Some people just don't get it. I suspect
most of them are our own wives. "Hi. My
name is Ken, and I'm a gear junkie."
My story begins a few weeks back when one of
my friends told me he wanted to take up fly
fishing and wanted to know if I would show
him the ropes. Over a game of Spades with
our wives, I gladly said that I would mentor
him through the learning curve and I began
explaining what all equipment he would need
to purchase to get started. We tallied it
up and came up with a frugal beginner's budget
of $400...not much more than a set of cheap
breathable waders, boots, and an inexpensive
fly rod combo. I told him he would need to
take one casting lesson from a professional
certified instructor, and I pointed him in
the right direction for that, too.
A few days later, my friend told me that he
would have to wait a few months to afford
the expenditures. Somehow, and I really
don't recall just how or when, I told my
wife about my friend's temporary lack of
fun money. Of course, I thought that was
the end of it...at least until my friend
scraped up the cash and made his bare bones
Day before yesterday, my wife made a suggestion
out of the blue, "Why don't you give one of your
fly rods to Steve? You have too many of them anyway."
Never let your wife clean out the garage.
That was my first mistake.
"Too many?" I retorted. "I don't have enough!"
Of course, she was not buying my story without
"You see, Dear, I have different rods and reels
for different situations. I have short,
lightweight ones for small creek fishing
for panfish and trout. I have a 9' 4wt
outfit for fishing dry flies and midges
on bigger water. I have a 6wt 9' rod for
fishing bigger water, windy conditions,
heavier flies, and for bass. You see?"
She didn't answer me. Rather, she asked
another accusing question.
"Well, when I was cleaning the garage I
noticed you didn't have just one of each
of those rods you just mentioned. You have
at least two! Why can't you give Steve one
of your extras?"
Extras? She didn't just call
my ever-so-essential back-up rods "extras,"
did she? I knew she would understand if I
just explained it to her.
"Those are my back-up rods. They're not
'extras!'" I knew this would be the end
of it. Surely she would have to relent
in the face of such obvious logic.
"Back-up rods? What in the world is a
back-up rod?" she asked incredulously.
Now I was stunned. I could never have
imagined my wife to be so obtuse. Everyone
has back-up rods. Don't they? What if one
breaks or gets stolen? The rod collection
would now be incomplete, and I might miss an
opportunity to fish for lack of the appropriate
equipment until such a time as I got it replaced.
Heavens no! This would simply never do. So I
thought I would bring out the big guns and stop
this line of questioning dead in its tracks before
this got totally out of hand.
"Honey, if anything, I don't have enough
rods and reels the way it is. I actually
need at least two more...an 8wt and its back-up.
And of course I'll have to buy a reel and a line
for that one too. I was planning to ask you for
this for my birthday this year. What do you think?"
It worked. She dropped her gaze, turned away,
and muttered something about hopelessness under
her breath as she retreated. Whew! That was
a close call. Of course I would be happy to
have a new fly-fishing buddy, and Steve really
was a great fellow. But give him a rod
and reel? Never! I could wait a few
more months for a new fishing buddy. A man's
got to know his limitations. ~ Ken
Ken graduated from Southern Methodist University
in 1988, and spent the next several years serving
in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst
and Russian Language translator. He is a veteran
of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Leaving the
nation's service in 1993.
Ken is also a published outdoor writer and historian,
having penned articles and stories that have appeared
in several national hunting publications like North
American Hunter magazine, on GunMuse.com, in regional
and local newspapers, and historical and literary
journals. He has also provided hunting and dog
training seminars for Bass Pro Shops and other
sporting goods retailers nationwide. He volunteers
his time to Ducks Unlimited and Trout Unlimited,
as well as several local charitable organizations.
He is also a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker in
Branson, Missouri; where he lives with his wife,
Wilma, and their Weimaraner, Smoky Joe.