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Your technical ability (casting, line management, etc.,), your ability to read a river, and your knowledge of steelhead natural history will do little to maximize your probability of success until you can fish with confidence. You will know when you have arrived as a steelhead fly-fisherman when:

1. You 'know' that the spot to which you are about to cast holds a steelhead.

2. You 'feel' that a fish is going to take ... now!

3. You know that the fly you are using is exactly the right choice.

4. You are afraid to look away from the spot on the river under which you believe your fly is swinging - In spite of the awesome beauty of the scenery around you.

5. You can 'feel' the fly wobble as it swings across the current.

6. At the end of the swing you hesitate to initiate the next cast because you 'know' a steelhead is about to take.

7. ... etc.

Why is confidence the 'best' predictor of success? Because...

1. Confidence comes with excellent technical skill.

2. Confidence is directly proportional to your knowledge of rivers AND the river on which you are fishing.

3. A thorough understanding of the wild-history of steelhead permits you to apply #1 and #2 correctly and with confidence.

So, it looks like you're just going to have to make those 1000 casts of which the Old Man spoke.

But, drop me a line ([email protected]) and I'll be pleased to fish with you and help you count those casts. I fish one of the S5 (Snoqualmie, Skykomish, Stilly, Skagit, and Sauk) three or four times every week.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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