A Ton of Fish

I used to own and operate a small masonry company
in another life. The size of the job was often measured in tons. The
work was very hard and heavy, so to break monotony we would often
participate in some classic debates. A good one that stands out was”
what class in school could you not live without?” Obviously Idid’t say English. PFC Kelly, a newly discharged Marine oddly enough said History, I think EZ E said football practice. That led to a few days of spirited arguments. In the end the answer was obvious and agreed upon…..math, we worked with tape measures and transits after all. Even a dumb bunch of stoneslingers understood, we just can’t live without some basic knowledge of numbers.

Fly fishing uses numbers a lot. In the guiding game though I find nothing good comes from the use of numbers. This fact doesn’t come right away to new guides. Numbers are the easiest way to impress our boss, clients and other guides when we are new at this. I have developed a level of patience with new guides when it comes to numbers, much the like men I respected in my new days of this game did for me. Let me be clear here, without numbers, we as fisherman would have no logical way to define fly size, rod weight, cfs or water temperature, so we obviously need some math to survive.Fish can’t add, they don’t understand how long they are or how much they weigh; Math is as useful to a fish as 12x is to a Tarpon fisherman.

Nothing good can come from using inches, pounds or number of fish
caught when it comes to guiding. Getting a client excited about the
possibility of a 30” trout or a 53 fish day before you’ve even seen him
or her fish is a bad move for a guide. It’s usually just an ego thing
that most clients see through anyways, but the ones that don’t, start
expecting things you can’t deliver. I had to pass a couple of classes
before I was hired as a guide and the teaching didn ’t end after I was
hired. I was lucky enough to spend my early years in this business
around some of the best guides in the business and friends or not, they
taught me a ton. I never heard guides like Kevin, Dano, BP , Hate or
Worries ever use numbers and I noticed. Fly fishing requires you pay
very good attention to learn some of the less obvious things that help
you fail or succeed. Guiding is no different. “We had a great day” or
“it was tough out there” says it all, especially in or around the shop.

Lets just say some ass munch of a big headed, mediocre guide comes
strolling into the shop one day and explains at the top of his pot stained lungs
that his boat landed 53 fish that day. Let’s just say that the shop is
full of guides and clients just finishing days they seemed to think
were very successful 12 fish days. Lets just say ol “Fudge” behind the
counter uses that 53 number as a sales pitch on the phone the next few
days. What’s the score here? Who won? No one, just sayin.

I’ll be honest, I listen to a lot of numbers being used on rivers and in fly
shops, but what I hear is more like this; “we landed 4 fish over 17
inches today” means you landed a couple of 14inchers, “we landed 20 fish today” sounds like 10 to me. I’ve seen a few fish in the net over my time fishing, but honestly I still can’t say what 10 pounds of trout look like. I can only hope that doesn’t count against me as a guide.

Sorry, I could not resist slamming a picure of a hog up for this one. The disclamer is it was stocked, pellet fed and in VERY private water. A classic example of what not to brag about to a client your taking to public water.

Definition of the month: SHAY DOG : a white fish/ mr. whitey/ mountain bonefish/ Smittys favorite game fish/ not to be mistaken for Ms. Whitey