Fly Fishing Gear

Because if you are there should be no problems with my X-mas wish list:

Mr. Fly Fishing Santa, you should know that after a full season of flinging flies, my waders leak and I need new ones. The leaking is more so on the right foot than the left foot, so basically, I’ve got one damp sock and one wet sock at the end of the day. That sort of water intrusion isn’t conducive to a pleasant day, especially if it’s cold out.

I promise, I was good to my waders and this isn’t a negligence situation. Several of the rivers I enjoy have vicious vegetation hazards that like to sneak up on me and lance microscopic holes for fun. Not my fault at all! I think we should just chalk it up to basic fly fishing collateral damage.

The Simms wading boots you gave me a few years ago still rock so we’re square there…..unless you have an extra pair of boots sitting at the workshop and you want to throw them in because I’m high on the ‘good’ list this year. I wouldn’t complain or anything.

I can’t believe I’m going to ask you for this Mr. Santa Fly, but here goes. If you wrap up a fly tying kit, I hereby swear to give the whip finish another try. Now, before you say anything or go checking your list, yes, you already gave me all the fly tying gear once before. If memory serves me correct,  my hair got caught in the vice, anger ensued, elk hair went flying and the pheasant I kept plucking ran away. I’m sure I donated it all to the first Trout Bum I came across. Clearly I wasn’t old enough, mature enough or prepared for such detailed creativity back then. I’m ready to give it another go. (You can blame all the blogs I now visit that show beautiful hand tied flies and recipes that make a non-tying soul drool)

Obviously nothing I create from my new fly tying whatnots will be fish worthy anytime soon, so you might as well throw in some flies tied by your Elves. A few dozen of the usual will do. I’m sorry to go here on a X-mas list, but lets get this out of the way and clear the air. (Rumors you know) If you’re running a fly tying Elf sweat shop up there, it’s time to let the little guys out! 

I’m still actively dating fly rods, so feel free to toss any sleek new sticks my direction.

My last request is a drift boat. Nothing more, nothing less, no biggie and it would fit on your sled, right? Life on the banks has been good to me, but I’d like to experience all my favorite rivers from a new angle. The few times I river hitchhiked, I really enjoyed myself so it’s time to add a new element to my fly fishing repertoire.

If it wouldn’t be too much to ask, feel free to toss in two of your most robust elves to row for me. It would be much appreciated!

Sincerely,
Rebecca Anne….who is most certainly on the good list and if for some reason I landed on the bad list, please send evidence, affidavits, and a notarized signature of the (nark) witness(es).

~Wishing everyone a Wonderful and Memorable Holiday Season~ 
May either Fly Fishing Santa, Bass Santa, Archery Santa, Hiking Santa, Hunting Santa
or Outdoors Santa visit you all.
 I have no doubts you are all on the good list….right? 

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“Will Net for Hand Tied Flies”

by Rebecca on November 9, 2009

in Fly Tying

I’ve already publicly declared my fly tying inadequecy, but if you’re new here, I’ll go ahead and tarnish my fly fishing reputation for you as well~~ I don’t tie flies ~~I know, I know, you are first shocked and than you feel confused about this appalling confession. I am in the minority (so it seems) of fly fishers who do not sow their own artificial bug reproductions.

The way I see it, in every heirachy system (and who’s going to argue that fly fishing isn’t a society in itself ) there should be a few rebels scattered among the ranks to keep life interesting. Behold, the mutinous behavior of she who brandishes a fly rod. For those of you who don’t tie flies either, join me in this rebellion…I hear there is safety in numbers…For those that do tie flies, I bow before your mystical abilities.

Humble truth moment ~ I’m only part of the rebellion because I failed miserably at tying my way into the elusive club. There was a time I had visions of flies made by my own hands and I dove head first into the pursuit. All part of the natural evolution of fly fishing right? First you buy the rod, then you get yourself the most fancy set of clothes you can find, maybe catch a fish and then start tying flies. Presto…you are the shit ~

 On an investment level, I poured enough money into my fly tying ambition that if I add it all up, I could have bought the drift boat I always wanted instead, charged a standard rate of hand tied flies for river rides and I’m fairly certain I’d be ahead of the game by now.

Umm, Ya

~Impressive Skill Required~

Basically, I didn’t enjoy crafting flies. I had neither the microscopic skills nor the patience required for such a teenie tiny detailed hobby. One fly would take me two hours to perfect and it took two casts into a river for it to unravel. My crowning achievement in hand crafted fly construction was a San Juan Worm and let me tell you, I still have it and it’s a freakin’ beauty.

At some point and near financial bankruptcy (because every pattern seemed to call for yet another thing I didn’t have) I decided I’d rather melt my vise in a campfire, turn in my provisional tying membership and just go fishing.

Now, just because I don’t personally cook recipes that call for elk hair or pheasant feathers that doesn’t mean I don’t covet the hand tied flies over say, purchased ones from Cabelas. So that’s me, I’m not actually part of the team, but I’m not above leaning over the rail hoping for a high 5… Or I guess in this case, I’ll net fish, retrieve a floating hat, sit on a river bank with a sign that says, “Will net for Hand Tied Flies” and sometimes I might even beg, borrow, purchase but never steal, my way into the coveted hand tied ones…And fine, I might even resort to feminine tactics (double gasp) if the Caddis fly looks particularly floaty ~

Rebecca

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The Trusted Hip Waders

~The Trusted Hip Waders~

Ask a thousand people how they want to die and 995 people will say, “peacefully in my sleep” as the preferred method of departure. From that predictable point the various ways one can bite the bullet are endless. Each individual harbors personal death preferences and for me, death by drowning is extremely low on my desired ways of walking toward the light.

When I first started fly fishing I wore the full blown chest waders because that’s what you do when you become a fly fisher-er-man-woman-whatever. Despite the fact a touch of girly came out in me and I thought those overall waders made my ass look like the state of Texas, I did love the river freedoms they afforded. I went from a dirt bank dweller to a water rat with no boundaries.

The problem, for me, or maybe I should label it for what it was—the temptation—with chest waders was the ability to wade out to that one spot. You know the one, that if you can just get to there you can roll cast back to the bank, around the hanging tree and to that one rising trout. I’m sure this is a me thing and others don’t suffer from such temptations. The sort of fishing weakness that leaves a good set of common sense guidelines back at the truck.  It didn’t take long to figure out I wasn’t Jesus and couldn’t actually defy water, command water, and I certainly couldn’t walk on water.

I discovered that unlike my Fly Fishing Mentor or other more stout guys around, weighing in at a buck 35 (that’s right, I wrote my weight, I’m also tall, but weight is the only measurements I’m parting with today) doesn’t exactly weigh me down like everyone else if there’s any sort of current. I’m sure there’s some physics involved here, a mathematical formula that would explain why Rebecca + River divided by Wade Depth x Current=Certain Death Swirl.

I had my fair share of ‘oh shit, I’m gonna die’  moments. It didn’t take that long to put two and two together to realize my personal red zone. The threshold between safety and danger Will Robinson !! was my hip area. I can wade all day long with water swooshing between my legs, but take those one or two temptation steps into a current that puts my hips under water and it’s like a freight train pushing against me and underwater arms pulling me out for a lets talk about dead meeting.

The breaking point was on the S.F. of the Boise River. A beautiful June afternoon when the river was still high ( I know! I know! No lectures nessassary, I swear, I learned my lesson) and the fish were rising all around me. Temptation was doing a good job of luring me into the red zone or maybe it wasn’t temptation that time. I think I’d rather blame the trout that was rising behind a rock and I couldn’t get a good drift into his honey hole. I blame the fish (written like a true addict, push blame) for those few extra steps that would have lined my fly up just right. Two extra steps, freight train pushing against my stomach and whooosh…..sucked out into the current and down the river.

Obviously I lived, but not without getting spit back out on the wrong side of the river, drenched, frozen, exhausted, stranded and hyperventilating like a fish tossed on the riverbank. Two hours. Two long ass hours I laid on the other side of the river sunning myself and pondering the meaning of life. Rescue came in the form of two Fly guys, one black lab and a drift boat. Mortification would be an understatement here, but I took the safe passage, quietly said my grateful Thank You and went home.

The next day I did what anyone who has a second chance at life should do. I admitted my weaknesses in the face of temptation, embraced my responsibility and made the step to remove the catalyst of my downfall. If you’re an alcoholic, you remove the booze, if you’re a smoker, you throw away the cigarettes, if you’re a gambler you stay away from casinos. I was consistantly guilty of  stepping one foot too far while wading, so I threw away the chest waders and purchased a set of hip waders. I call that restriction by choice removal.

Step 1)  
My name is Rebecca and I am weak,
full of temptations and a textbook 
addict in the face of Trout pursuit.

P.S. I have not participated in a single death swirl since my hip wader purchase. When I’m not wearing waders, I adhere to a strict 4 inches above the knee rule. Clearly I’m back in the ‘die peacefully in my sleep’ fold.

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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……….

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