“It’s NOT just like riding a bike, John!” My buddy Josh yelled from across the river as I lost another fish. This type of banter is very common when on the water with good friends, but it also made me realize that practice is an important part of fly-fishing.
A brutally cold winter, working with a new puppy (not exactly a fishing dog yet) and my winter job forced me into a two month break from the river. During the time away I was able to restock and organize my fly boxes, but my hook set was a little rusty. Actually, everything felt a little clumsy; sloppy casts, poor line control, delayed reactions, etc. In that first day back I hooked about 10 fish, but was only able to land two of them. At the end of the day I realized that all the time spent on the river is valuable. Each time out you are learning, improving and practicing.
Spring is the time to practice and start getting ready for the summer season. Get your fishing gear out of the closet, or shed, and get organized. Practice your cast in the back yard or the park. Head to you local river or stream to knock off the rust. Anytime spent practicing now pays off once you are in the midst of your favorite summer hatch.