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Top Fly Fishing Excuses For Top Fly Anglers

Top Fly Fishing Excuses For Top Fly Anglers

As anglers we rarely have a bad day fishing without a collection of excuses in our armoury to save face and protect our egos. Sometimes when the going is tough a pre-emptive or pre-meditated excuse can save the day. It may be the result of poor confidence, competition nerves or daunting venues maybe. But either way, by nature of the sport we need a few good excuses in the back pocket to keep us sane so here’s a few of my favourites for your next outing -heaven forbid we blame ourselves right?


1. All the best spots were taken. This can be a sure-fire excuse, often fish do congregate in particular areas, friends will be understandable and particularly on small waters are unlikely to call bul***it on this excuse. PRO TIP - Do not use this defence for large lakes and rivers, there is likely to be another spot you just haven’t found it yet.

2. I didn’t have the right equipment. Wrong fly box, incorrect line density, no waders - the list could be endless. And remember, the best fisherman always blame their tools, because the best fisherman can never be wrong. Be careful with this one, your partner may not know how much you spend on fly fishing gear but your pals do! PRO TIP - Forgetting your Tenkara rod does not constitute a legitimate excuse.

3. Too many predators eating the fish. Cormorants, Goosanders, Pike, Perch, Zander, Otters and Killer Whales all take their toll on the game fish population, but don’t forget you are doing the same thing! PRO TIP - Your complaints may not fall well with the better informed, so to save looking like an idiot do your research on predation first.

4. The conditions were poor. Now we’re talking, weather, every fly fisherman’s favourite excuse with unlimited variables to blame on your poor performance. Wind direction, speed and change is always a winner, casting into the wind, the find affecting fish feeding areas, hatches etc. Too sunny, not enough sunlight, cloudy but too cloudy. UV light, air pressure, humidity, air density – you get the idea. Pick a few and use them liberally, an act of God is a guaranteed way to absolve yourself of any responsibility. PRO TIP - Be cautious using when guided, often the guide will use this one first so make sure you have a back up. It's likely they will couple this with 'you should have been here last week' so be wary of using a conditions based excuse.

5. They haven’t stocked the water. Obviously only applies to put and take waters, but you always use the amended 'there's not fish in here at all' version. PRO TIP - Be careful not to write it on Facebook and not expect the fishery manager to comment on their recent stocking the day before your trip…… Just saying, it’s happened.

6. I couldn’t match the hatch. Those wild fish can be really tricky to fool, all anglers know this and would welcome this excuse with a warm reception. PRO TIP - Do not use this excuse on stocked waters!!! Yeah really, I didn’t see many blob hatches on Rutland Water last week but the fish ate them. Save this one for the Lochs and Rivers, then people won’t laugh you out of the room.

7. I’ve got a sore arm. This is but one example of any physical ailment that can be employed as a fishing excuse, generally ones resulting in poor casting technique are a natural winner. This way it deflects the poor casting and low catch rate in one simple yet palatable excuse. A timeless classic classic. PRO TIP - Take it to the next level by wearing a wrist support or similar visual medical aid. This way your excuse is in play before you open your mouth.

8. The fish are feeding at night. I had a Tarpon guide in Belize use this one on me to great effect after blanking on the flats. Seemed legit. Not sure how well this will work for Trout, but i'm guessing that people generally won't have enough evidence to question it. PRO TIP - Use this for all species, see above.

So there we go, several go to excuses that will ensure nobody will ever think your aren’t a world class angler and mock you like a village idiot. I’d be really interested to hear of any excuses I’ve missed, or even better any new, modern or emerging ones that let me get ahead of the excuse curve. I have a competition next weekend and a few fresh excuses would be welcome.

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Tight lines, 

Ben.

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