Al Campbell, Field Editor

April 7th, 2003

Shock and Awe
By Al Campbell

Shock and Awe; it's a term that has been dissected, reviewed and inspected in great detail recently by most of the major TV networks. I even heard some guy trying to compare the real-life campaign to a recent Hollywood movie. I don't think those guys know what they're talking about.

If you want to see real "shock and awe," you need to attend the Idaho Fish-In and participate in or observe the casting competitions or at least one of the casting clinics put on by that Castwell fella or Ladyfisher. You'll be awed by the way Castwell can cast, and shocked by how well Ladyfisher can keep up with him. As a side note, you might enjoy the way they teach too.

Just so you won't have a heart attack or something worse, I'll try to prepare you for the shocking things you'll see. I don't want to disclose any top-secret FAOL movements here, so I'll keep any information I give you in general terms so as not to expose the whole plan. I'd hate to get sent home for divulging too much information. However, keep in mind I was once an imbedded reporter in one of their earlier campaigns in the Black Hills of South Dakota, so I do know what I'm talking about.

The first thing you'll likely see is the "shock" part of their campaign. A thin and dainty looking woman will step up and cast a whole fly line, (or at least most of it) looking like it's the easiest thing in the world to do. She'll continue to handle more line in the air than most of us can dream about while talking about loop control and line control and how they affect the performance of your cast. And, most shocking of all, she makes it all look effortless.

Then that Castwell guy will step up and awe you with his ability to cast and double haul with either hand at will. He'll probably shift the fly rod from one hand to the other while keeping the line in the air, and all the while he'll be describing some of the basic skills needed to cast a fly line effectively. It'll look like child's play as he works the line though the air, but it'll look nearly impossible when you try to keep that much line in the air yourself. Watching him cast two rods at the same time in different directions is unbelievable.

There will be some brave folks who'll try to challenge this coalition of two in the casting contest. A recently retired flyfishing analyst has suggested that the confrontation will be fierce competition, but other analysts suggest it will be a cakewalk for the Birkholm coalition. Only time will tell us who is right, but I think it will be a good campaign.

Some analysts have voiced concern over the supply situation. Their biggest concerns are that there might not be an adequate supply of food, liquid refreshments and flies needed to deal with any aggressive fish they might encounter. However, I have news from a reliable source high in the FAOL establishment who wishes to remain anonymous, that there will be more than enough supplies on hand to handle any unforeseen circumstance. In his words: "The troops will be well supplied."

As the troops fan out on the local streams, they will be awed by the beauty of the local mountains and streams. I also suspect that the fierce attacks the local fish will make on their flies will shock them enough to place their attention back on the stream where the battle wages on. Experts predict that our troops will win most of the battles with ease, but they also predict that a few of the best opponents will escape to challenge them another day.

One expert said: "We have a well trained group here, but there will be a few battles that go to the adversaries." He also predicted that our adversaries will probably use "weapons of wet intrusion" on anyone who wades carelessly. He urged all of the FAOL troops to wear proper protection against such encounters and proceed with extreme caution in any place that looks like it could turn into a wet trap.

Well folks; that's it for tonight from the FAOL news channel. Be brave, be aware and be planning to join the coalition in Idaho later this year. It promises to be an adventure like nothing you've done before. Start stocking up now with smart flies and the other necessary gear required to conquer the adversary. With proper preparation, we can prevail. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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