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September 4th, 2000

How To Fit In
By James Castwell

Ugly rumors is all they are; no real foundation to any of them. But let's not take any unnecessary chances. There is no truth that fly-fishers, especially 'Dry-Fly' fishers are arrogant, conceited, 'tweedy,' 'better-than-thou' 'nose-in-the-air' obnoxious fly fishermen. But, if it was just the littlest bit true, this is what I might suggest. If it were true, perhaps I can help ward off some scorn by attempting to help them 'fit-in,' so to speak. Kinda of 'camouflage' themselves some.

I think adding a few of those cute little souvenir stickers of the states you have visited, (you know the ones, little map type things) to the rear window of your Lincoln SUV might help. Additionally, a bumper-sticker relating somehow to guns or beer may be a nice touch. A spring-loaded CB antenna would be a welcome addition, but may look out of place. You don't want over-kill or they may spot you as a phoney.

Try hanging out in some of the 'ner-do-well' sections of your community. Listen carefully to the vernacular and especially any hint of a 'dialect.' These can be tantamount to success if you are to go un-noticed in your travels. Try ( hard as it may be ) to incorporate little words and phrases into your vocabulary. Words such as: gosh, gol-dern, Bubba, aw-shucks, whatchyausin, and Billy-Bob. I think you get the general idea. Learn to string 'em together if possible. I know this is a big order, but the rewards may be worth it in the long run.

As for your selection of fishing gear, here we can get real imaginative, with judicious constraints of course. Remember, do not go over-board on any of this. Moderation at all times is a requisite. Fly boxes are the first place I would make some changes. The large discount stores, (you know them, the ones you wouldn't go into if paid ), well, go. I know it is going to be different but this is necessary. A false beard and some borrowed cloths from your brother-in-law may be considered here. Check that option for sure. Once inside you should find the 'Fishin' Dept.' near the rear of the store, well past the clothing, lawn-mowers and bicycles. Saunter (do not just walk) up to the counter and wiping your mouth with the sleeve of your right arm, mumble something like, "Ya got any fish-flies?"

With that hurdle accomplished, complain about the "crummy weather, the fishin ain't what it ursta be, and yer gotta take yer nephew a'fishin'. That should be a good opening gambit allowing you free reign of the fly selection (such as it will be). Here a tad of imitation 'tobaccy' juice dribbling from a lip-corner might be a nice flourish, but is not essential. Select at least two of the cheapest fly boxes in sight and fill them respectively with nymphs (I know, but life is like that) , and 'woolly-bugger' type flies ( hang in there, you can do this ). Try not to perspire noticeably. This will be over soon. Remember, these are not to be used, but only for 'show,' and/or left open on the seat of your vehicle.

If finances allow (like that is ever a problem) pick up a cheap spinning 'combo,' (rod, reel, and line) for further diversion to be thrown recklessly into the back seat of your SUV. A hat. I almost forgot the 'Hat.' Very important! While at the store look about at some of the other departments for a baseball type, not expensive, adjustable strap and a hole in the back. Be especially observant for any thing dealing with fertilizer or plumbing. These are winners. Get two. (Hint, once outside, place each under the wheels of your vehicle and run over them several times, thus procuring some of the chemicals from the parking lot and impregnating them forever with the distinguishing aura).

When you go 'astream' do not wear your normal argyle stockings and box-back coat, but perhaps some more of your brother-in-laws attire may be considered. And, yes, wear one of the hats, the other to be left on the seat of your car. If you are tempted to reverse the hat, wear some sun-screen or you will burn a spot on your forehead with a narrow band across t it. Definitely tacky to say the least when displayed at board-meetings. Remember, you are trying not to stand out, but to blend in with the common folks, and you have a good start at this point, don't blow it.

After attaching a Royal-Adams and casually working your way to the waters edge, look about and if not observed, make your cast upstream as it should be. If in the unlikely chance you become noticed you have two choices, but they must be executed smartly. No time for hesitation here. Turn sharply about and pretend that the cast had been your 'back-cast' and immediately make a down-stream cast drowning and ruining the dry fly. No one will catch on to this one, it's been used successfully for years. The other option is to make like you have just lost a nice fish that had taken your fly for a ride straight upstream. This does not carry the degree of credibility as does the first, but may be used with discretion if needed.

Mike Croft art

A word of caution here. Do not be tempted to fish any of the 'nymphs' or 'woolly-bugger' flies under any but the most extreme situations. (Such as to avoid positive detection) If you do so it is at your own risk, I will not be in any way responsible. In the unlikely chance that this does occur, fish them out and remove the resulting fish with as little fan-fare as possible as to not attract any undue attention.

Remember, these things will produce fish under nearly any condition on almost any water and should be used with utmost caution. That fact alone probably accounts for the high percentage of fly fishers who chose to use them. But do not be swayed by mere facts and such success. Stick with your avowed hobby and you shall prevail. I have heard that those who do indeed use flies such as these are nearly as addicted as you and I, hard as that may be to believe. How could anyone have such a strong preference to a type of fly-fishing. I just do not understand them.

Well, good luck, you are on your own now. I hope this may have helped some. 'Upstream and dry,' ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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