Lost (and never found) In the Great Outdoors

by Rebecca on June 14, 2010

in Outdoor Observations

I’ve wrote it before here and I’ll probably write it again over time, but I absolutely hate losing flies. It isn’t about the monetary loss with the average 2 dollar fly at risk. No, for me it’s about ‘that’s my little trooper and I’d like it back pretty please’. I do understand that losing flies is part of the collateral damage when I cast them away from my protection precariously attached to tiny tippet into battle. Casualties happen, I get that, but I still mourn my little soldiers when I lose one.

So imagine how me, the Mother Bear Fly Protector, handles losing something in the Great Outdoors that falls into a bigger scale than say, a 2 dollar fly. Not so well.

I lost something yesterday that still has my stomach in knots and my mind twisted up into panicked loss mode.

Long story short: At the beginning of April I finally sucked it up and bought a REALLY nice pair of Patagonia waders. Hello Cha-Ching on the cost front. I took them down to the one river that was still open during the Idaho river lock down and tested them out. That would be one maiden voyage and I loved them. Since then I’ve done a lot of non-wadeable fishing so they have been waiting patiently for June 1st when the rivers opened back up. This weekend I went camping, not with fishing in mind, but morel mushroom picking on the agenda. However, I brought the pristine waders with me just in case I could get some little stream fly fishing in.

I didn’t. So when it was time to leave, I put the once used waders back into the backpack they had rode up in. An expensive day backpack at that, and handed my precious cargo to the official ‘pack the truck bed and go person’……..Fast forward to home. No backpack. Which means. Backpack lying either on dirt road or highway somewhere over 120 miles back….. Which means. No more Spendy Backpack. Which means. No Patagonia Waders. Which means. Puke. Which Means. I’m still sick and will remain sick for the pending future.

It’s not the first time I’ve lost something that was either expensive or important to me in the Great Outdoors. I’ve had some fishing gear that was stolen from me, but that isn’t the same as losing things and deserves a different type of blog entry (the who believes in break arms first and ask questions later quandary)—-Today I’m writing about simply losing things. Poof-Gone-Cry about it in your sleep or blog sort of kick to the gut.

The other item I lost in the Great Outdoors that the memory, years later, has the ability to bring a lump to the my throat and constrict my breathing abilities was a diamond.  A beautiful diamond pendant that I always wore around my neck and despite other opinions that I shouldn’t have been wearing it out fly fishing — seriously, no one needs to hear a stupid opinion like that AFTER it’s gone — was lost in the river. Devastated…

I’ve read that when things go missing a person is supposed to emotionally let them go and if they are meant to come back, well I guess presto, they come back. Well so far my diamond has never come back and unless some miracle happens over my waders that produces a happy ending, I’m not holding my breath.

Misery loves company, so today as I’m crying in my empty Patagonia waders box, I’m wondering about others out there. Who else has lost something in the Great Outdoors that they still feel a solid boot kick to the gut over? Nippers don’t count…..

Rebecca aka Waderless Water Swatter


{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

KaraNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 10:42 am

I once lost a large box of flies all of which my husband had tied. I felt horrible all summer long. Looked everywhere but to no avail. Come fall when I slipped my waders back on, the box was way down in the foot of the waders. Whew. It still sucked to not have those flies all summer. Who knows, maybe some nice citizen reading your blog will come across your backpack and return it. If not, contact me about possibly getting you hooked up with some new waders.



RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:04 am

Kara ~ I’d be sick if I ever lost a box of flies! Especially if they were all hand tied. I always feel sentimental and extra protective of hand tied ones! I’m glad you found them though. That must of felt like Christmas morning =) I’ll let you know if I get them back—or not ~


RobNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 11:09 am

Bummer…that really sucks…I recently left my $50.00 paddle out on the beach after a fishing trip. My bad. I have a rule- I pack all of my own stuff so I don’t have to be mad at anyone if they leave anything. If someone else tried to pack my tent, they can’t manage to get it back in the bag and I’d have to do it anyway….

It didn’t end up in anyone else’s truck?


RobNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 11:19 am

Oh yeah…I almost forgot….You don’t need waders here. :)


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

LOL you Florida teaser ~ I’ve learned my lesson, I promise! I will be packing my own stuff in the future. I checked with the others that were there. My backpack was in the one truck bed and evidently went fly out somewhere. Sorry about the paddle! That sucks~


Lizzy aka The FisherbabeNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 11:26 am

I lost my engagement ring and wedding band…I didn’t lose it in the outdoors but it still makes me sick to think about it :(



RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:09 am

Oh Lizzy ~ That is a terrible loss! Worse than a pair of waders, thats for sure.


trout whispererNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 11:30 am

lost a fishing creel once after a full day of brook trout fishing…..my grampa gave me the creel when i was a kid…..i still look for it now and i lost it over ten years ago….every time i fish that stream i look……


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:10 am

Trout Whisperer ~ I remember hearing that story in your book CD. The sentimental value on such an item is priceless….maybe someday it will magically appear! I’d keep looking just like you do


KirkNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

I’m real sorry to hear about the lost backpack and waders- that truly sucks indeed. But I’m also a little miffed that you hadn’t written about the acquisition prior to now. You shoulda be dancing a jig and shouting out to the far corners of the internets, “I got me some Patagucci waders! I got me some Patagucci Waders! Neener, Neener, Nee-ner!”

Hope they show up. Maybe you know someone who knows someone who can get you a pro-form deal on a replacement pair?


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:14 am

Kirk ~ Well I really hadn’t had a chance to try them out, get the required blog picture and flaunt my new Patagucci status. Hell…I didn’t even know Patagonia was of the Patagucci status or I’d have been meandering around town in those babies =) I’ve never tested out my connections for the pro-form deal, but the fly shop I’d bought them from gave me a discount on them in the first place…..


WolfyNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Losing cool stuff sucks.

I’ve lost the usual “box of flies” – bent over in a high , fast stream to land a fish and the box slides out of an un-fastened pocket. And more knives than I care to admit. Including an Al Mar last summer. (Damn – I almost forgot about that one). But the worst was a custome made landing net. Beautiful wood, my name engraved in it. I was using a magnetic release, and the lanyard kept getting in the way, so I disconnected it. Wrong move. After a couple of miles on a remote Utah trout stream, it was no where to be found when I reached for it.

No more magnetic releases for me.


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:16 am

Wolfy ~ Noted on the magnetic release! I’ll keep that in mind, although my net is a generic run of the mill I probably wouldn’t panic over. I’ve never lost a box of flies that way….I’d probably go swimming.


joseph Guy MartinNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Hey, I am not gone ask how are you…I know…miserable…I understand…been there also…I had just got me an antique camera on a thursday and left on friday to go camping and fishing North of winnipeg, manitoba…4hrs drive….I was real excited to try the new camera….you guess it, never found the darn thing….still to this day …….(30 Years later) I thing back and try to see the every details of the packing process…and can’t figure it out….remember 30 years later….when I think of it I want to puke…..
I feel for you, you have just join a very elite club that should always remain nameless…
Oh..BTW…I mailed your flies last week….Hope they don’t get lost…
Hang in there girl…try not to think about it…but don’t forget YOU lost them…oups…sorry…


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:17 am

30 years later?? The pain of loss lingers that long? Ok, good to know I’ll still be boo-hooing over the diamond and waders for ever. I’ll warn my friends =) I look forward to the flies! One positive coming my direction, a much needed positive~


ClifNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Any chance you had your name written on anything in the bag? Had I found a bag, I would go through it looking for something to ID the owner.


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:19 am

I thought about that Clif, after the fact and nope, not a single thing that I can think of! Now I’m going through all my stuff adding little name hints in various spots. Again…lesson learned!


Hondo LaneNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm

…well now you can go get you some Simms waders and and quit buying that Patagucci stuff!


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:20 am

LOL ~ I swear, I had no idea Patagonia was considered Patagucci amist my fly fishing friends. Duly noted =)


ColoradoAnglerNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Losing things, eh? Yeah, somewhere along the line I’ve managed to lose expensive glasses, my direction, rods, my mind, reels, women….you name it, I bet I’ve lost it.

Sorry to hear about your new waders and pack…uncool. But welcome to the club!


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:21 am

Not sure I wanted to be part of this club! If I had lost all the things you listed –cept maybe the women– I’d be a basket case. Where exactly do you fish? I might need to follow along about a half mile behind so I can stock up on much needed items =)


ken morrowNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 8:25 pm


Last summer in the Gila Wilderness…a place where I usually fish for days without seeing anyone outside the campground, at the outpost, or at the visitor center…I grounded my overnight backpack containing 2 fly rods, gps, various other doo-dads, and 2 reels – one of which was my FFB limited edition Project Healing Waters reel (only 50 made) in a totally deserted, isolated area of the National Forest at the edge of the Wilderness and completed camo’d it in an out-of-the-way place. I planned to return the next morning to get it. It was an emergency situation and I needed to move as quickly as possible and had somewhere between 4-6 miles to cover on a fire road before dark to get help.

The next day I went back and there were 2 big rigs of horse trailers camped nearby…a group of fly fishermen. My pack was gone. Talking to them I learned that the group leader was a retired highway patrolman who swore nobody in their party found it and that no one else had been in there since they arrived. But they did have a nice camp dog with them.

I bought that reel for myself as a permanent reminder of all of my wounded soldiers and disabled vets when I resigned as the Southern Region Coordinator for PHWFF. I didn’t even think about it being in the pack when I left it there because I had to go get help for someone who was in trouble. But apparently no good deed goes unpunished.


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:24 am

Ken ~ Thats just sick that someone would take your pack like that. And even if someone did, they should have run ads for a month that they had found it. If it was those guys at that camp, I hope they feel like shit for life over taking it and not giving it back. I’d like to hold a higher faith in people, that people would do the right thing, but reading your story certainly knocks that faith down a bit. So today, instead, I will hold faith that your good deed will be rewarded in another way, as it should be.
Oh, and 10 years bad karma to the person who took, and kept your pack!


Kentucky JimNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Had a Scott fiberglass “backpacker” rod stolen once, many years ago, along with the reel and line. It was a new idea, making a four piece rod with ferules made out of the rod itself. It was given to me by a very, very special lady in my life. I’ve never forgotten that rod, or the lady who gave it to me.


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:26 am

Stolen…..now that just boils my blood! It sounds special and I’m so sorry someone robbed you of that irreplaceable rod.
Wishing 10 years bad karma to them as well………


MelNo Gravatar June 14, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Rebecca, sorry to hear of your mis-fortune. I left a vest loaded with boxes of flies on the top of my truck one day while fishing Blue Lake over in your neck of the woods. Took my waders off, threw them in the back of the camper shell and drove off. Never to see or hear of vest and my fly fortune again. I think I remember crying some, too!

I am going to cross my fingers and hope that there are still a few good Samaritans amongst us. Place an ad in the Statesman, you never know. God works in mysterious ways!


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:28 am

Mel ~ I’d cry to the high heavens if I lost a vest filled with flies. In the lost section where I placed my ad for the backpack & waders, there is an ad for a lost vest filled with flies and I thought to myself, that poor man! If I ever find someones flies, vest, rod…anything….I’m going to go beyond the call of duty to try to get it back to the person.


James MannNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 6:43 am

I don’t think anyone likes losing things. I have been quite fortunate over the years to have dropped things that I picked up on the way out but can’t remember anything other than a few flies to trees. I have climbed plenty of trees though getting back the flies I could.

First, did your mother sew your name tag inside them? If so maybe an honest person will find them and return them or perhaps they will read about your loss online and find you that way.


RebeccaNo Gravatar June 15, 2010 at 9:31 am

James ~ I’m a tree climber/fly retriever myself! I’m so glad you haven’t lost any big ticket items over the years. Hopefully that good karma sticks with you. I didn’t have my name on anything, at all (that I can remember) which I regret deeply now. Lesson for everyone—mark your names on vests, fly bags, rod holders, waders…..pretend it’s like kindergarten all over again =)


Brett ColvinNo Gravatar June 16, 2010 at 7:29 am

One fine day I was out in a float tube enjoying gale force winds. I had opted for a fast-action, 7wt stick to punch my big streamer through the gusts which were sweeping across a deep, trout-filled stillwater. Some people think the term “double-haul” refers to the 2 line hauls involved in this technique. In actuality, it’s a reference to the fact that your cast can “haul” two items at the same time. In this case my fly and the pair of $200 Oakley sunglasses hooked perfectly off my face by the streamer and sent hurling in a tight loop 90 feet in front of my tube and down to Davy Jones’ Locker. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to achieve planing speeds in a float tube over short distances when rushing towards the expanding ripples created as your gear splashes down. Alas, it was to no avail.


KenNo Gravatar June 17, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Sucks that you lost the backback, but at least you had some good food and beer :o )


BigerrfishqNo Gravatar June 18, 2010 at 8:31 am

What have you all………. Found? is the glass half empty or full……

And along comes bigerrfish from a whole different angle……R


Zach MatthewsNo Gravatar June 25, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Rebecca -

I recently left a tripod on a trail an hour up a mountain, four hours from home. Unfortunately, I knew exactly where I’d lost it (I’d slid down on a slope on my butt), and I knew the trail was remote enough that no one would have picked it up yet. It bothered me so much that I finally decided to just go back and get the dang thing. It probably cost me half as much as it was worth in gas money but the peace of mind was worth it.

In 2006 I found a box of clearly hand-tied flies on Slough Creek in Yellowstone Park. The flies were all Royal Wulffs in various sizes, not especially professional. Clearly they meant a lot to someone. I have held onto the box and periodically post the ‘found’ notice to various internet sites. I’d love to return it to whoever lost it. If anyone can describe the box itself, I’ll send it right out.



Leave a Comment

Anti-Spam Protection by WP-SpamFree

Previous post:

Next post: