When getting skunked isn’t a bad thing

I’m like anyone else when I fish, I want to catch fish. That feeling of seeing your dry fly sink under the water; the feeling that your entire arm feels from the reverberations of the tightening line are things that no one  ever truly becomes accustomed to. I bet you can fish for a hundred years and still have those feelings of excitement when any fish feels obliged to take your fly. 

I’m also like anyone else when I fish, I too get skunked. As someone who hasn’t been fishing for a hundred years, there are any number of mistakes I can make that almost ensures that no trout will want what I’m offering. We’ve all had these days no doubt. Regardless of the care you take as you approach the next pocket of water; the thought that goes into selecting the best possible fly; some days on the water you go home without brining even a panfish to hand.

However; let me offer the radical notion that getting skunked isn’t always a bad thing. 

A few weeks ago I made the short drive to the town where I grew up to fish the LeTort. This is a spring creek that having grown up with it, I took for granted. Now, as the years have been added and the physical distance increased, it has taken on a much different role for me. The day was absolutely fantastic! The weather was warm but not unbearable so. A nice breeze was blowing but not enough to give even the smallest of dry flies fits. So there I was, a perfect day on a perfect spring creek. 

After three or four hours of fishing all I could brag about was having moved 5 fish and losing one before I could bring it to hand. As I packed up though to head to the Yellow Breeches I couldn’t have felt more at ease and happy having spent a great morning on the water. 

Perhaps getting skunked isn’t so bad when you have a great stretch of water in front of you. Perhaps when you recall the waters history and legend and characters that are entwined within it, not catching a fish isn’t so bad after all.  Perhaps spending time on the water with a warm breeze and the sun making everything grow is as good as any to spend the day. 

So next time you’re on the water, not catching anything other than sun burn, have a look around. Odds are, if the worst part of your day is not catching a fish, you’re having a good day.