Boudreaux absolutely hated Clotille's scruffy Tom cat. Finally he
decided to get rid of the beast and drove him five miles down
logging roads in the swamp and left him, then went fishing. As
Boudreaux arrived home, the cat was sitting on the porch. The
next day Boudreaux decided to drive the cat farther away. Once
again, he put the cat out and went fishing. When he got home, there
was the cat. He kept taking the cat farther and farther, and the
cat would always be waiting at home. Finally, Boudreaux decided
to drive as deep into the swamp as he had ever been, until he reached
what he thought had to be far enough, and left the cat there.
Hours later, Boudreaux, called home. "Clotille, is the cat at home?"
"Yes", she answered, "why do you ask?"
Frustrated, Boudreaux answered, "Put the little bastard on the phone,
I'm lost and need directions."
I am not a cat person. For strange masochistic reasons, cat
people prefer an indifferent, arrogant, self-indulgent feline to a
friendly, affectionate, subservient dog. Why, I will never know
I am not one of them. But fly fishing can create
relationships between the most estranged characters.
As I type, an orange ball of fluff is laying with his head over the
function keys of my computer keyboard. Inherited from my
recently-home-from-college daughter, this pet splits his time
outdoors being king of the yard, terrorizing birds, mice and lizards,
and indoors sharing space with me at the computer or fly tying table.
And therein lies the tale. The cat, Yogi, is a critic of the cruelest sort.
My fly desk is occasionally, though infrequently, organized
and clean. Usually it is strewn with loose fur and feathers
and the latest creations out of the vice. I tie by mood and
may fill a magnetic tray with microscopic nymphs one day
and great feathery salt water offerings the next. Materials
suppliers know me for a easy mark and, be it hackle or
bucktail, thread or floss, a collection of one or more of every
color imaginable is the norm rather than the exception, On
cloudy days the sun must be depressed for it is accustomed
to grace my desk with each rise, to indulge its light in the full
spectrum available there.
Since his arrival, Yogi has surveyed our home's exterior
landscape and is particularly fond of dense liriope, crouching
amongst the thick green umbrella to pounce on unfortunate
chickadees and chameleons. With pride he will regularly
deliver a small ravaged clump of brown and white feathers
to the door, fully expecting them to appear on a woolly bugger
or soft hackle. Later, among the inanimate collection at my desk,
he will bat at necks and tails of chartreuse and yellow, daring them
to respond. He ignores olive and black as dullards not worth
He watches and I tie. As each new fly is released from the jaws,
it is the cat who serves as product inspector, the final judge.
Yogi is a big game cat. Anything smaller than #6 is of absolutely
no interest. He eats things that eat bugs smaller than a #6.
Consequently, during my nymph tying cycle, he spends most
of the time sunning next to the tool rack. But, when it comes to
large feathers and animal hair or foam, he possesses the eye of
the tiger. Remnants of a once distinguished and expensive furnace
colored neck rest in a plastic bag tacked to cork board, a wall
mount of Yogi's latest kill. Left unattended, the neck spent its
final moments resting in the fan breeze, waggling enticingly. Yogi
has no patience with waggling furnace. It is, after all, not chartreuse.
A skein of black krystal flash is irreparably knotted from a similar
act of final judgment.
And then there is super glue. The cat thinks of it as paint. I have
as yet not perfected the "cat fur minnow" but I am nearly there with
the "paw print deceiver" and the "claw mark clouser". Loud
complaints occasionally announce that Yogi is dragging around
tying gear, to which he is firmly adhered.
My current focus is denizens of the Florida Keys. Yogi approves.
Tying for this trip requires large patterns of feathers and flash,
which dangle from the vise tempting fate. A chartreuse and
white bucktail-filled marabou streamer was most recently
subjected to extensive examination with tooth and claw,
and set new distance records for fly-batted-across-the-room.
Yogi certified the fly baracuda-proof.
My dog hates cats. My dog loves rooting in my hackle trunk.
My dog tolerates Yogi because I think the cat helps her open
the trunk. Coming home I frequently find bits strewn about,
the dog looking sorrowful and the cat looking like I dare not
accuse him. Not long ago I arrived back to find a #1 Whiting
dry fly hackle made into confetti. I could have strangled them
both. Then the dog licked my hand and rolled on her back to
be rubbed. Yogi came and put his head on my keyboard.
Whatcha gonna do?
Robert Lamar Boese has fly fished for five decades. He is an
environmental negotiator, attorney and educator who has provided
environmental legal services for more than thirty-three years including
active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Justice. He is a
well known fly tyer with several unique patterns to his credit. He has
developed and authored federal and state regulatory programs
encompassing a broad spectrum of environmental disciplines, has
litigated environmental matters at all levels of the federal and state
court systems, and is a qualified expert for testimony in environmental
law. He has authored over 60 published text chapters, comments or
articles on environmental matters, is a member of the Colorado, District
of Columbia and Louisiana Bar Associations, and is a certified mediator.
In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Boese has been a high school
teacher, an associate professor of Environmental Law and Public Health,
has authored numerous fiction and sports publications, and is a softball
coach and nationally certified volleyball referee. He is the president
of the Acadiana Fly Rodders in Lafayette, Louisiana and editor of
Acadiana on the Fly. He has been married for thirty years and is the
father of two fly fishing girls (25 and 21). For additional information
contact: Boese Environmental Law, 103 Riviera Court, Broussard, LA 70518
or call 337.856.7890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.