Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
April 4th, 2001

A Fashion Statement Run Through It!
Adventures with a fly rod.

by Al Campbell

Some sports that appear completely harmless can be hazardous to your health. A good example would be flyfishing. To the casual observer, flyfishing looks peaceful and serene, not a chance for injury. In reality, flyfishing can be dangerous, especially if you're just beginning to learn the sport. A fine example of hazardous flyfishing would be my friend Tom. Not that Tom was the hazard, but one of his early encounters with a fly rod was seriously hazardous.

Tom is a great guy who pursues any new sport with a passion. He's also as stubborn as a Kentucky mule. After a few short casting lessons, he was able to handle casting to Black Hills trout with ease. Considering flyfishing to be a conquered sport, he decided to take a trip to the Bighorn River in Montana for a chance at some real big fish. A great idea, but he wasn't quite prepared for the hazards that awaited him on the 'big river'.

It was rather windy the day Tom arrived on the river. The fact that most of the normal fishermen had retreated to the local watering hole to wait out the weather didn't seem to bother him at all. He wasn't even concerned when the fly shop owner where he rented a river boat cautioned him about the wind. After all, he was a master fly fisherman with at least several days experience under his belt. A quick lesson in tandem fly rigging, and Tom was off to the river to tame the monster trout that were waiting for him.

The first hard lesson Tom had to learn was how to duck. On every cast, the wind pushed his fly line and extremely sharp flies back into his face. By the time he had completed five casts, he had four flies firmly embedded in the skin of his face and ears. Most fishermen would have quit by this time, but not Tom. Like I said, he's very stubborn.

Another lesson he learned the hard way was the need to crimp the barb down on his flies. The first four flies to penetrate his skin had plenty of barb on them, enough to require the assistance of another person. Since no other person was dedicated enough to be fishing in that much wind, Tom clipped the line, crimped the barbs down on his remaining flies, and kept on fishing. See, I told you he was stubborn.

In the next few hours, Tom learned to duck enough that the line passed over his head. Now, instead of impaling his skin with flies, the flies and leader were getting tangled in his hair, leaving tightly wrapped curls of hair with flies sticking out of the ends of each tangle. Tom was beginning to look pretty strange. He was also running out of flies.

After about four hours, Tom was down to one fly and he still hadn't caught a fish. By then he was seriously discouraged, but determined to catch something besides himself before the day was done. And, that's exactly what he did! His final cast, or back cast in this case, managed to snag a big Angus bull in the nose. The resulting chase looked something like a Mexican bull fight with the bull winning every round. Finally, Tom managed to escape with a broken fly rod and clothes that were shredded beyond recognition. It seemed like a good time to give up and get some help with the task of removing flies from his skin.

As Tom walked into the fly shop, where he knew he would find someone with hook removal skills, he met a couple of young gentlemen with gold ornaments intentionally poking through their skin. One of the young men looked at the other and remarked, "Now, that's cool." There was a silver lining to the dark cloud that had been raining on Tom all day. Tom didn't know it but he was making a fashion statement. The two young men followed him into the shop and asked him where he'd obtained those outstanding piercings of angler design. Then one of them paid him two hundred bucks for the "awesome" clothes he was wearing and the other one offered him a hundred and fifty if he would show them how to create those great dreadlocks with the flies sticking out of them. ~ Al Campbell

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