This is the third time I have started this.
For some reason, my mind keeps going back to
Ronald Reagan. I'm not sure why exactly, but
that man had a great impact on my life. In fact,
he will continue to have a great impact on my
life as long as I live.
When Ronald took the presidency from Mr. Carter,
he inherited a lot more than just the presidency.
Inflation was running way high, and the economy
was in the slumps. As is usual, he got credit
for the problems of his predecessor as well as
his own problems. However, he did what he thought
was right; and watched the economy turn around slowly.
I was in the US Air Force at the time, and I can
truthfully say that I was glad to see him take
office, even though Mr. Carter had tried to support
us for the most part. There is a big difference
between trying to support your troops and really
supporting them. Everything from the uniforms we
wore to the outfits we drove changed under
President Reagan. He was very in tune with what
and who keeps this country secure.
He said something I'll never forget. He said
that he was the president of all the people, not
just the Republicans. You didn't hear much of
that on the news, but that was the way he felt,
and he was willing to say it. That didn't mean
he was willing to give in to the ways of the
others though. He was determined to do what
he felt was the right thing to do.
So, what does any of this have to do with fishing?
Well, probably very little, but then again, maybe
more than we thought. Let's take a look at some
of the things I remember, and how they compare to
the fishing we do today. No, I don't believe that
Mr. Reagan did everything great, so don't get all
consumed about that. However, I do see a positive
attitude in what he did, and that plays well in
fishing as well.
The day Mr. Reagan took office; the hostages were
released in Iran. I sincerely doubt that this was
a gift from President Carter. Some folks just don't
play games, and the guys in Iran knew they had little
time to play. It is that way when fishing too. If
you select the right fly, you are likely to have a
much better day than you would have had using the
old regular that isn't working today.
When Mr. Reagan approached the Soviet Union about
nuclear weapons, he did so with new weapons being
built, a bigger military, and plenty of ideas to
trade away. He knew that the trade would have to
do with all we had, so having more gave us a better
chance. Don't you suppose the guy who has a better
selection of flies has a better chance than the guy
with only a few? Of course he does.
Look at the weapons we used in Iraq. Most of those
were either in limbo or hadn't even made it off the
drawing board when Mr. Reagan took his first oath
of office. Just three that come to mind are the
B1, B2 and M1 Abrams tank. He took us from the
fumbling military that had left Vietnam with our
tails between our legs; and converted us to the
most supreme fighting force of today's world.
The guy who fishes with the best we have to offer,
usually catches more on average than the guy who
fishes with 30 year old technology. There are
exceptions of course; but the guy with the biggest
advantage usually wins.
Then there are the times Mr. Reagan made mistakes.
Oh, he sure did make a few mistakes. Probably the
best known mistake was the Iran/Contra mess. I'm
sure there is a lot there that we will never know,
but mistakes were definitely made. However, he was
able to do a line mend with considerable skill.
It isn't that he didn't make a mistake, but rather
how he handled that mistake that counted in the end.
We do the same thing in flyfishing. We cast and mend
the line for a better drift. Sometimes it takes a
lot of mending to get the drift we want, but with
the right mending, we have a better chance of success.
No, I don't think Ronald Reagan was the best president
we have ever had. I just think he was the best we have
had in my lifetime. He made mistakes and rolled with
the punches as good as anyone I have ever seen. He
also knew that the best way to win a war (cold as it
was), was to approach it with more cards than the
other guys had. I'm betting he would have been a
dandy flyfisher too. He just knew how to win the
game. And, that's more than many of us know.