December 12, 2012
Taking A Seat to Catch Trout
By John Merwin
Some of my best trout fishing has always been done sitting down. That’s mostly because I try to watch a piece of water for a while before actually starting to fish. I can often do that as well sitting instead of standing. For that same reason, many of my favorite trout pools have a flat rock somewhere along the shoreline that invites sitting, relaxing, and watching attentively.
I have at times shared such places with others. There are fond memories of sitting on a bench along Pennsylvania’s fabled Letort Spring Run, watching and waiting for trout to rise. They were Charlie Fox’s benches, which he built behind his house for trout watching. Back in the 1970s, he’d sometimes see me there and come out to sit along side, visiting while all the while watching for fish.
Sometimes, too, as we sat there, the late Vince Marinaro would come clomping up the bank, hip boots flopping and a Dutch Masters cigar butt clamped tightly in his teeth. He’d sit also, and we’d all talk fishing talk for a hour or two. Vince held many angling opinions very firmly, so sometimes I’d purposefully disagree with him, just to watch him light up. Which he did beautifully.
And while I learned a lot from those late flyfishing masters on the bench, most such sitting places over the years have been solitary and quieter. By the time I’ve sat for a while, many of the trout I may have spooked on approach have calmed down and resumed normal activity. I might see their sides flashing golden down deep as they feed on caddis and other bottom-dwelling insects. Or I might eventually see some gentle rises here and there, noting carefully exactly where they happened.
So by the time I get around to fishing, I have a pretty good handle on what the trout are doing at any particular place and time. The trout, in essence, have taught me how to fish.
There’s a lot to be said for sitting still.