There’s a reason why the photo above is from four years ago and the video below is from last winter. It’s not because I didn’t catch trout yesterday. I did. Rather, it’s because the GoPro battery only lasts two hours, and (mercifully) I didn’t take a spare. Let me explain.
Apparently, trout are camera shy. They don’t like to be caught (literally, in this case) on video. The last three times that I have remembered to take my GoPro video camera with me on a fishing trip, I have failed to catch a single trout while the camera was rolling. A few whitefish, yes, but none of the targeted species. When I’ve left the camera at home, trout have been more than willing to eat my flies. I’m beginning to think that the GoPro has taken on a curse. It hasn’t always been this way. Witness the following video from last winter:
Yesterday was a striking case in point. I started the afternoon at a spot that Paul had recommended; he’s been having really good luck there. Let’s call it Pool X (I will tell you that it’s on the Yellowstone River, above Yankee Jim Canyon). With the GoPro turned on, I fished the pool hard. I put all of my tough day tactics to the test. I tried a myriad of different flies, I adjusted my indicator up and down. No luck, save a couple of whitefish that I didn’t even land. Pool X looked mighty fishy. I’m certain that there were plenty of trout in there (laughing at my offerings). I fished that damn pool for a good two hours, growing increasingly frustrated. Nothing. I decided to give up and started walking back to the car, at which point a bunch of beeps from the GoPro on my forehead told me that the battery had expired. Thankfully.
I decided to drive to another spot and give things one last try, even though it was getting late in the afternoon. No video; no photos (I forgot my smartphone in the car). Bingo. I commenced to land six or seven trout in the space of an hour. Nothing huge, but nice healthy fish. Browns and rainbows; not a single whitefish. A size 8 black Rubberlegs was the champion, though I caught at least one fish on every fly that I tried, including a small baetis nymph and even a fluorescent orange worm. Wish I had proof to show you, but as I mentioned, the camera was back in the car. Maybe that was the reason for my success, or maybe it was all about trying a new location. Trout are fickle, after all.
So even if you don’t believe in the curse of the GoPro, here’s another truth. I don’t think that Paul was lying to me when he suggested that I give Pool X a try. He truly believed that I would catch fish there. And on another day, I would have. The same goes when you get advice at the fly shop. We would never deliberately lead you astray when we recommend flies, tactics, or fishing spots. We’re doing our best to point you in the right direction. But that doesn’t mean you’re always going to slay them when you follow our advice. If it were all that easy, fly fishing wouldn’t be as challenging, and therefore wouldn’t be as satisfying when things do come together. Conditions change from day to day. Luck does play a role, as does being at the right place at the right time. And maybe, so does a curse.
Got any advice on how to remove the curse from my video camera? Any voodoo or rituals to placate the fish gods? Leave us a comment!