Fly Fishing Attire: Runways On The River

by Rebecca on October 27, 2009

in Fly Fishing

~Two accessories on this day ~ Fly bag and Fly Rod~

~Two accessories on this day ~ Fly bag and Fly Rod~

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)

This Outfit Would NOT make the cover of a Magazine!

This Outfit Would NOT make the cover of a Magazine!

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……….


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

MelNo Gravatar October 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Rebecca, just came across your blog this evening and spent some time reading some of your posts. Might I say, great job! I spent years being a fly fishing model of all the newest and latest gear. Like you, I look back and find how silly that whole approach is/was. The fact that you enjoy what your doing and getting a reward from it is way more important.

By the way, I am a fellow Idahoan and have my own fishing blog. I would love have you stop by and say hello sometime. I will be back to read more of your fly fishing journey. I will be adding your link to my blog roll and would hope that you will share a link with me and lets share some readership.


RebeccaNo Gravatar October 28, 2009 at 8:29 am

Thank you Mel! I guess all Models must retire someday, even us Fly fishing models~


Ben G.No Gravatar October 28, 2009 at 6:01 am

I know lots of hunters that do the same thing they get all decked out in the latest hunting gear and don’t really know what they are doing. I also agree the most important thing is to be comfortable and the main goal is to catch fish who don’t really care what you look like.


RebeccaNo Gravatar October 28, 2009 at 8:31 am

I hear ya Ben, it’s pretty much the same for me on the hunting front as well. I don’t really care what I’m wearing as long as I’m comfortable and here’s my biggie~ WARM.


JohnNo Gravatar October 28, 2009 at 7:17 am

Great post, had me laughing and thinking, how true. Summer time, lanyard and wet wade for me. I have fell victim to numerous fly boxes and the year old granola bar. Keep up the great work! Made me think of these characters too…


RebeccaNo Gravatar October 28, 2009 at 8:32 am

John, I went and read that article and it was fantastic! I’d say, I’ve run into just about everyone of those characters out there and of course, as the article suggested, I didnt’ see myself in any of those (smile)


RebeccaNo Gravatar October 28, 2009 at 8:28 am

Note from @TheTroutLie via Twitter

@Outdooress The guy in neon was probably Whitefish Ed. He’s known for his metallic one pieces and day-glo rainbow jumpsuits.

Whitefish Ed sounds exactly like my guy! Now I’ve got an official name for Mr. Neon.


LarryBNo Gravatar November 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Just found you cool site through mutual friends on Twitter! I love seeing women in the outdoors. Fashion and fishing do sort of go together sometimes, like say those WBT gals in their nice sponsored shirts and hats and such, but mostly fishing should be done in whatever you are most comfortable in. I’ve fished in everything from a bathing suit right up to a full one piece snow mobile suit and looked a bit strange to onlookers but cared less. I was happy. :-) You little doll, look good in anything, as we can see in your fine photos.

As a matter of fact, I just linked one of your shots up to one of my little blogs, to help spread the word of another Fisher slash Hunter slash Outdoorsy Girl Rockin’ On out there. Hope ya don’t mind. :-)

Keep up the awesome outdoor reporting, it’s Reel good to read so far. :-) LarryB


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