IT’S NOT easy to write a fishing report. Most outdoor writers are inspired by success and feel that accomplishments translate into good advice.
This can be a slippery slope in terms of fishing. It has been my experience that success must be closely examined and other variables including coincidence, luck, atmospheric conditions, and divine intervention must be evaluated.
It is not uncommon, for example, to have a great day on the water, catch lots of fish and go home with the sense that I really have things figured out. A day later, on the same water, utilizing the same approach, the results can be disastrous. Because of this phenomenon, I am careful to offer advice — which may seem like the cornerstone of a good fishing report. Instead, I write about my experiences and hope for the best.
I have written thousands of fishing reports and, while many describe an adventure filled with excitement and beautiful fish, an equal number describe making a complete fool out of myself.
It is up to the reader to filter the information and formulate their own approach to catching fish. Because of this humble attitude, I never have to lie, embellish or dramatize the events of my fishing trips. I’m putting it all out there, so to speak.
It is not my attempt to dissuade readers or somehow lessen the value of my reports. I have been managing fisheries in New Hampshire for over 25 years and I’ve seen and done everything related to the topic. I learn something every day and can provide valuable information without even trying. It may be best to read these reports slowly and carefully. You may find yourself mimicking my approach and finding great success.
In contrast, some of my stories will serve as a sound representation of what not to do. Either way, my love for fishing will be contagious and entertaining. If you find yourself a better fisherman because of something I wrote, please give me credit. If you fail under the same circumstances, please don’t blame me.
My appreciation of angling opportunities in New England is great and I have chased down every species that swims and eats. I have a passion for flyfishing but spend an equal number of hours throwing big lures at trophy bass in the hot, summer months. In the spring, I troll for landlocked salmon and in the fall, I cast at spawning salmon. My winters are spent on the hardwater trying to lure lake trout, perch and northern pike from their icy world.
Between seasons, I write and read about fishing. I tie flies, repair gear, and buy a lot of stuff that I can’t afford.
In summary, fishing is a wonderful sport because it can be difficult and no one has it figured out completely. A bad day on the water can be frustrating but a good one can inspire a participant more than any other sport. If fishing were easy and success guaranteed, a mysterious element would be removed and it would never be exciting.
Unlike everything else, practice does not make perfect and you just have to keep trying. I know I will.