Commentary Stories

All the Things

May 17, 2017

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.
Domenick Swentosky


Click here for details.



Read More Troutbitten Stories

What do you think?

4 Comment threads
5 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
5 Comment authors
  Follow the comments on this article.  
Notify of
Alex Argyros

Very moving and perceptive, Dom. In many ways, we are are such stuff, and on such stuff we make our dreams.

Trevor Young

Where to you buy a 200 yard spool of flourocarbon?


Sage recently changed their warranty policy and rods that are not in production now cost $75 and models that are ten years old or more cost $125. $25 for a current rod though! The paperclip fix makes more sense now for an older rod like the Z!

Chad P

my favorite …trailer lights

Domenick Swentosky

Hi. I'm a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

Night Discovery Fly rods Jeff tight line nymphing tight lining tips rules mistakes suspender fishing home-stream It's just fishing wet fly fishing Industry Stuff net mono rig Dylan dry fly fishing Trout Unlimited Galloup How it Started spot burning public land Memories gear hiking Stockies Ask an Expert solitude musician club fishing family indicator fishing last cast fishing tips indicator nymphing TU wildlife ice fly line rookies Presentations mousing come on man cookout Dry-Dropper dorsey yarn indicator winter fishing silence wet wading night-sighter Gierach philosophy flies poetry comp fishing small streams trout bum regulations brown trout front ended Whiskey Baseball Burke Christmas Lights tippet DHALO the Mono Rig wild trout fishing with kids marginal water Headbanger Sculpin fly box friendship tracks montana spawning Dad Weather Backing Barrel Grandfather Bad Mother explore PSA Euro-Nymphing nymphs Sawyer catch and release science matters George Harvey dog boys Orvis giveaway brookies BadMoFo droppers tenkara Wild vs Stocked waders Fish Hard Boat Joey big fish travel split shot Tippet Rings wet flies Big Trout carp mayfly Fly Casting nymphing tips Resources Pennsylvania thunderstorm Oakiewear Trust friends Grobe Aiden photography fly patterns camera George Daniel winter fly fishing Fly Fishing favorite tightline patience nymphing stocked trout Troutbitten Fly Box mud bar boots Wild Mushrooms wading DIY stinky bass leaders simplicity fighting fish backcountry summer wading boots Camping conservation dry flies summertime fishing Streamer fishing Press Float Fishing PFBC Rich float tiny flies brush fishing Wild Brown Trout reading water skunked bite windows beadhead casting Quote walking Little Juniata River Streamers streamside Davy Wotten One Great Tip rigs knots Peace big brown trout Central PA BES winter History Buggers backcast Floating time angler types fly tying Spring Creek Plans efficiency PA Gold DJS Mystery Sighter Fifty Tips fall Namer dead drift Whiskey Drinker Night Fishing etiquette