Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
August 22nd, 2005

Full Combat Shopping, Part 2
By Frank Reid

On my trip to beautiful Montana, I have my tying kit with me, but after fishing all day and rehydrating all evening, I'm too tired to tie. So, in standard male shopping mode (get to the store, purchase, leave), we pull into West Yellowstone. I need to buy some flies, get a Yellowstone license and info on Slough Creek in the Park.

We hit the fourth shop on the main street of town. We figure that you don't want to go to the first place you see, as they are there to grab the truly desperate. So by going to the 4th place, we'll have weeded out the places catering to the wanna-be fly fisherman. Hmm, that brewpub is up the street a bit. Maybe we'll go there after we get the stuff we need. This should only take 5 minutes.

My fishing buds and I line up at the counter to get our licenses. There's a fan blowing from the back corner of the store. A nice... cool...breezeARRRGH! I can smell it! It's... It's FEATHER PHEROMONES!

A shudder runs through my body starting at my wallet. I.. must.. mall...uh, male shopping mode. Leave the store NOW! But I can't...A little switch has been flipped in my brain. My fishing buddies have seen this before and start screaming "INTERVENTION!" But it's no use. Jekyll and Hyde, Kent and Superman, Parker and Spiderman. They've all gone through it. I change. I am Fly Mall Shopper Man!

I shake off their restraining hands as I'm inexorably drawn to the back and sides of the store. Bins and bins of flies greet my eyes. Size 16 extended body grey drakes, tungsten cone head laced Autumn Splendors, even hair wing PMD emergers.

My fingers act on their own, pick up a gross of little plastic cups and proceed to fill them. Size 20 bead head pheasant tails embed themselves under my nails. I ignore the pain and follow the scent trail. There it is, the fan. It sits in front of the hackle display, seductively oscillating, calling my name "Frrraaaaannk, Frrraaaaannk, Frrraaaaannk" in a susurrating whisper. And next to the fan, the mother load. The discount bins. Oh, you evil fiends!

My bleeding mitts paw through the bins. 10 packs of chenille for 5 bucks, pink raffia for scuds, peach baskets full of half-priced hackle. Bwahahahahahahah!!!!

There is more. I move down the wall, grab two empty peach baskets and start pushing full skeins of variegated chenille into them. Suddenly, I now have two fly shop clerks as personal shoppers. They recognize the signs. Two others are restraining my buddies by explaining the Yellowstone fishing regs in extreme detail. A fifth keeps pointing the fan at me.

I turn the corner and confront a confused 6-year-old. He looks in my baskets. I can tell he wants my stuff. "Mine, Mine, all mine!" I gurgle as I get to the selection of plastic nymph body forms. I clear the rack. The small child follows. I run to the checkout counter, trampling the young man in my haste. I must put my scent on the items and mark my territory. Ah, time for the plastic.

The clerk swipes my card as 4 registers ring my purchases. I grab my loot, license and run. I have the scent now, it pours from the other shops. I run across the street and am struck by a chevy with Florida plates pulling a 5th wheeler. The bumper wraps around my thigh. I'm unaffected. I am Fly Mall Shopper Man!

In the next shop, the story is the same. The first shop has sent out the alert. I'm greeted at the door by the whole staff. Oval stickers with river names, a gourd with trout painted on it, a wading staff that doubles as a whiskey flask. I move on.

Ah, there's the microbrewery. Time to rehydrate. This also affords the local constabulary time to put up road blocks for all the streets I'll cross and get the parade permit for my growing troop of bearers.

I hit the streets again and find the specialty shop that sells custom dyed hackle, caribou, pine squirrel, even whole beaver pelts. As a bonus, they've cornered the market on Zelon. But no longer, its all mine. More peach baskets, the plastic begins to smoke. Time to go, time to rehydrate. Again and again, shop to shop.

Three hours later, the final shop, more flies. And then, there they are. My personal Holy Grail of Fly Fishing. Light falls on them through the skylight. It's a religious moment. I approach, touch, fondle... A bin full of, dare I say it, size 8 Kauffman's golden stone nymphs with Madam X-style rubber legs and custom angora/silk/Angelina fibre dubbed bodies (hook barbs pre-crimped). The credit card bursts into flame from the friction. My day is done.

(WARNING: This is a work of fiction. It is a federal offense in most states and a hanging offense in Montana to attempt to explain the Yellowstone fishing regulations to another person. Do not attempt this at home.) ~ Frank Reid

About Frank:

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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