Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
February 25th, 2002

The Devil and Mental Disease
By Michael "The Boxcar" Widener

All victims of the no-name disease are liars and thieves. Let us face the truth and embrace the darkness associated with fly-fishing and/or fly-casting. To honor and paraphrase Green River guide Emmett Heath, "what the guide said yesterday or an hour ago does not necessarily apply now" is applicable to us all. It is not that victims of the no-name disease lie intentionally; it is just that the truth seems to change on a continual basis. Dementia caused from chasing the truth is "fun" to me.

For example, upon your arrival to a stream, I come up to you in a friendly manner, a total stranger and inform you that EHC #16-18 in olive and tan are the choice of the day. Then, you go down stream a little way and run into another caster who is yelling for you to tie on a BWO #16 and get into the water. Later you run into yet another caster who informs you that there is not a fish for fifty miles. Did those folks lie to you? Probably not, but that is the beauty of the no-name disease. Everyone was having "fun" at what they were doing. Even the caster who was thrashing the water and who was without benefit of a single fish would probably say he would be no other place. I know this to be true since I was he at one time.

Originally and ownership is also a severe detrimental mental factor only if one allows it to become a problem. I have to smile at people ("fun") who desire to have a fly or technique named for them. I can see having a desire to have a monument like a building or ship named after one's self, but a fly? Good grief, I would rather burn calories finding and catching fish or read a good book rather than seek notoriety by having dead animal parts named for myself. I suspect that an unhappy childhood may have something to do with this urge (and possibly the desire to eat and pay bills). I still have to laugh when reading Mary Orvis Marbury's Favorite Flies and Their Histories, 1892, of testimonials that the Cherokee Indians were tying comparadun-like deer hair flies generations before the nineteenth century (descriptions of flies with deer hair strips pointing away from the hook point). Hence, I doubt the true unique originality of anything that combines hook and feather together.

I will be honest and say I have had "fun" with flies among my peers. I am certain that I will have to atone my sins before the Great Maker on day. I love to be with someone, and gingerly take a separate box out of a pocket and announce a secret fly. My favorite is my Major Mike's Secret Emerger that works like a charm on a local tailwaters (unless your fishing with Grizz, then it does not work at all). Am I the originator? Heck No! I got the basic pattern from a western guide that probably got it from . . . well, you get the picture. It is like trying to trace the "begets" in the Old Testament of the Bible, you just cannot get there from here. I will just close this one by saying that you can really hurt your mental health badly by trying to be famous over something like a ball of thread and feathers.

Be careful what you tell people. Having loitered entirely too long in my local fly shop, I was put to work as an employee. This experience has been an eye opener for me. Almost daily, individuals walk in and announce with great voice and conviction that they have hooked and landed trout in great number that always seem to be at least twenty inches in length. I fish the same water and come up with nothing over fourteen inches as supported by the state stocking report (after a major fish kill). So, I just stand there and say nothing since the customer is always right while all the time I am thinking El Toro Crappo on you buddy. Yet, I find great joy ("fun") in listening to people who give public orations of their adventures. I just wish anglers and fellow victims would learn to count and measure things with some minimum degree of accuracy. ~ Boxcar

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