There are many types, styles, techniques, and tactics fly fisherman use to catch fish. No matter the species, there is always more than one way to land them. Growing up an athlete, I like to relate most things back to sports, hockey in particular. In hockey, there are several positions and types of players I believe can be used to categorize fly fisherman as well.
First is the all-star; the dry fly only fisherman. This is more of the 1st line player, scoring goals and making it look good with a fair amount of natural talent. Probably doesn’t play a lot of defense, but makes up for it in offense. This player is looking to score the flashy goals, shoots top shelf glove side only, and floats around in the slot looking to light up the stat sheet. In other words, this angler is finding a nice hole during peak hatch season and sitting there most of the day. High and dry down the fast stuff, you will not find this guy mucking it up in the trenches. “If it won’t eat a dry, it’s not eating at all.”
The second type of angler is the power forward. This is a solid 2-way player, both offensive and defensive and just does whatever it takes to win. You can find this player working hard in the corners and going hard to the front of the net. Still has a good amount of talent but hard work and smarts is his bread and butter. In the fishing world, this angler is checking the charts and data before heading to the streams, consistently trying to find the best spots that most people won’t go, and has no problem trekking miles through the thickest forest and marshlands to get there. This fisherman prides himself or herself on knowledge and hard work, is able and willing to use dries, streamers, and/or nymphs to get the job done, and usually has a lot of success
The next fly angler is relatable to the 3rd or 4th line grinder. The talent level just isn’t quite there but works harder than anyone else. Possibly this person just doesn’t have all the experience yet, or is a late bloomer but usually gets voted most improved at the end of the season. The team spirit is through the roof and he does it all for the love of the game. You can find this angler on the stream all the time putting in the work, getting a little frustrated after spooking most of the fish, but will occasionally come up with an absolute beauty of a fish.
The defensemen on the stream is sticking to what he knows and plays it safe. The statistics say that the fish eat sub surface most of the time, so that is how he is fishing. He is putting on a couple nymphs and a strike indicator, or maybe a hopper if he is feeling a little crazy, and drifting down the current seams. This fisherman will have a fair amount of success, but also loves getting the assist by showing his buddy a great spot or netting his partners fish.
Last but not least is the goalie. Historically known to be the weirdest guy on the team, even though he will deny it, he is a bit unconventional about his approach to catch the fish. With the mindset to do whatever it takes to win when the game is on the line, this guy will use any technique, tactic, or style he knows, or thinks he knows, to get the job done. This angler is usually pretty consistent and will catch fish, some bigger than others, but if he gets skunked one day it is like the end of the world. Then it is back to the drawing board to analyze everything to make sure it doesn’t happen again.