Joe Schmo Can Catch a Big Fish: Insights from a 61 year old River Woman

Joe Schmo Can Catch a Big Fish: Insights from a 61 year old River Woman

by Michele White


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You might expect a fishing book to start out describing how to rig the fly rod first and save the more interesting part about catching fish for later. I like the more interesting part first – catching the fish. Then, to keep you on the hook, "How to rig your fly rod" and other useful information, (like knots), are at the end. Yes, there are knots in this book.

Why buy this book? Because this is the best book for Joe Schmo and his wife Shirley. It's simple to read and unique. There are lots of hand-drawn cartoons and illustrations. If you don't like silly insights, you might not like this book. Nearly every day in my fly shop, I commonly tell Joe Schmo (or Shirley) how to catch a big fish in our local waters. We get tons of novice people with a fly rod who have taken and lesson or two and who want to make a go of it on their own. I show them a hand-drawn diagram and I put their flies on top of the diagram. I explain what is happening blow-by-blow with the fish and the flies underwater. Then, I send them on their way. They usually come back to tell me how useful this chat was and to show me their fish-on-a-phone. (I get a lot of "fish-on-a-phone" stuck in my face.)

While guiding people who have never been fly fishing before, or who might still be relatively new to the sport, I've noticed a common challenge is that they often don't see the fish, nor do they see the fish's activity (a disturbance on the surface of the water). Even when I point to the ripple or the splash, they still don't see it. I call this ability to see wild animals "wildlife eyes". It's the same experience when I point out a coyote or a deer to someone and they say, "Where?" and I point again and say, "THERE!" and they still don't see it. I realize some people haven't trained their eyes to detect the telltale shape or movement of a wild animal against the natural backdrop of grass and trees. Same goes for trout spotting. I have pointed and said, "See that ring on the water? See how there is a circular ripple growing outward, getting bigger? See? That's where a trout stuck its snout or dorsal fin or tail out of the water. That circular ripple on the water is called a 'rise'." (Sometimes, you can hear the slurp of this event as well if you train your ears to listen for that specific sound.) If a person can't see a ring on the water, then they are really going to have a hard time seeing the shadow of a trout under the water and that makes for a tricky situation for Joe Schmo. Should he give up? NO! He should not give up. He has a lot of tricks he can use to catch a big fish even if he can't see it. (Shirley too!)

I realize it takes time to develop specific skills for fly fishing and I also realize the quandary that Joe Schmo might only have a limited number of hours to catch a fish. He's probably not intending to change his life and become a preeminent fly fishing master, (though, he just might. One never knows where life's passion will lead you.) Not today, though. Today, Joe Schmo has four hours to catch a fish that he can't see. This isn't a hopeless situation. Have heart, Joe! You can still catch a wily trout even if you can't see it. This book should give you some easy tactics for catching a wily trout in technical water (by that, I mean a picky fish in a high-use area, such as we have here in South Park, Colorado at Eleven Mile Canyon and the Dream Stream.)

I decided to put my daily advice in writing, starting the book with walking up to the stream and fishing, then putting the parts about picking a rod and selecting flies at the end. That may seem out of order but that's how I operate: I go and do things first. Afterward, I seek the details. Joe Schmo can take the rod he just bought (he'll call it a pole for a while) from a general sporting goods store and if he reads the first chapter of this book, he may have a good chance at catching a fish. Maybe even a big fish.

Here are the systematic means to achieving this goal:

(There - that's IT! Now, you don't need to read the book.)

If you do read this book, you'll peruse details on how to land a big fish, my opinions of equipment, and instructions for rigging your line for the stream. That last part, rigging for the stream, in itself is really useful – painful because it includes knots – but useful because of the color illustrations.

Thank you for buying this book,
Michele White

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781078773256
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date: 01/04/2020
Pages: 110
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Michele White lives in the Puma Hills on the east rim of South Park, Colorado. She is a retired international exploration geologist with a master’s degree in Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Ore Deposits and a minor in Biology. She worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City in the fossil fish department contributing to paleo-fish kill studies. She owns Tumbling Trout fly shop in Lake George, Colorado and is a certified licensed insured and bonded professional fly fishing guide. She has been fly fishing and rowing a dory with her husband, also a geologist, on the Great Rivers of the West for over 20 years. (They are both certified white water boat handlers). She also serves as V.P. of Education for the Pikes Peak Chapter of Trout Unlimited in Colorado Springs and volunteers on regional conservation projects.

As a writer, Michele White (maiden Murray) is a contributing editor on the masthead for Mountain Gazette, (thanks to John Fayhee). She has been published in Discover the Outdoors, EQUUS, Fly Fishing World, Native People's Magazine, New Tribal Dawn, and The Aquarian.

Her stories (under Michele Murray) are included three anthologies:
• “Colorado Mountain Dogs”, published by WestWinds Press, 2014;
• “Comeback Wolves: Western Writers Speak for Wolves in the Southern Rockies”, published by Johnson Books, 2005; and
• “Hell's Half Mile: River Runners' Tales of Hilarity and Misadventure”, published by Breakaway Books, 2004.

She has three previously published books:
• “Between the Rivers”, fly fishing stories with co-authors, Al Marlowe and Karen Christopherson, 2019;
• “Lesser Known Fly Fishing Venues of South Park”, a fly fishing atlas for South Park, Colorado, 2017; and
• “Eulogies and Dead Horses”, essays about fly fishing and working as a geologist, 2016.

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