Miles Davis, the great jazz trumpeter, said, “If I don’t practice for two days, I start to notice. If I don’t practice for four days, my fans start to notice.”
This isn’t about contrasting casting styles, or the merits of a fast or slow rod. This is about being ready when you get off the plane or out of the car. Our guides have quoted numerous clients, when getting into the boat for the first day of five days of fly fishing trip to Missoula, “I haven’t picked up a fly rod for 6 months.” And the thought, “REALLY?!?!?!?” immediately floats through the guide’s head. You’re about to spend $2750 and you haven’t even picked up a rod?
I knew a man who was comped a 7 day trip to the South Island of New Zealand. Four 5-Star lodges and the finest fishing the South Island could provide. On day two, after having blown his third shot at his third fish, the guide turned to him and asked’ “Did you not even practice before coming here?” He wasn’t implying he was a bad fisherman, because he wasn’t. He was saying that a bit of planning might have made the trip a bit more successful and a bit less frustrating. Our guides don’t do that, but they definitely know you’re not getting anywhere near what you could be from your time on the rivers around Missoula, MT.
When pre-trip information is given to someone going on a Billfish trip, it lists tackle and fly needs, clothing and other necessities. It also directs the angler to purchase a 10 pound dumbbell, and starting two MONTHS before the trip, begin to do one minute of forearm curls, with each hand, three times a day. Move to two minutes, and try to increase even more. Why? Because when a billfish sounds and then starts to spiral, you will need to derrick that fish to the surface. If you’re not prepared, if you haven’t trained for that, your Billfish experience is going to be long and painful.
We’re not asking you to spend hours a day casting, or hire a casting instructor till you can hit a trash can lid at 85’. But if you haven’t picked up your rod for a while, string it up. Put in 15 minutes day for a week before you head out. Don’t change your style, just refresh your familiarity with the tools of the trade. You’re going to be stunned at how much better your guided trip goes with a bit of pre-practice. You’ve made a pretty serious investment of time and money. If your fishing time is limited before the trip, an investment of a little casting time will maximize your time on the water.