has been accomplished, it is time for something more. Challenge yourself to raise your skill level and ability.
Fishing is not just about catching your limit. It is about testing it, and discovering the many other aspects of the day. Fish are just the excuse to go fishing. The experience, adventure, fellowship, and destinations are what fishing is truly about. These limits will never be filled!
Set higher standards for your limits. For example, don’t just catch 5 trout, catch 5 BIG trout, or 1 of each species available, or 5 Golden Trout. This will require you to catch more fish and raise your skill level.
The other day I arrived at the trout stream and saw that many trout were rising to a stonefly hatch. Instead of using my spinning rod and bait, I pulled out my fly rod. A size 12 Stimulator matched the bugs perfectly. Several of the trout in the pool were Golden Trout. These albino rainbows are a hybrid rainbow trout that are easily seen, but hard to catch. Today’s goal was to catch a limit of “Goldens”! I threw back dozens of other trout, with the expectation of meeting my goal. Golden trout look amazing when the take a dry fly. Other bait fishermen were in awe as I released more than I kept. After keeping 4 of my 5 Golden trout limit, I hooked a fat 15” rainbow! This BIGGER trout went onto the limit too. My Golden Limit was almost met but…
Know how to correctly perform Catch and Releases. Forceps are a must! Keep the fish wet, and quickly release them. Wet your net before you net the fish. A rubber, or nylon net are best. Cloth nets wipe the protective mucous coating from fish.
If you draw blood, keep the fish. Even if you release a bleeding fish, they will die. Normally this means damage to their gills. If the fish is stressed too much, they will die. Fighting the fish too long only adds stress to the fish, and increases lactic acid into their muscles. This means that the fish taste will change. Most fish need to be landed in less than 3 minutes to ensure release or to maintain flavor. Obviously, larger fish take more time. Match your gear, line, and drag to the fish you are tackling.
Treat your catch right! If you plan to release your catch, don’t drag your fish onto a sand or gravel bar, take photos for 15 minutes, squeeze, drop, or abuse the fish in other ways. If the fish is on the menu, dispatch it, and store it on ice for best eating outcomes.
The only way to catch more fish, is to catch more fish! On other days, I try to catch just 1 species of fish, or fish over a certain size, or just fish on a certain lure, or type of gear. Filling the limit with the final fish can be challenging, but the skill, and lessons learned, are more important than the fish in your freezer.
Teaching others to catch their limit is an even bigger challenge. This is the best way to measure how great of an angler you think you are. It takes special, and talented fishermen, to lead others down the fishing path. These future fishermen will ensure that the future of fishing will continue.
Great fishermen go for their limits!
For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.