I recently read about a fly fishing tournament
planned for some pristine water in Idaho. That
brought up the thought of the Bass Anglers Sportsman
Society's (BASS) tournaments you see on TV. Trying
to merge the image of BASS style tournaments with
flyfishing caused an overload in my brain. OK, maybe
I overload easily, but the image I saw in my mind
wasn't pretty at all.
Can you imagine what it would be like if the BASS folks
started a flyfishing tournament tour? Can your mind
begin to grasp the changes this might cause to the
flyfishing world? Can you envision the changes, and
would they be acceptable to any of us? It's hard to
imagine, but I tried, and this is what I saw.
The camera zooms in as Mr. Rolling Martian hops on his
300 horsepower, Ranger bank-skipper ATV to get a jump
on the rest of the competition and power to the first
riffle on the Henry's Fork. Helmet secured, Rolling
Martian signature megabox fly vest zipped, and Strike
Kingsly super tungsten river gripper waders pulled
high, he takes off in a cloud of dust. A film crew
is waiting as he skids to a stop just inches from the
stream bank and half runs to the back of his Ranger ATV
to grab his pre-rigged, super titanium, quartz timing
adjusted, Rolling Martian signature, fast action,
bugger-flipping, flystick from its rod holder.
The screen flips to Overlander Wilson standing in a
riffle clad in his hot orange, signature, Fly Pro
Shops Flymaster jump suit with built in breathable
waders. His signature Overlander fly vest has extra
space to hold the endorsement patches while allowing
enough room for twenty oversized flybox pockets that
hold all his neon Ronny Mann super buggers with an
assortment of chamois craw trailers dipped in super
juice. He is demonstrating for the camera how he
pegs his tungsten half-ounce beads a few feet above
the fly to allow for better action.
The camera flips to Jimmy Austin arguing with Frank
Barker about why he likes the battery he uses on his
Ranger ATV. One guy says it's more durable while the
other guy insists it's more reliable. You can clearly
see the Jimmy Austin signature Humminbugger, laser
guided, bottom zoomer, camera angle, fish locator
mounted on the handlebars of his ATV. That piece of
fly-fishing electronic wizardry will tell you where
the fish are, what the hatch is and the best fly to
use in this situation. It also has the Harry Burgler
color system built in to detect subtle changes in
insect color and match them to the custom array of
Fly Pro Shops super dries with ionized floatation
Meanwhile, Billy Waltz just set the hook on a 12-inch
"hawg" rainbow and had to step back to keep his balance.
He also had to duck to avoid a fish in the face. We
are now treated to some grunting and groaning as Billy
reels the fish in on his Waltz signature, "HawgBow
Slammer" FlyStick made by Strike Kingsly in seven
magnificent colors. Eventually the 'bow is landed
and placed in the Strike Kingsly portable "superflo"
live-well to keep it alive until weigh-in. Did I fail
to mention that Strike Kingsly is a major sponsor of
the Billy Waltz "Hawg Hookin" TV flyfishing show?
Back to Rolling Martian who has just "stuck" a huge
18-inch rainbow. "Talk about a hawg!" he gasps as
he grunts under the strain of such a huge fish. He
slips his patented, titanium, Rolling Martian signature
"lipping glove" on with his teeth while telling the
viewers how much he treasures his 50lb test "firebraid"
GSP leaders made by Fly Pro Shops just for him. And,
he describes in detail the helicopter-tail, mayfly
scented super bugger he designed and used to hook
this "hawg" of a rainbow.
Frank Barker has just hooked a large brown trout that
might win him the "big hawg" trophy for this tournament.
He tells the viewers he doesn't have to worry about
break-offs because he is using the new Stramm, super
kevlar leaders he designed for tough tournament fishing
like this. He goes on to describe the stonefly scented
mega-monster hellgrammite nymph he designed and is using,
with the glow-in-the-dark, caddis larvae scented,
pork-maggot trailer. How does he keep from grunting
like the other guys as he strains under the weight
of such a huge fish?
The camera switches to an official who is telling us
that Jimmy Austin will have 4 ounces deducted from his
total fish weight because he was caught doing the San
Juan shuffle. It will probably knock him out of the
top ten in this tournament. Too bad. Jimmy is the
only guy on the tournament who has perfected the
double overhead, triple tuck, quad-haul cast. He
is also the only guy generous enough to describe
just how it is done on his TV show "Jimmy Austin
Outdoors." The crowd seems to like this guy even
though he has a funky haircut.
I sit up in bed with beads of sweat rolling off my
forehead. What a nightmare! That's the last time
I eat pepperoni pizza before bed while watching a
mix of flyfishing and bass fishing shows on the tube.
The thought of what I just dreamt is akin to the
"Friday the 13th" movies. Maybe fly fishing
tournaments aren't such a good idea after all.