January 20th, 2003

Dumb Things I Have Never Done
By James Castwell

Being the professional expert I am, I felt it might be interesting for you to read about some of the stupid things I have never done.

For instance, I have never shot a cast right back at a fish after stupidly missing the rise, only to realize that all I would do by so doing is to scare the hell out of anything within a five foot area. To do that would be, indeed, dumb.

I have never, not even once, neglected to bend the little tiny end of my leader back into the loop making it an 'improved clinch' knot, not just a clinch knot. I always have taken the time to make sure my knots are perfect.

It would be really dumb to fish with a small, insignificant overhand knot in my tippet, 'dumb-dee-dumb dumb. Nope, never have, never will. Not even if it is getting dark and hard to see the stuff, even if it would take time away from a great rise going on I would change my tippet.

Dressing my fly line? You bet, pretty silly not to do that each and every time before I go out. If out for a few days, you bet, each morning before I hit the stream, dumb not to.

Fish for even one cast without having checked the point of my hook? You're kidding, right? Be nuts to pull my fly off of a log and not check to see if it is busted or, broke off. And when I am casting long lines from a beach, making sure I have not smacked my fly on a gravel sand bar behind me, nope, I have never failed to keep constant vigil of things like that.

Have I ever just tied my fly onto the end of a brand new leader? That would be not only a dumb thing to do, it could cost a few bucks. Always I have taken the time and spent the effort to add a section of tippet material to any leader. And I always have spare leaders and the right spools of tippet with me on the stream, a guy can't be too prepared. I always carry everything I need, never have had to go back to the car for anything, not even a net.

When I fish lakes I make sure all of my fly boxes float, and all of my stream boxes sink. That way if I did drop one, it would float on a lake and I could get it; and in a stream, it would sink and I could get it off of the bottom before it sped downstream. Yup, I always have the right fly boxes with me at all times, never make a mistake, really, that would be dumb.

When the fish are really rising good, I always take the time to change a 'raggedy' looking fly, no point in fishing with a fly that is not as perfect as it should be.

Never have I hollered, "Ya, well, using barbless hooks ya know!" when someone sees me loose a fish. That would just be a dumb excuse. And I 'always' use barbless hooks, they do hook much better and to use the old fashioned ones with the 'worm-retainer' barb would be less than intelligent.

Make a mistake and have my drag set so loose that it spins out of control and makes a 'birds-nest?' Just how dumb do you think I could be? And never have it set too tight either and have a fish break off when he runs... and the reel doesn't.

My fly boxes have never started a 'hatch' all by themselves, no matter how hard the breeze was blowing when I opened them. I always position myself so the wind does not remove any extras. I read once of a guy who could not get a rise all day, went up to the small bridge and dropped one at a time, his dry flies over the side until he saw a trout take one. Great idea, except he didn't have any more of that certain fly. I always carry extras of everything I might need, never run out. Now, that would be silly.

Knots. I am great at tying them, have never had one come apart when I pulled it up tight, because I stupidly got some part of it messed up. In fact, I am as careful of how I tie my knots as I am about making sure my hat is stuck down good when traveling in a boat at high speed, dumb guys have had their hats blow off, not me though. Sometimes I even turn it around backwards to make sure it will not blow off, or when I want to take a picture and don't want the hat to pop up because my hand hits the brim. I have seen guys do that, really, but never had it happen to me.

And, never once have I pumped up my float tube, stuffed it into the back of a truck and gone from a low altitude, up and over a high mountain peak, and had the thing go 'BOOM.' It would take a real jerk to pull that.

Don't ever grab a branch when you are on a moving stream while in a rubber raft, the pull of the branch will cause the upstream side of the raft/float-tube to dip, the more it does, the more the water pushes against it and the thing can flip. I read that somewhere, never happened to me.

There are probably a few more things I have never done, one of which would be casting to the wrong (tail) end of a bonefish when all I could see was a silhouette of the thing. They may not be too smart, but they do not see backward very well, in fact... at all. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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