Is He Lucky or Does He Smell Funny?

Posted on January 24th, 2013


I don’t believe in luck so no matter how often I get out-fished I search for a reason. We all know anglers

that are consistently more successful than ourselves (unless of course you are one of those guys who

is the “out-fisher”.) They walk into a run right behind you and take a fish from water that you just

previously covered. Why does this happen?


When I think of lucky guys, two of my best friends come to mind. One guides with me on the Grand

River and the Saugeen River and is a very skilled fisherman but not to the extent that he should be

out fishing equally skilled guys as frequently as he does. The other, I’ve been fishing with for more than

20 years and for that period, regardless of where his skill level was, he would out fish me nine out of

ten times. What do guys like that possess that others do not? Is there something to their luck? I don’t

believe for a second that there is some divine, god like force that shines more brightly on some than

others. What can it be? Science tends to trump luck most of the time and where fishing is concerned,

I lean more towards a logical explanation for one anglers success or lack thereof before I jump on the

“Damn, he’s lucky” ban wagon. So what is it?


If a shark can smell a drop of blood from a quarter of a mile, does it not make sense that a trout can

detect a negative scent from two feet or less? Conversely, does it not make sense that a trout may

hold onto a fly or lure for a fraction of a second longer if the fly is emitting a positive scent? Our

flies, through handling from construction to fastening to a tippet, must pick up some of our natural

excretions. Not everyone smells the same. Does it not make sense that different people could emit

negative, positive, or even neutral scents?


There is enough evidence to support this and I will elaborate more in the next installment.



Rob Heal

Wilson’s Fly Shop




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