I’ve been told before that the amount of fish you catch can usually be tied one’s confidence in the lure being used. And, for the most part, I think that’s true. I’m sure there are all sorts of explanations for such an epigram, but it reflects a lot about the fisherman. The lure you’re most confident in usually catches fish.
I’ve received handfuls of explanations for why a certain color of lure works on a cloudy afternoon in mid-July after a rainstorm, and I’ve wasted plenty of fishing trips based on such information.
For me, the Clouser minnow is one of the most versatile flies in my box. It can be fished deep or close to the surface. It comes in many different sizes, and I’ve seen similar Clouser patterns catch fish in many different bodies of water, from fresh to salt water. When poppers, wet, or dry flies fail, I always tie on a Clouser or similar bait fish pattern.
There’s no doubt that certain lures in certain situations, and knowing species’ behaviors can certainly help catch fish; however, it’s hard to think that there’s not something to always using that “go-to” lure. It could be because your confidence is reflected in your fly presentation, or you just know how to work it well enough to adapt it to certain situations.
I believe that much of fishing is instinctive, and if it’s a cloudy afternoon in mid-July and the water is muddy then tie on whatever you feel will work. Chances are good you’ll catch a fish.