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Taking A Seat to Catch Trout

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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.

Comments (12)

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

And a big reason I just bought myself an XMAS present for Christmas....a pair of decent binoculars. That form you think might be a fish can be brought right up to you. Bugs on the water can be viewed, and identified. And then there is the wildlife that surrounds the water. I've found, over the years, that the fly angler, the good ones, gain that advantage over the lure/spin fisherman. Fly anglers become much more observant fisherman, much better predators than the lure guys.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

why not carry a chair and sit in the river?

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from Double D wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

This is one of the most important things you taught me. Well, this and to never leave something as important as lunch in the hands of a fishing guide.

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from johnmerwin wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Actually, Koldkut, I have done that a few times. And also cast to rising trout while seated in that chair. Worked pretty well, especially because I wasn't moving around and scaring fish.

Binoculars are indeed a good idea. I sometimes carry a small pair of 8x35s in my vest for all the reasons clinchknot mentions.

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from johnmerwin wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Ah, Double D, I remember it well...and the lunch!!!

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I have logs over certain holes that I visit time and time again to spy on my favorite hole. I often fish alone so good conversation is replaced with a good cigar and flask. I am rarely without my flask.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Koldkut. Because that is where the fish live. The guys observing. When your teacher observed you screwing around in the back of the room, did they pull up, and sit in your chair with you?

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from Brian W. Thair wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Sit. Be quiet. Be patient, it's a waiting game. Whatever has happened, it may take just 20 minutes for life in the river to move on. It never fails to amaze me how fish will reveal themselves, given the chance.

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

ClinchNot, when do you want to fish? Seriously. I'll drive to ID for a few days.

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from clinchknot wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Koldkut. I do not go fishing!...I go catching!

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from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

I need to spend more time watching. I too often rush the stream to fish when sitting back for a few minutes would have caught me more or bigger trout.

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from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

John,it's the classic "old bull,young bull" joke.
Two bulls are on a hill. The old bull says "look at all those nice looking cows down there."
The young bull says "Why don't we run down the hill and each make love to one of them." The old bull looks at him and says "Why don't we walk and make love to all of them."
It takes years before we all learn to sit on a rock and fish with our fly on the keeper. A young man thinks us tired,lazy or unable to play in the bigs. Poor kid....he just doesn't get it.
I've done some of my best fishing from a rock it may be one of the few times I feel for the young bull. ;)

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

I have logs over certain holes that I visit time and time again to spy on my favorite hole. I often fish alone so good conversation is replaced with a good cigar and flask. I am rarely without my flask.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

And a big reason I just bought myself an XMAS present for Christmas....a pair of decent binoculars. That form you think might be a fish can be brought right up to you. Bugs on the water can be viewed, and identified. And then there is the wildlife that surrounds the water. I've found, over the years, that the fly angler, the good ones, gain that advantage over the lure/spin fisherman. Fly anglers become much more observant fisherman, much better predators than the lure guys.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

why not carry a chair and sit in the river?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Double D wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

This is one of the most important things you taught me. Well, this and to never leave something as important as lunch in the hands of a fishing guide.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnmerwin wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Actually, Koldkut, I have done that a few times. And also cast to rising trout while seated in that chair. Worked pretty well, especially because I wasn't moving around and scaring fish.

Binoculars are indeed a good idea. I sometimes carry a small pair of 8x35s in my vest for all the reasons clinchknot mentions.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnmerwin wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

Ah, Double D, I remember it well...and the lunch!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Koldkut. Because that is where the fish live. The guys observing. When your teacher observed you screwing around in the back of the room, did they pull up, and sit in your chair with you?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian W. Thair wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Sit. Be quiet. Be patient, it's a waiting game. Whatever has happened, it may take just 20 minutes for life in the river to move on. It never fails to amaze me how fish will reveal themselves, given the chance.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

ClinchNot, when do you want to fish? Seriously. I'll drive to ID for a few days.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

Koldkut. I do not go fishing!...I go catching!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

I need to spend more time watching. I too often rush the stream to fish when sitting back for a few minutes would have caught me more or bigger trout.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from haverodwilltravel wrote 1 year 17 weeks ago

John,it's the classic "old bull,young bull" joke.
Two bulls are on a hill. The old bull says "look at all those nice looking cows down there."
The young bull says "Why don't we run down the hill and each make love to one of them." The old bull looks at him and says "Why don't we walk and make love to all of them."
It takes years before we all learn to sit on a rock and fish with our fly on the keeper. A young man thinks us tired,lazy or unable to play in the bigs. Poor kid....he just doesn't get it.
I've done some of my best fishing from a rock it may be one of the few times I feel for the young bull. ;)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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