Yes, yes there are all the cliches about "just getting out" or"it's fishing not catching", but in normal circumstances I expect to catch. Especially when I'm fishing for carp or smallies.. Which I was. Blanks aren't the end of the world and can often teach you something, sometimes they're actually a greater learning opportunity than success. This week I learned about not finding smallies. The river I was fishing is essentially a tailwater dammed every few kilometers, it's very clear and you can almost always see the fish you catch. Being october and they days getting shorter I was expecting to find the bass starting to move away from the faster shallower water into the deeper, slower pools. If they were I couldn't see or catch any. I thought maybe the Indian summer(33 degrees on Monday!) was keeping them from moving, but again I couldn't see or catch any in the July-September haunts. I only had one follow a BTD from behind a tetrapod without commiting. It's frustrating when all the built up knowledge fails to produce, but it gives me something to look at and read up on. Now maybe they were there, and the summer of relentless fishing pressure has made them difficult. You don't know pressure till you see a river near Tokyo at the weekend, and this year has been particularly busy with the extended lockdown and extra public holidays because of the Olympics. But I've been dealing with that for years. I'm really leaning towards finding them being the issue here. So there is something to take away from it, I just need similar conditions again to build on it.
Rather than accept defeat I decide I'd catch a couple of carp in the last hour. They were easy to find and I put in a few good shots to eagerly feeding fish, but all it seemed I could do was collect refusals. On this river the approach is usually the tricky bit but it didn't seem to be on Monday. I just couldn't figure out what they wanted. Very frustrating , I was even starting to wonder if my flies had some kind of smell on them somehow. That kind of paranoia is no good at all. I'm not sure I learned anything from those carp unfortunately, but maybe something will dawn on me while I'm not actively trying to work out why they were being such dicks. I'm probably heading North next week to see Chuck for some smallmouth fishing near his place now he's vaccinated. It's nice up in Tochigi becuase there are far fewer people. Hopefully I'll redeem myself.