August 9th, 2004

Guys and Bugs
By James Castwell


The evenings were warm in Michigan back then, about 1940, summertime. Outside twilights for a youngster like me were adventures, sometimes producing a small mason jar of fire-flies. Bugs are guy things, part of who we are I guess. Snakes too, but messing with bugs and making things go boom, that's our style from the day were are born.

A little experience and age and I was up to bees, honey bees I think. More adventure, what with the hint of danger and all, but rewarding and occasionally I could impress a girl with a nasty growling jug of bugs. Grade School offered more enticement. "Start a project" she said. A 'Bug Box' came to mind. I was on my way. Got a bug net on a four foot stick and preceded to capture anything within that range. I stuck them in a cigar box using some of my moms pins. As I recalled she was thrilled I had done such a nice job, at least that was my impression back then. Mom never did approve of the snake I lost in the cold air pipes of our furnace heated home. That I was very sure of.

High school advanced my realm. Ninth grade Biology! Now it was not only socially acceptable, it was an assignment. I made a special tool in class, a killing jar. Cyanide. Deadly. Wonderful. Bug Heaven. Drop anything in there and it was past history right now.

I ignored puberty and went straight to hunting and fishing, but the bug thing persisted. Bugs it had been and bugs it would always be. Even today, I sit here writing about the damn things.

I must admit here and now, I like bugs!

And that is why I fly fish!

I like the bugs!

You see, for many years I hunted and killed things. I fished and killed things. I usually ate most of what I killed. Hunting is nice, things go boom! I like that. Fishing is fun, they taste good. I like that too.

Face it! You fish because you like bugs too! No? How many books do you have on 'What does a Trout look like?' Compare that to the stacks of material you have on bugs, flies and tying information. Right, you're hooked on bugs. We don't fly fish because we like the fish; it ain't the fish, it's the bugs. Observing them in all of the various stages. From cute little sketches on bar napkins of nymphs to signed editions worth hundreds of bucks on flies or insects. You can't deny it, hell, some of you guys even taste the creepy little creatures. (Ants are sour.) (I have heard.)

I spent several years collecting bugs in all stages.

Me

From the nymphs to the imago, I think I did it all. Cages, aquariums, jars, jugs and bottles. Extended hours photographing them. Squandering reckless dollars on creative lighting arrangements for better pictures. Who wanted the pictures? Me, of course. Why? I don't have a clue. But, I wanted them and by golly, I got them.

Bugs

So here's the kicker, the reason most girls do not fly fish. Most would rather watch a sunset. Bugs do not rank high on their dance-card. Mention a trout, they visualize it in a flying pan or on a pretty little plate with a lemon wedge. So, sorry to drop this bomb on you guys, but, you who would entice your lady friend to join you on a pleasant day a stream, snatching bugs from the air, frantically tying up stream side replicas, lashing the water to a rolling boil, and hoping to rip the lips from some poor damn fish may have a bit of a tough go.

Learn to cook on your camping trips and take along an extra blanket to keep warm, leave the little lady at home. When it comes to flies; she may zip them, un-zip them, swat them, spray them, curse them, but fish one or tie one? Probably not. Remember the difference; you like to kill things and blow stuff up. She's cuddly; that's nice, leave it that way. ~ JC


Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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