Manage your expectations

Manage your expectations

Martyn White | Monday, 12 August 2019

In my last FP (the Okinawa trip report) I only mentioned two of the three anglers. This was because the third rod made me think a lot about what people expect and the impact it can have on a trip. He spent a lot of the time complaining about how the island wasn't very fishy or how the flat was empty, which was in complete opposition to my experience of the fishing. I found it a bit perplexing and a little annoying. As the week went on I was running it over in my mind, but it wasn't until a conversation later in the week that everything really clicked.

The guy regularly fishes a sandbar on a closed resort island in the Maldives that might see 10 rods a year and another Okinawan island for sea bream, catching numerous fish each day- some of them almost 12 inches long! With a guide. As soon as I we spoke about that,  a lot of his comments and the way he was fishing made much more sense to me.  He'd become so accustomed to having his guide spot fish that he was walking far too fast and missing most of the fish swimming past him.  This had a compounding effect and he got bored and ended up blind casting a lot, getting tired and fishing less well.  Although he did catch fish most days, they were  pretty much all little snapper and emperor and he didn't have the trip he could have had.
 
Now, he's not a bad angler and should have caught more and better fish. The problem was mental.  Expecting a DIY trip for trevally and triggerfish to be as easy and have the same numbers as a guided bream trip is unrealistic. But crucially it can lead to bad angling.  I think a few shots and couple of fish, walking unguided is enough to make a very good day's DIY flats fishing. So clearly, I'm much less likely to be disappointed than someone expecting to go out and just have fish climbing up the rod, which means I'm much less likely to let my head go down and stop fishing well.  Attitude is so important makes a big difference to the way we fish, possibly causing unforced mistakes, and problematic practices.
 
As I touched on earlier probably the biggest problem is walking speed, most people I see walk - in my opinion -  far too quickly while fishing especially if conditioned to it by guides. Guides can generally see fish further away and while walking faster than the once a week or one week a  year angler, if you walk the flats at a guide's speed there's a good chance you'll not spot the fish in time to cast, if at all.  It also make you noisier, not ideal when chasing spooky triggers. Walk only as fast as YOU can see, keep the quick pace for when you are moving between spots.  I'm not saying guided fishing is bad, it's very necessary in many situations but it's important to remember you'll have to change things a bit when fishing alone in different conditions.