Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
December 9th, 2002

What's in My Vest?
Bob Lawless, Port Ludlow, WA

Let me just say that there's plenty of good stuff in there: over a thousand flies, leaders, tippets, various bottles of stuff, including whiskey, anti-bug, anti-sun, anti-sink, anti-float, anti-histamines, anti-this and anti-that. Tools: knives, hemostats, clippers, scissors, lights, .380 auto job, pliers, a small saw, a hatchet, and another back-up gun. For safety, I have an automatic and manual inflation device, a rocket pistol and about a dozen flares, the guns, band-aids, matches, aspirins, my medications, and various other liniments, lotions, and balms.

But I won't bore you further with such common and ordinary gear. It's the non-traditional stuff that I carry that is of interest here.

I carry a live parrot in my upper left hand pocket. He is not allowed on the right hand side where my rod is because one time he snipped my line in a New York second when I had a huge fish on one moment and he was gone the next. He asked for a cracker. No cracker! Bad bird!

He's a lot of fun when I'm standing alone in the pouring rain out in the middle of the river with not a chance in hell to catch anything.

I'm frozen, depressed, frightened, hungry, thirsty, sick, roaring headache, exhausted and I'm giving some thought to calling it a day, particularly because it is getting dark anyway.

That's when my parrot buddy, "Oleander," comes in handy. All he can say are filthy, obscene, sinful words. That way I don't have to waste needed energy using these vile expressions myself. You might consider buying a parrot (EBay) if you think you need added help when having so much fun. I also carry a small dog,"Smolt" who works well licking the tears from my cheeks when the going gets tough; he can stay in the pocket on right upper side because he has threatened my line only once and I had no fish on.

Sometimes I carry so much gear (a small, battery operated, color t.v. travel brochures, etc.) that I can't fish. So I just sit on the bank, using my parrot and dog to help me get by. I've thought about getting rid of either the scissors or the nippers and maybe carry only one gun. But naw, you just never know. ~ Bob Lawless

About Bob:

Born on April 10, 1937 in Syracuse, New York, my first recollection of fishing was for bullheads in a rather stagnant slough in the outskirts of Fulton, New York at the age of about 5. That puts me in this business of fishing for about 60 years. That's impressive to me if to no one else. My evolution as a fisherman took me far and wide. I have fished (started fly fishing at age 12) in New York, of course, and Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Mexico, France, Spain, Germany and Canada (British Columbia). That's also impressive, but by no means complete.

I must fish Alaska, Argentina, Chile, and Russia if possible before I leave for that great lodge in the sky where all good fly fisherpersons go, no wind, huge fish and lots of them, beautiful waters, good friends and sunny days. And there are none of those little, rather petty, annoyances that often plague fly fishers in the real world: snakes, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, horse flies, bats, suckers, ill-mannered others, mossy rocks, particularly where all rocks are the size of baskets balls (Campbell River and the Thompson River in B.C.), wind knots, snags and fishless days.

I mainly write about the humor one finds in this too serious business of fly fishing. Sometimes I try to relate stories that are true and might prove of value to others. And then, I like my soap box where I can express my love of conservation, the preservation of the rich heritage of fly fishing, and I consider myself an activists in the cause of saving our fish.

I am a retired teacher of history. I have been a resident of my beloved Washington for about a dozen years and if all goes well, I will remain here for the remainder of my twilight years. A loving wife, a fine daughter, a beautiful granddaughter, and a wonderful Labrador, Zody, make up much of life. I also have 3 boats and lots of fly rods, etc. I am a happy camper. ~ BL

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