There’s the fly box with a broken hinge. Half of the pin on the backside is missing, and I don’t know how that happened. I do know I’ll be standing in fast water someday; I’ll unfold the box, and the open leaf will fall off. I won’t even have a chance for a proper goodbye to the drowned flies and wasted hours — no, the days — of ordinary time spent focused on one square inch of space (that’s what fly tying is). So I’ll fix the hinge today. I could transfer all the flies to a new box, but that would probably take more time.
There’s a two-hundred yard spool of fluorocarbon on the table, newly labeled and boxed with all the shiny stickers indicating what incredible advancements in technology have now been delivered into my hands. It’s true. The monofilaments we fish with now are thinner and stronger than ever. It’s worth the extra dollars, but I still cut the corners. I’ll transfer the fluoro from its large and bulky housing onto a few small tippet spools. I’ll write “4X” on each one, and thread them onto the holster of my vest. I’ll make sure that connection is solid too, because I learned my lesson one lousy afternoon in Montana — all eight spools were lost. I wasn’t consumed and engaged with all the things back then.
There’s another hole in my waders too — somewhere. It’s almost summer and pretty warm now, so dry waders aren’t mission critical, but the last time out I shivered with a cold and soggy foot. Then I walked a mile and got it all steamy in there. Miserable. So I’ll work on it. It’s a seam leak, and it’ll take longer to find and properly patch.
This is how fly fishing becomes a way of life. It develops into a daily activity of one fishing thing or another, ever present in thought. And you’re always working to either maintain or move forward. You don’t dare let it slip backward, because you’ll regret it. You’ve heard the laments from those who “used to fish a lot,” and you won’t let that happen.
All the things. It’s what make us fishermen and not just guys who wet a line once in awhile. There’s a little bit of pleasure in these common chores and routines. It’s something we accept and then grow to love.
Another rod guide pulled out of its thread wraps and antique lacquer as I bushwhacked through a thicket last Monday, so I’ll replace it with part of a paperclip and some electrical tape. Yes, a $700 rod, and that’s the fix. Good enough. It keeps me fishing.
My boots need fresh studs or aluminum bars. I could use new ones, but I can walk in these for a few more months.
The set screw on the reel handle needs tightened. I remember it wiggled the last time I was out.
The nail knot on the fly line looks old.
Split shot is low.
And the rusty truck needs an oil change after I rotate the tires.
All the things. Then I’ll fish.
The water looks perfect.
Enjoy the day.
T R O U T B I T T E N