In fishing, as in life, it’s all about expectations. If you are like me, you have to temper them from time to time. My mind often gets the better of me. I recreate my best days on the water, forgetting about the other 99% of the time. Sometimes reality lives up, even surpasses our best dreams; usually it doesn’t.
Control your mind, I tell myself.
One trick you can play on yourself is to fish a stream you have never fished before. One that doesn’t get much (if any) press. A stream that might not even have a fish in it. Lower your expectations. Catching a big fish on these days is like winning the lottery. Catching anything is unexpected. The focus is on exploring, learning something new. In many ways, this is what fishing is all about. It’s easy to loose track of that when you’ve gotten used to pounding fish on familiar water.
I thought about this today while on my way to a small stream. Hardly anyone fishes this river. The substrate is all sand. It is shallow and without much structure. The banks are lined with alder and it’s hard to get a cast in where you need to. I found a pod of very small brookies willing to take a streamer. It was nothing special. I fished something like eight or nine runs and caught fish in only one of them. But it was better than I expected. I'll be back, only with higher expectations. Damn, I hate it when that happens.