Black Friday and Cyber Monday, over the last decade or so, have evolved from above-average sale events to firestorms of buying and selling where store goers clamor for some of the best deals and prices of the year. They've become veritable consumer holidays, where all other pursuits are set aside and attention is turned almost solely to purchasing. But with the growth of these consumer bonanzas, the landscape has become increasingly crowded and difficult to navigate, and having a game plan before setting out can be the secret to success. For the fly fisher, these challenges can be even more pronounced, as the treasures that anglers seek can often seem even more elusive than those with more mainstream tastes. However, with careful inspection, most fly fishers will discover that the recipe for Black Friday and Cyber Monday success is actually quite simple.
Get out early
Sure, it's November, and the fish are settling in to colder temperatures and slower metabolisms, but it's still early enough in the year that being out at first light can produce some surprises. If you're fishing for steelhead, or perhaps chasing striped bass in the surf, the early morning hours can be surprisingly productive.
Do your research
Talk to your local fly shop or check your favorite online sites for information on where good fishing can be found. In the late autumn and early winter, conditions can more challenging and spring and summertime "go-to" spots can't be relied upon. Having a game plan before you leave the house can be invaluable.
Avoid the Crowds
Thankfully, this one is easy. Waterways across the country are notorious for being nearly empty this time of year, and you'll actually have to work hard to find the crowds. Some of the most heavily pressured sections of heralded streams and rivers can be had all to one's self, which means the trout, bass and other quarry they hold can be too.
If you haven't hit the water in a month or two, be prepared for the shifted conditions. Dress warmly, but do so in layers. This time of year it isn't uncommon to start the day with temperatures below freezing, but find yourself on a sun-baked streambank in the 50s or 60s by late afternoon. Layers will allow you to adapt to late-autumn conditions which typically vary significantly throughout the day.
Chilly temperatures, gloved hands and bulkier gear demand an organized approach on the stream. Plan for what flies, terminal tackle and other equipment you'll need and stow them in well organized fashion in your vest, hip or chest pack. Pre-rigging tandem nymph setups and dry/dropper rigs can be a great asset as well.
Get out there
Most importantly, get out there. Holiday weekends, where work and the other demands of life are set aside for a few brief days, don't come around often. Go fishing.