This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

October 31st, 2004

Beware of Winter Ruts

We all have our foibles, and one of mine is an old sweater.

Actually not all that old I suppose, perhaps four years or so, but I found it in a Land's End catalogue and since I had never owned one like it (and always envied those who had one) I ordered it. I was exactly right, exactly what I expected. How often does that happen? Sadly, I ordered another the following year from the same place and it wasn't nearly the same quality.

It is a black cashmere turtleneck. Living here in the great northwest, we really don't need much of a wardrobe, no big deal about having a 'winter' coat or insulated boots. I see some hardy folks in shorts year round, 'tho I don't care to join them. But the sweater works for cool evenings, or crummy wet days. It is fine with jeans or slacks, under a jacket or by itself. It is soft, warm and somehow comforting.

I began to see wear at the elbows, and started looking for a replacement. I actually bought two others, neither of which are as nice. That having to do with the thickness and loft of the knit itself. I also ordered and returned two others which were expensive but very skimpy, close to tee shirt thickness.

Unfortunately, the 'favorite' has been worn so much it developed actual holes in the elbows. I'm reasonably handy, so I found some ultra suede fabric and made nice oval patches for the sleeves and hand sewed them on. Looks neat and solved the problem. Almost. One sleeve now has holes below the patch. What to do? I haven't done it yet, but I will move the one patch and mend the holes it covers.

It isn't that I don't like the other two sweaters I bought, I just like the really worn one better. I'll probably wear it until it totally disintegrates.

It isn't just a favorite bit of clothing.

We all have a favorite place we fish more than any other. A fly rod we reach for even if it might not be the 'best' rod we have, or even one well suited to the fishery. There isn't any good rational for it, we just get attached.

It could be we are lazy and don't want to work at finding a new favorite place, or learning what it takes to make a new place as good as our old favorite. Time may be a factor, we just aren't willing to spend the time to explore. In truth, the decision to explore someplace new may take time away from what we view as reasonable success at the favorite place. Perhaps it is fear of the unknown?

We don't want to spend our valuable fishing time flailing about with little or no catching involved, and don't see the value of just getting out a doing something different. Which in itself could lead to more new discoveries. Perhaps being willing to make new discoveries gets lost with creeping age and grey hair.

I know some people who fish with the same fly rod all their lives. No matter that there are new, lighter, more responsive and in fact rods which are much easier to cast. Rods which would make their casting and fishing less work - a factor which those of us who are aging faster than we would like to admit - choose to ignore. We ignore that fact because in our minds we are still 25 and will live forever. Nothing like having dear friends in your peer group in the hospital to bring the fact right in your face that we are not immortal.

When was the last time you really tried a new, different fly? Is your fly box full of old standards or favorites? Have you ever fished a fly which was really out of the normal? Why not? Just because something works, doesn't mean there aren't other flies which will work as well or better.

This is not a plug for the fly fishing manufacturers, but - there really are loads of new products which will probably do a better job than any we currently own. The over all technology on fly rod construction, materials and design has improved tremendously over the past years. New fly lines with different tapers, core materials, coatings for various climates can make your personal fishing more successful. Clothing to repel insects, screen out harmful UV rays and dry quickly all can make our fishing experiences better. Materials for flies keeps growing as well, new synthetics to mimic the look of the naturals and take possible stress off critters used for tying. Maybe a 'concept' fly would be just the ticket for that picky fish you've been trying to catch.

It is all out there for your perusal.

But you have to climb out of your rut to find them; I hereby give you permission to give it a shot. ~ DLB

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

Archive of Ladyfisher Articles

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ] © Notice