• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Thursday, May 22, 2014

    All The Same & So Different

    Fuzzy Reminiscences
    we'll forgo a day of catching


    .. It's becoming less tough for us to face the conflicts of tradition that grab us at this time of year.
    .. Tradition, (for the moment still strong,) demands that we enjoy the spectacle of thrashing machinery that captivates our very epitome. It's a personal thing and we've run out of companions to share the history with.
    .. Many times in the past we gathered around a radio to listen to the race in Indiana. Many times we debated the course, the bricks, the differences in drivers and machinery. Those times are gone, (for us.)
    .. Tomorrow we'll journey to some bits of water in Yellowstone National Park. We'll call it reconnaissance for the opener. We'll poke around the park on Saturday and sample some of the water. We'll catch a few fish in the gray and damp day. We'll call it a success and feel good about another opener in the park.
    .. Come Sunday, for us, it'll be "Tube Time," although the tube is long gone. The tube has receded into the dim and fuzzy past along with our hairline.
    .. This year the Indianapolis 500 will be a very foreign event to our sensibilities. Just like the"RAH RAH" fly fishing of contemporary piscators.
    .. Pageantry around the race has escalated to the point of empty hype. Branding has sucked the event into the cosmopolitan sphere of commercialism the same as is happening in the world of fly fishing.
    .. It seems that the right stuff is who the sponsor is rather than who wins the race. The cars are all made to a cookie cutter formula and the race will be a parade of decals and colors.
    .. Visit a river and chat with the fishers. What brand is your reel? Who made your waders? Have you got the new decal from the spiffy reel company for your window? Is that a burst bubble fly line? Gee whiz.
    .. What's the spoiler angle? Is camber counteracting caster? Differential toe in? What's your contract for the season? You should see the company website.
    .. Attention is focused on the peripherals rather than the activity. Drive a mechanical beast to the finish line first is just a small part of the conversation. Enjoy the water, the day , the fish, is lost in the hype of the stuff.
    .. In this part of rural Montana, the neighbors are not much interested in the goings on in Indiana. They know something about a race and they know that it's interesting to some folks but not to most of them. They don't much talk about billet reels or high modulus rods either.
    .. We've missed the boat into the age of minutiae. We've been trapped in the bygone age of simple substance and experience. We don't even know the brand of our tennis shoes sneakers, or whatever they are called today.
    .. We have some old reels and some new reels. We have some old rods and some new rods. They all catch fish. For some folks photography is about the camera. For some folks photograph is about the image. For gearheads it's about the stuff.
    .. It's no surprise to some folks that the best catching waters for trout probably aren't in Montana. There are waters in Michigan, New York, California, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Oregon that, by (pick your definition,) most standards are better.
    .. Montana has good press. Montana has good press agents. So does Pennzoil, and a slew of rod, reel, wader, and clothing makers.
    .. We're not sure it's about the trout. It may be about the water. It may be about the time and place and tradition.
    .. In the dim and distant past we remember folks saying that clothes don't make the man. It seems that today gear makes the fisher. It would seem that sponsors make the winner in the race.
    .. It takes lots of money to win the race in far off Indiana. Happily, it takes very little money to catch a fish. We've caught fish in concrete river channels. We've caught fish with small safety pins and kite string. We've lost fish on big reputation waters with fancy stuff. It has never been about the stuff; but we're weird that way
    .. Somehow, for us, the pull of the race has diminished over the the last 4 or 5 decades. At the same time the water and fish have become more alluring. We'll entertain ourselves with the race on Sunday. We'll do it because we're fossilized in our behavior and mindset. It's part of a diminished and dissappearing history. We'll fish on Saturday because we can and because it's vital and part of the present.
    .. On Saturday we'll go fishing. We don't know what rod to take. We won't know until we pick it up. We will tie on a fly, (chosen serendipitously,) and fling it into the wind. We'll splash around and scare the shit out of many fish. We'll catch a few. We'll miss a few. We won't be better because of the gear. We won't be worse because of the gear. We'll be happy to be fishing and we'll go to the pub and listen to the jabber about the sizes of hooks, behavior of synthetic materials, designs of fly lines, spoke patterns of reels, and the like. Happy fisher folk will be discussing the fish only in passing. They won't mention the water, the rain, the elk, the bison, the wind, or the bugs. They might debate the suds in the pitcher. It's all good.
    .. It's all so different and yet much is the same. We enjoy the sameness and eschew the differences. The spice is not the meat. The rod is not the fish. So be it.
    .. On Sunday we'll be back in the 50's at the brickyard. The stench of oil, alcohol, and grease will numb our neurons and it will be a fantasy trip down memory lane. There won't be many more
    Sorry Steve, just had to link to it.