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Fly Fishing

5 ways to save time organizing and spend more time fishing

A common problem all anglers have is – we just don’t have enough time to fish. Here are 5 simple tips that will enable you to maximize the amount of time spent fishing and minimize your time spent preparing.

1) Get more fly boxes
You might be saying to yourself, how is this going to save me time? I used to spend a lot of time organizing my fly boxes the night before a trip. Maybe even sporadically fumbling around for flies and gear after work because I have a few hours of newly freed up time. What I gradually have done over the past 5-6 years or so, is developed and organized fly boxes for various times of the year, even for various rivers. So, if I’m headed to the Androscoggin river for summer bass, I have a box for that. If I’m headed to a local trout stream in the fall, I have a box for that. If I’m chasing pike on a boat, I have a box for that. By diversifying your fly boxes, you 1) don’t have to carry as many flies, reducing the clutter and weight of your vest and 2) don’t have to waste time getting fly boxes ready for your trips, thus giving you more time to fish and less time preparing.

If you want to make your own fly boxes, I think that’s fantastic and that’s how I got to have so many. Here is a link to a DIY fly box for under $10:
DIY Fly Box

2) Keep a rod and reel in your vehicle
There are many times where I have an hour or two to kill. Maybe I’m waiting on my significant other or I have an extended lunch break. Even driving home from work, I might have a few hours of spare time. Rather than heading all the way home then back to wherever it is you’re going, keep a spare fly fishing “kit” in your vehicle and make it as cheap as possible. This is not going to be your best fly reel or rod. Keeping it in your vehicle all year means it will be exposed to rough temperature swings, UV rays, and all kinds of damaging factors, so don’t go broke here. You don’t need to keep a pair of waders if you don’t want to, but at a minimum, you need a rod, reel, and a small box of flies. I always have a rod and reel ready to go in my vehicle just in case. This eliminates the need to go home, gather all my things, and then drive to wherever it is I need to go. Sounds simple, but it’s one of those things people say ya I’m going to do that, then never do. Do this one simple thing and getting you on the water and away from preparation will be easier than ever.

Here is a link to a cheap fly rod and reel anyone could stash in their vehicle:
Cheap Rod and Reel Combo

3) Mark it down on your calendar
If you don’t mark time for yourself to fish, it is likely something will come up. This, although unfortunate, is a reality. Make it a point to get out on the water. If you know exactly when you’re going, you can have everything in line and ready to go. You can also set time aside to prepare and get it done in one sitting, rather than stretching it out over many days. I’m going out on Friday from 6-10AM, I will get my stuff ready on Thursday at 6PM. Boom. So much easier and cleaner than sporadically prepping over a week trying to guess what you’ll need and when you’ll need it. Scheduling, it may seem robotic, but it will get you on the water more frequently.

Here is a calendar I like that’s under $10:
Calendar Under $10

4) Make an attack plan before hand
One of the worst mistakes I make is I say I’m going fishing for three days; I get there and just randomly pick a place to fish, then make some irrational decision to go somewhere else. This is not the best strategy and time consuming. You end up wondering around looking for god knows what and end up spending more time moving around than fishing. Have a set attack plan before you leave to fish. For example: I’m going to section A from 6-8AM, if no fish have been caught by 7AM, then I’ll move to section B, if section B is overrun, I’ll go to section C. It may seem military-esque, but if we are talking about how to get on the water more, this step is one of the most proficient at doing so. Having a pre-set attack plan allows you to get out onto the water in a quick and straight forward fashion, maximizing the time your fly is in the water and minimizing your time preparing or wondering around in the woods.

5) Fish close to home
Everyone thinks you need to drive 8 hrs to fish great waters. Here, in Maine particularly, regardless of where you live, you can catch trout, salmon or bass all in one day, each less than an hour drive from your home. I love big trips up north for several days, but we can’t always do that as anglers. Don’t think of fishing close to home as settling, because it’s not. Fishing is fishing and I’ll bet you’ll enjoy it wherever you go. So just know you don’t always need to prep for days to travel to remote locations to fly fish, it’s alright if you hop in your truck for 30 min and go fish some local waters. More often than not, I’m fishing close to home. Why? Because it’s quick, requires little prep, and keeps me on the water. The more time you’re on the water the better angler you will become, I can guarantee that.

There are many more ways to maximize time spent fishing, but these are 5 of my favorites. What are some ways that you maximize your time spent fishing?

By Greg LaBonte
Maine Fly Guys

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