It's two o'clock and time to head for the stream.
Wrist watches...what an amazingly powerful gadget.
I often wonder if anything since the invention of
the wheel (which is what made wrist watches work
until the advent of digital technology) has had
such a profound impact on the daily lives of men
as this unassuming gizmo that doubles as tool and
jewelry and measures the progress of time and the
passing of our days on Earth.
While gathering my gear and depositing it in the
truck, I check for the presence and performance of
several other gadgets. Inspecting my chest pack, I
visually ensure that my hemostats are in their proper
place...fastened to a retractor and tucked into one
of the many gear holsters that are part of the bag.
I take notice of my nippers (not much more than a
dressed-down nail clipper with a tiny awl on the
opposite end used for conveniently trimming leader
and tippet and clearing the eyes of flies) tucked
into another pocket and fastened to yet another
retractor to prevent them from slipping from my
hands and falling into the water. Depositing the
bag into the truck's back seat, I see my Mosquito
Annoyer. I pause for a moment to reflect on just
how far we've come.
Mosquito Annoyer...a few months ago, I scoffed in
disbelief at the concept of this gadget! A small
plastic box festooned with a solar panel, a switch,
a clip, and a ring hook fastener. This is supposed
to ward off mosquitoes? The accompanying literature
explained the detailed workings of this little marvel:
"The only mosquitoes that bite are the pregnant
females (go figure.) This little box emits the
sound of the 'horny male' mosquito, which she
now has great disdain for. So instead of sticking
around to hear this guy's cat calls and pick up
lines, she goes elsewhere."
My first reaction went something like this: "Crap!
Junk! No way!" But heck, I'll try just about anything
twice. If this little gadget performed as advertised
(the elimination of 95-98% of all mosquito bits), it
would save all sorts of aggravation, hassles, and
damaged clothing, fly line, hats, etc. The stakes
were high indeed! Much to my chagrined amazement,
it worked. So it too has found its rightful place
on my chest pack. Just in case you're interested
(I get asked this question all the time by night
fishermen), it has a 6 hour rechargeable battery
back-up that runs off the solar cell. So, yes,
you can use it after dark.
I return to the garage to retrieve my polarized
sunglasses...the next best thing to X-ray vision.
I grab my net with the other hand and carry it
down to the truck, where I snap it only the elastic
cable attached to my chest pack specifically for
this purpose. I check my watch again and it tells
me that three minutes of my life have slipped away
while I rounded up my gear. I smear some waterproof
sunscreen on my nose. It's time to go. I reach
into my pocket and extract my car keys. Climbing in,
I begin adjusting all the various gadgets and gizmos
with which it is equipped. And my wrist watch tells
me another minute is gone forever. I pause for a few
seconds to syncronize it with the dashboard clock
before I slip the truck into gear and head toward
Half way to the stream, I realize I've forgotten my
cell phone. Oh well, surely I can live without one
gadget for a few hours. Right? ~ 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 also provides hunting and dog training
seminars for Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods
retailers nationwide and works with other outdoors
businesses and conservation organizations in the
fields of public relations, promotional marketing,
fund-raising, and advertising. He also is a partner
in Silver Mallard Properties, LLC. He currently
resides with his wife, Wilma, their Weimaraner,
Smoky Joe, and their Labrador Retriever, Jake, in
Branson, Missouri, where he founded the
Branson/Tri-Lakes Chapter of Ducks Unlimited in 1998.