Full Combat Shopping, Part 1
Okay, I'll admit it; I'm your basic male
shopper. I need a pair of pants, I pull
into the mall, go directly into the one
store that I know sells the ones I like,
grab a pair off the rack in my size, buy
them and walk out. Done. That's the way
it should be.
By Frank Reid
Sometimes, I'm unable to walk directly
into the store that I want and I'm forced
to "walk the mall." Okay, eyes forward,
ignore the cell phone salesmen, no I don't
want rain gutter covers, no, my non-existent
jewelry is clean enough, thank you very much.
Get to the store, purchase, leave.
Well, in all honesty, sometimes the window
displays do pique my interest. "We have
Tank Bras!" Hmmm, I guess it would be nice
to keep the bugs off the front of your M1 Abrams.
I hold firm and keep walking. But sometimes,
once in a great while, I'll get hooked.
On my recent trip to Montana, I only spent more
than 20 minutes of my time in three towns (hey,
it's a FISHING trip), Bozeman, Ennis and West
Yellowstone. Let's throw out Bozeman 'cause I
only used it as my point of entry and exit.
Note to self: check on validity of the TSA
(Trout Safety Administration). These guys
stopped me in the parking lot at the airport
in Bozeman and went through my fly boxes
searching for and confiscating any flies on
which I'd not yet crimped down the barbs.
They also took away my extra set of waders
because of possible zebra mussel infestation.
They looked official, so I guess it's for my
own good. I did happen to see "Senior Inspector
Mike Smith, TSA" the next day enjoying himself
in a drift boat.
Makes my heart glad to know that even
government employees can get a free day
off to go fish, though I don't know how
they afford it on their salaries.
Okay, where were we? Oh, yeh, we've chucked
out Bozeman from this oh so scientific survey
and that leaves us Ennis and Yellowstone.
According to the sign entering Ennis, the
population is 660 folks and 1,100,000 trout.
Ennis has two major fly shops. West Yellowstone,
according to US census information, has 1,650
permanent residents. It also has five major
fly shops (hmm, all centered on a microbrewery).
A quick bit of math leads us to the conclusion
that the mandatory ratio of residents to fly
shops in Montana is 330 to 1. This holds true
for both Ennis and West Yellowstone, so probably
works throughout the state. As a comparison,
within the city limits of Baltimore, there is
one, count 'em, one fly shop for a population
of 651,154 deprived souls. It's just not fair!
Time for a full Senate investigation.
There is even one fly shop half way between
Ennis and Quake Lake, in the middle of nowhere,
that has more flies in one place than any other
store I've ever been to, bar none. Mmmm, flies...
Oops, sorry, drifted off for a minute.
As a final note, there are also fly shops in
most of your lodges along the Madison, some
of which are very good. This is a good thing.
Lucky for me, at one of these lodges, I was
even able to find some size 8 Kauffman's
golden stone nymphs with Madam X-style rubber
legs and custom angora/silk/Angelina fibre
dubbed bodies that looked exactly like the
ones that had been confiscated in Bozeman.
Figure the odds (I knew they couldn't be
mine as, on close inspection, I found that
the tyer had crimped the barbs). They also
sold used waders. Great shop. ~ Frank Reid
Born and raised in Southern California, my mother
taught me to love fishing. I would fish from the
piers around Los Angeles as all my friends hung out
on the beach. At age 19, I joined the U.S. Air
Force to see the world and liked what I saw, so
stayed in for 23 years, finally retiring in 2000.
I've lived and fished all over the US and the globe,
from the deserts of California to the Philippines,
Germany, South Korea, England, beautiful Omaha,
Nebraska and about 1,000 other places in between.
These travels taught me to fish for whatever happens
to be in the local water. I now work in the Baltimore
area as a computer consultant trying to earn
enough to buy that next new rod or go on that next trip.
My wife is Brenda (who's quilting addiction rivals my
fly fishing/tying obsession) and we have two lovely
daughters. ~ FR
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