By David Hathaway
When a famous flyfishing guide and writer recently
admitted in public that he had been unable to locate
a steelhead fly pattern known as the "Intruder", I
immediately leapt upon my metaphorical horse and
galloped off on a quest. I don't know why I do things
like that - some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder,
I suppose. To me, a missing bit of trivial knowledge is
like a tiny bit of corn husk trapped between the
teeth - annoying and potentially hazardous to good
Naturally, I galloped first to FAOL for the answer. As
the young Arthur relied upon the Lady of the Lake to
reveal his destiny as King of the Britons, I count on
LadyFisher to answer all of life's flyfishing mysteries.
But, "Intruder" failed to yield a result on the FAOL
search engine. I was astonished. Bewildered. Shocked.
Well that's it, I said to myself - if FAOL doesn't know what
an Intruder is, there's no point in going on. Dejected, I threw
my vest and rod into the car and drove off to my favourite
cutthroat stream to reflect. Depression weighed so heavily
on my shoulders that I was only able to take a few feeble
casts before heading back to shore. To my shame, I sought
comfort in a nickel-plated flask of cheap brandy while sadly
watching swallows skim the surface of the creek.
What's the point of life, I wondered. I'm a middle-aged man
going bald and paunchy. My wife of more than 25-years has
found a passion for furniture staining, so I'm rarely able to
talk to her without wearing breathing apparatus. My children
have grown up to believe that dad is a doddering fool who
plays with the remains of dead birds and other animals in
order to terrorize fish. My friends are under the absurd
impression that flyfishing is a hobby that one engages in
during one's spare time. No one understands me.
Oh sure, I have all the toys. When I go fishing, I drive a
sporty 1986 Pontiac station wagon that's the envy of every
angler from here to the Skagit - it screams "Fishmobile" so
loudly that it frightens the horses. My vest has all the appropriate
dangly things and a stain to match every known chemical,
beverage and food item typically encountered while stream
fishing. My waders leak in a most professional way, and
in all the right places.
But without the emotional support of a flyfishing website
that invariably yields results to obscure search terms, what's
the point ? How can my life have meaning if FAOL doesn't
know what an Intruder looks like?
With a heavy heart, I went home, packed up my camping gear,
and headed off to the interior of BC in search of meaning and
Kamloops trout . . . which I've always suspected are synonymous.
I found the latter on Dagger Lake, but it wasn't until I stopped at
a friend's house in Kelowna for a beer and an email check that
meaning returned to my life. LadyFisher's message arrived like
a glimpse of blue sky on a November day, and there, shining in
the sunlight, was a hyptertext link to a photo of an Intruder.
Suddenly, the pall of gloom lifted, birds began to sing and
my buddy got back from the store with a really nice bottle
of cabernet sauvignon. Life was, once again, good.
Now, if only someone would invent a search program that
would find words in an image file - and not just a text
file - my life would be complete. ~ David
Lighter Side Archive