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9 Principles of War Applied to Flyfishing

by Harry P. Davis, Author of Guerrilla Flyfishing

The nine Principles of War, as defined in the Army Field Manual FM-3 Military Operations:

  • Concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time.

    Put your mind on fishing when you are on the water. Worry and fret about problems at home or the office have no place here if you are going to have a productive day of angling. You may as well just splash around in the water and smack your rod against the rocks if you lose your concentration.

    This hour and this place are the decisive destination and time. All your planning, equipping and scheduling have come to naught, if
    you fail to concentrate your angling power now.

  • Direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective.

    From the time you plan a trip to the time you pull out of the water, drive your thoughts toward the objective of hunting, deceiving and hooking the species you are after. Every species has habits, patterns and personalities...learn them.

  • Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.

    Spot, imitate and cast with confidence.

  • Strike the enemy at a time, at a place, or in a manner for which he is unprepared.

    Sneak, hide and move slowly. Make all efforts to keep your presence unknown to your quarry. Your approach, casts and imitations should all be your best as to give the quarry a big surprise when he is hooked.

  • Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.

    Turn off your cell phone.

  • Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power.

    Change methods, patterns and approaches often if your quarry is not taking what you re offering.

  • For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander.

    Always remember, you are the angler, not some book, manufacturer or world class pro. Go with your intelligence and your instincts . . .this is fishing, not a Mars landing.

  • Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage.

    Remember to check you lines, flies and hooks. Replace your lines when needed, make sure your flies are clean and realistic looking and sharpen your hook often with your whet rock. Don t hook yourself or fall out of the boat! Remember, cork is a choking hazard when taking those pictures of your trophy catch with your rod in your teeth.

  • Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding.

    Make sure all your fishing buddies and family know when, where and what of the trip. It fouls up great bonding moments when a buddy shows up in a wet suit and spear gun and the guys unload their canoes rigged for white perch.


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