July 21st, 2008

Castwell's Tips
By James Castwell

It looks like it's time again to bring up a few things which might save you from some grief. Things that can go wrong but might be prevented. There is a report on here that brings up the subject. A lady was parted from the company of her longtime friend, her landing net. Now, darn it, these things become personal. They are part of our 'stuff'. The various bits of tackle which make up the whole. To lose one is not just regrettable for the monetary value, but the emotional attachment can be very strong. We got into this recreation to avoid stress and distress, let's not do things that add to them if we can help it.

Oh yes, the net thing. I can see how it could happen, especially if you are an old-timer'. Do you remember those horrid elastic chords that landing nets used to come with. The loop was big enough that I would put one arm through it and have it hanging off my shoulder. I think I remember one I had that was colored green for some reason. In a stream it (after it had been around a while would get caught in the current and keep tugging at me as it tried to go downstream). Lovely distraction.

You do remember walking through the branches stream side and having it get caught on a twig, right? Zing-a bats! Like a slingshot, it would extend and then release from the snag and come at me like a somewhat guided/unguided missile. If you have not been there, it's worth buying one just for the experience. It could be deadly though, be careful. Do not try it alone.

That was upgraded to the 'snap-to-the-neck-loop-behind-me' method. That little loopie thing which hangs from the back of any civilized fly fishing vest type garment. I would snap the net to it and then defy contorsionism to get the thing unsnapped while trying to manage a fish which desperately needed netting. That practice had to end. And it did.

With the neat 'rare-earth-magnets' which a very kind person sent up two pair of. Very strong and well made. Look kewl too, kinda 'with-it-and-in-the-know' of modern flyfishingness these days. I so far have never lost a net because they came unhooked, or however they get loose from a person. I immediately tied a string from the net to a snap which goes to me. Darn nuisance, you bet, but, better than having my net go off by itself. I had not read any propaganda about how well they held so I didn't know any better, I tied a string on it.

Keys. I have mentioned this before but it is time to do it again. Think roof of the car. When I get to a place where I am going to fish, I get out of the car and toss my keys on the roof. After I am all geared up, I walk around the car one time (more on that later) and then tell my wife, "Ok, keys going into my wader pouch (or whatever pocket)". After that is done, I press the lock all button on the inside of the door and shut it.

When I get back to the car from fishing, I dig out my keys, unlock everything and toss them back on top of the car. They stay there until I have taken 'a walk all around the car' one last time before we pull out. When the circle has been performed, I grab the keys and we take off.

We have four of those small C shaped magnets. Once the rods are joined we lay them on the roof and hold them in place with two of the magnets each, unless of course there is a very strong wind blowing. If you have to, stand the rods up by a rear door and hold in place with the magnets. A little thought and you can even suspend the rods by having the stripping guide above the lowest magnet.

These things will help keep you from locking yourself out of your car, driving off and leaving rods or other gear on top or elsewhere losing landing nets and forgetting to lock your car when you go to the stream.

Lastly, use a wading staff. The peace of mind they produce is more than enough to cover whatever the cost. True that they tug a bit in the current depending on how fast the stream might be and how you have them fastened to you, but, I know this has happened to you. You wade out or along and farther and farther and then you realize that, "darn, that looks a bit spooky getting back . Just how did I get here anyway?" And oh yes, pull all, make that all of the leader out of the end of your fly rod with your left hand while you are stringing it up. Not just some and then point the rod up and jerk the rest out. Number one reason rod tips break. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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