I believe one of the most rewarding (and challenging) aspects of fly fishing is bluelining. Bluelining is basically finding those little blue lines on the map, which represent water of some proportion, and then navigating to it in the hopes that it is actually fishable.
It seems the challenges and curiosity of new territory has overtaken my desire to actually net fish. And I’m totally fine with that tradeoff, because what I gain by exploring new waters has reaped all kinds of benefits. It’s exciting to have no clue what you might find, and then being able to adapt to what you do find. My fly fishing knowledge is still quite limited, so when I’m able to adapt to the environment and catch fish, it’s a great wealth of knowledge that I can add to the memory bank.
Every run is different. Every rock hides variables that are waiting to be discovered. Every new section of water requires critical thinking about fly selection, presentation, approach, and how I’m going to get the upper hand. These challenges of unfamiliar territory are how I learn to adapt.
I hope you’re getting out there exploring new waters, and I hope you find it as rewarding as I do.
Some of my most rewarding days on the water have been ones where I get back to the Subaru fishless, and missing about 8-10 flies from the box. That sounds odd, I know, but it’s part of learning new territory and trying to adapt to it. Some days you’re the bird, and some days you’re the shoulder. Sure, I’m catching less fish, which is almost always a given when exploring unfamiliar waters. But what I lose in numbers, I gain in knowledge, which better prepares me for the next outing.
Exploring new waters is good for the soul. And it will earn you a wealth of knowledge that you can chew on, learn from and share. So next time you’re heading out, grab a map, or your smartphone, and search out some unchartered territory of small blue lines. Risk can often be worth reward. Find new waters to explore.