We learned the hard way so you don’t have to

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We learned the hard way so you don’t have to

Discovering new places and fishing for new species means taking your lumps, getting humbled and eventually feeling the electric buzz of a bent rod tied to a fish that blows your mind and recalibrates your life’s priorities.

You have dreamed of fishing in a far-off place. To make that dream a reality, you’ve already taken the first step by coming to Hobo Flyfishing.

We are here to help, and we’re not going to bombard you with hero shots and guarantee you will be the next guy holding that slobber-inducing fish. It might happen, you never know, but if you set the bar at a lifetime fish on your first outing, you may be disappointed.

If your expectations are more realistic, such as learning new waters and tactics, hanging out with some salty anglers and catching cool fish, you’re on your way to some fantastic experiences.

When embarking on an angling adventure, it helps to look past the postcard photos and grip and grin shots and plug into the real world of the traveling angler. You will have your moments of glory, but you will also feel a lung-burning climb up the learning curve.

When it all comes together there will be soul-stirring satisfaction and gratitude that you accomplished something amazing, and you were a participant in the process, not the guy writing a check and being handed a trophy for showing up.

We at Hobo Flyfishing have fished in numerous states and countries and learned many things the hard way. Through a combination of preparation, perseverance, dumb luck and flexibility, we caught a long list of fish in off-the-radar places.

Here’s a peek behind the curtain of those trips and a straight shot of honesty with no chaser from the angling school of hard knocks.

Do your homework

Traveling to a new place and catching new fish, or a familiar species in a different way, is a great way to broaden your fishing skills and add fish to your resume. The best way to stack the odds in your favor is to gather the best intel, go equipped with the right gear, and have an open mind and a willingness to learn.

Don't over think the fish

Catching any fish isn’t that difficult, no matter where you are. All fish have to eat (except salmon and steelhead migrating from the ocean). They also have to avoid predators. If you put something in front of a fish that looks like food, and you avoid spooking it, you stand a decent chance of hooking up. This is a simple concept we sometimes overlook when we elevate certain fish to god-like status. Don’t let them psych you out. They’re just fish trying to eat and avoid being eaten.

Expect to be humbled

No matter how much homework you do and fresh intel you collect, at some point you will still feel like a stumbling rookie, or things will simply be different than you anticipated. It’s part of the game. Accept it with some humor, humility and get over it. You probably won’t be a natural, and if a guide tells you so, he (or she) is probably humping your leg for a tip.

Improve your casting

Your biggest shortcoming will probably be your casting skills. That’s no knock, it’s just that your casting skills are geared toward your usual type of fishing. Practice all those situations you try to avoid, like casting into the wind and with a heavy fly, and you will be partway up the learning curve before you leave home.

Avoid tequila and popcorn (together)

Popcorn and tequila is not a well-balanced meal. That should be self explanatory, but if you start with tequila and add some salty, buttery popcorn as an appetizer that transforms into the main course after a few more tequilas, it seems like fine meal… until morning. Then you will agree it’s not.

Don't overlook any fish

Don’t fixate on the marquee fish and ignore others that may be more plentiful and easier to catch. There’s no shame in having fun catching fish, even if they aren’t the “cool” fish, and you can use the skills you develop catching them as stepping stones to the famously finicky ones.

Accept what's beyond your control

Expect guides to know the area they fish and the most effective ways to catch fish there. Don’t expect them to control the weather, water conditions, make fish magically appear, make them bite, or have them change their habits to suit your angling preferences.

Be a team mate

If you’re sight fishing in the flats, don’t wait for your guide to spot the fish. Guides are trained to spot fish, and they’re going to spot more than you, but two people searching will cover more water than one. Working as a team is more exciting than passively waiting to be told what to do.

Embrace the suck

The simple reality of traveling and fishing is sometimes things go sideways. You can let it ruin your trip, or you can roll with it. Things going wrong will help you appreciate it more when things go right.