I haven’t seen him in a few years, but there was a flyfisherman I’d occasionally catch a glimpse of in Yellowstone Park (on the Yellowstone river) while I was fly fishing for gorgeous cutthroats. Truth be told, there was no way to miss, or forget the man because he was always decked out in NEON GREEN among other wild colors.
Sadly, I never got the chance to talk to him so I have no name, no identity to call him other than, Mr. Neon. I imagine he is, or was, well known on the Yellowstone, what with all the guides and fly fishing guru’s prowling the banks, but I’ve never been in any fly fishing loops, so I wouldn’t know. I loved knowing Mr. Neon was out wading the waters at the same time I was because his “fly fishing attire i.e. WILD outfits” made my less than magazine worthy attire more forgettable amid all the high style fly guys.
I wasn’t always such a river slacker in the fashion department. There was a time when I first started fly fishing that I probably over compensated for my lack of fly skills by dressing the part from head to toe. I was a walking taupe and khaki wannabe with more pockets than I knew what to do with. That’s right, I looked flashy, stylish and like I just stepped off the cover of a magazine. My fly may have been embedded in my forehead from ineptitude, but by gawd I looked the part!
I was also terribly uncomfortable. First I had the chest waders that not only made my ass look like the state of Texas, but they were annoying, I was always poking holes in the neoprene and they promoted death risking wades into deep waters. I did not like chest waders, ever, and eventually gave them up.
I also burdened myself with a Fly Vest that had so many pockets I could have hid the hope diamond in there and no one would have ever found it. Usually when I needed tippet it took no less then 10 minutes to discover which pocket I had haphazardly tossed it in. My fly vest was also heavy and cumbersome. Part of that could be blamed on the fact that I am female and can not resist the natural instincts to gather—-and pack—and stuff—as many things as possible into any sort of storage container and pockets certainly fall into storage mentality.
Give me a fly vest with 25 pockets and you can be damn sure I’ll find something to go into all 25 pockets.
So these days I can be found looking less like an Orvis worshiper and more like an unassuming slouch who just happens to be walking down a river bank with a fly rod. I toss on any old t-shirt, and rarely is any particular fishing brand displayed or an arched fish highlighting my back. I pull on hip waders over jeans, sweats, or shorts and let it go at that. (and if I can get away with NOT wearing waders, I’ll pick that choice quickly and without apology)
Once I learned how to actually fly fish, I realized a lot of the things I hauled around with me weren’t exactly necessary. Does one really need mini-binoculars, an entire first aid kit, 10 separate fly boxes and a partridge in a pear tree just to catch a fish? The obvious answer to that was no, I didn’t need those 4 crushed granola bars and the emergency rain poncho. So I pared down, way down, to a small Patagonia fly bag that I strap over my much smaller, waderless ass.
Just call me, flyfishing ZEN~
Yes, there are times when I’m fishing and an affluent looking flyfisherman will walk by (on his way to a photo shoot no doubt) and I wonder if my outward appearance plummets outsider opinion of my flyfishing credibility… Then I remember how uncomfortable I was decked out in all the latest fashions and I turn around, spy another trout surfacing and get back to what matters most.
One thing I know as fact…. thankfully, the trout could care less what I’m wearing……….