Monday, November 30, 2015

What about bob?!

Meet bob

You know bob! 

As in bobber or if it makes you feel better indicator, strike indicator, float or cork. Whatever you want to call it "the bob" has been under attack and the battle is heating up thanks to recent publications such as Kirk Deeter's, "Is It Time for Bobber-Free Water?" and the rebuttal article by Louis Cahill, "Kirk Deeter’s One Man War On The Bobber". Louis indicates that Kirk has lost his mind! Personally, with all due respect guys, I think you're both mental! Or, and this is probably more likely, you've decided to jump on board the already fast moving train and ride a publicity stunt to fuel your own blogs. You know the old saying all publicity is good even if it is bad. No shortage of this mentality today...


Do I dare say you're both right and you're both wrong!
Why would I even get into this subject? I think part of me wants to prove that these guys are just out for attention and neither really feel strongly one way or the other.

Kirk comes right out and says he is not against indicators but in the same opening statement he clearly indicates we should moderate their use. Ahhh, OK! I think that pretty much is a strike against indicators. Then Kirk suggest we should consider bobber seasons or bobber free water. Ok now I understand why Louis thinks you have gone mental. Then what Kirk?...cigar and scotch zones, redneck zones, tenkara zones...give me a break! More regulation is not the answer!

Don't misunderstand Kirk, I get your frustration.
I watch as the majority of anglers do the one technique over and over as if there is no other way to catch fish. They camp out on one seam, make the same cast over and over and catch dink after dink and call it success. Or they come along and step in front of you when your swinging flies through a run and act if you should be fishing upstream and not down. Some even have enough nerve to try and show you how to bobber fish. Some just don't get it!

Let's face it guys there is a majority of fly anglers on the water that are a one pony show. They have no interest in learning anything new and can't understand why anybody would fish less effective methods. We could easily place blame on the fly fishing industry for promoting quantity rather than quality. Now I'm starting to sound like some cigar puffing pretentious snob. Those who know me know that's not who I am, NOT EVEN CLOSE!

Funny part is that more often than not I have way more success than most bobber heads do. When I step onto a river and see nothing but bobbers I get a good sense of having an advantage because I am going to present a fly in a way fish aren't use to seeing.

And Kirk I've been a guide too and guess what, many anglers would not understand a guide trying to teach them something new. Many don't want to learn something new. Many hire a guide once a year and expect the same results everytime they go fishing. The anglers say "you showed me how to fly fish last year, let's do that again. Oh and I have not fished since last year." There's nothing wrong with this. It's like the one time a year I go golfing, I have fun and I don't need to achieve pro status. Just let me enjoy it!

But I get Kirk. He is pointing out that the bob has become mainstream and he doesn't like it. I get that too! I don't like mainstream music, TV or anything else mainstream for that matter. I don't want to follow the bobber heads. I want to lead my own way and find my own success. I get disappointed too after having paid good money to a guide who only wants to fish bob. Please let me swing this run Mr. Guide! I'm not tipping you based on how many fish we net.

Louis...you bring many valid arguments for bob to the table.
Fish eat nymphs. This is no secret and if you employ nymph tactics you can rest assured that fish will get caught in times when many other techniques don't work effectively at all.

True also that some very good anglers today use bob on a daily basis. Their proficiency with bob and nymphs is amazing. It is a talent to be a really good nymph fisherman and not every angler possesses the patience and skill that really makes bob into an art form, although I think most bob anglers just go through the motions and catch some fish in the process. I know a few anti-bobs and mostly their outspoken reasoning against bob is hidden behind the fact that they do not have the skills or patience to learn to nymph fish effectively. I'm talking about guys who are one step away from purposely breaking their rods if they had to deal with one one more snag and/or break off. Be honest, we all know someone like this.

Which brings me to break offs!
Personally I hate picking up the left behind trash. Little bits of styrofoam or stick on bright colored foam or snagging river bottom and coming up with a left behind nymph rig. You can always tell a popular spot in the river from the river bank trees being adorned with more indicator choices than found at the local fly shop. Yes, we all lose flies now and again but most days I come home with the same number of streamers or dries that I started with. I doubt few bob anglers can make that same claim.
Bass luv a suspended presentation

The bob is not bad...just sometimes overused!
Face a single fact, bob can provide a presentation that is not possible in any other way. Funny, I rarely use bob in trout fishing scenarios but I often use bob for stillwater bass angling. Kind of similar to chronimid fishing. Bob allows me to place a fly in a possible fish holding environment without stripping it away before a bass has any interest in committing. It's a technique called float and fly and many times it is the difference between fishing and catching. Through my years of bass angling I have tested this repeatedly and the results are amazing. I've watched an angler strip a fly several times to a piece of water with no reaction only to follow with float and fly and hook up on first attempt often times going back and getting a second and even third take from the same spot. Without bob this simply would not happen. No matter if you feel right or wrong about bob one must accept the fact that bob allows a type of presentation that is next to impossible to copy without bob and to throw bob away forever means these fish are not going to come to your hand.

My take on this is pretty simple. If you want to catch fish on dries then fish with dries. If you want to catch fish on streamers then fish streamers. If you want to czech nymph than do it! And so on and so on! Louis is right we have advanced techniques today that didn't exist in the pure days of fly angling and if these modern techniques interest you then do it, provided it is legal of course.

What I want to see from anglers and guides is to branch out and learn many techniques. Personally taking a new approach is taking on a new challenge and I embrace it. I wish I could say others will too, but I know and you guys know it also, too many of them won't. I'll be seeing those guys next week on the river in the same holes doing the same thing every time they go to the river...yawn!

Let's face it some of us have a different idea of what success is on the river.

I will take a different approach to help reduce the unnecessary use of bob. To anyone who wishes to learn new approaches to catching trout all you have to do is come pay me a visit on the river. I normally swing or strip streamer flies with two hand rods and if the conditions are right I might swing soft hackled flies. I remain diligent for any rising heads and will employ a dry fly at any given time, sometimes even if I don't see rising fish. Just because they are not rising doesn't mean dries won't catch fish.

Kirk and Louis, let me remind you that guys like us are pro's. We worked hard to achieve our accomplishments and we are proud of them. We have graduated beyond the bob for most if not all of our fishing. Other anglers are happy to get on the water twice a year and if bob helps them catch a day of peace and serenity then let them enjoy that.

Just let it go!
The Tormented Angler