Is having a game plan really the best way to begin your fly fishing day? In the world of sports a game plan is always needed. NFL football teams will have certain “go to” plays that they will utilize throughout the game that have been practiced and practiced. Stay with this game plan and keep focused. This discipline is what makes champions. Or is it? The Trick Play that the Philadelphia Eagles used in the second quarter of the Super Bowl this year was far from the norm. The Eagles needed to fool the Patriots. They did this by changing up their game plan. Basically having no game plan at all.
What has this to do with Fly Fishing? Everything. We are not dealing with humans. Humans are predictable. Many fisherman say that fish are predictable also, but they are not. To have a game plan when you are fly fishing is the worst thing you can have. What worked yesterday may or may not work today. There are many variables that can change the behaviour of our prey. Cloud cover, water temperature, barometric pressure, fisherman pressure etc. We have to be able to deal with these changes. If your game plan is to cast the bigger streamers all day or fish the size 18 Pheasant tail nymphs which have been working for the last 2 weeks you most likely will meet up with some bad luck.
When this quote begins to run through you head “come on fish, where are you?” you have lost all control of your day. It doesn’t matter how good you are. We have all said this on the river. This is when I stop and regroup. All the usual flies and methods obviously are not working. The fish have changed. Change with them. Go deeper, go slower, strip faster, fish shallower water or deeper water. Do not get caught up in your game plan. Change it up. Go old school.