September 20th, 2004

Squires of the Stream
By James Castwell

Just a few short centuries ago things were better. There were very distinct lines drawn between the classes. And that included those who fished too. Times were hard and most hunted, fished or stole for a grubbing existence. Some were better at it, got lots of stuff and left things to their heirs; money, land, guns and fishing rods. These recipients became to be known as rich people. The idea caught on and soon many chose it as a life style, only to find it harder to obtain than one might have thought.

Grouping together seemed to have some advantages and was tried too. Such arrangements were called 'Manors,' and would be ruled over by the guy with the broadest shoulders. As culture had not yet been invented, the women of the castles were often nasty creatures and any excuse to absent the building was snatched upon. The Lords fished often.

From this miserable, malingering malaproptodisml condition fate stepped in and dealt a fickle finger. Separationists emerged.

From there it all went downhill. Fishing became divided into all sorts of units and methods. Thence was born the variations which still linger about today. The nymphers, emergers, dunkers, the gentlests (those who held maggots-baits in their lower lip in the winter lest they freeze) and commoners. Holding high above the squirming multitudes though was the 'Lord of the Manor' and to maintain his status he would select the best and purest of materials and fishing gear. This was of course during the evolution of the 'Dry Fly.'

And how to fish it. For centuries sneaking up from below a fish was always the smarter method and became reserved for the 'Dry Fly.' Sneak up from below and spear the slippery things. Of course the invention of the Dry Fly inspired other inventions too. The 'Dry Fly' itself, the center-pinned reel, nice cork handles and bubinga wood inserts. Expensive silk fly lines, cat-gut leaders (sorry peta) and Humvies. So, where are we today? In trouble, I tell you, deep do-do!

The masses have found good fly-rods, usable lines, cheap reels and information. The days of the "Upper crust" have dwindled. Hardly any of them left. Our sport is becoming homogeneous and in fear of becoming once again just fishing. We must put a stop to this insanity now, to view this calamity with alacrity is to be insignificant and dawdling as well. We've got trouble now and must commence immediately to persevere.

It is with great aplomb and sanctimoniousness that I forthwith suggest the formation of yet another National, hell, let 'er rip, International organization of like minded fly-fishers. Those stalwart, pure of mind and soul, stout of heart, keen of eye, loyal of oath and general good fellows who will gladly attempt to join in the most prestigious of all fly-fishing organizations, the "Squires of the Stream."

This will be for those who genuinely do look down on nymphers and other vermin who clutter up the countryside with their mannerisms and trash. This is for the 'High-minded' of our brotherhood. The ones who really are far superior to anyone met upon stream or edge thereof and know it. There are such individuals and once again we shall redeem for them a place of honor, "high above the smell of the crowds and the roar of the greasepaint," as it were.

A few details now for those desiring some. It will cost you a mere five hundred bucks to apply for membership; however few will be accepted, we're picky. We keep the money. If you are accepted, it will be another five hundred per year. Again, we keep the money. You have lots, now we will lots too. A limited number of members will exist at any one time, depending on how much money we need. You can not sell yours, but we can kick you out at any time for any reason, and re-sell it. Again, we keep the money. If you die, we win again. Pompous outfit? For sure, but just that's the point. The more the better. Just your kind of organization.

No women need apply, not a chance, not even close. Acceptance is decided by a ten member black-ball dias. One black-ball and you are out. Those being born to members have no special standing whatsoever. Any member caught with any fly other than a dry will be at any time, other than for historical collecting, drummed out of the corps.

All casting will be upstream, only to trout, and only to those which are rising. All fish will be killed as they will never be caught again after having been subdued by one of our stalwarts. Fishing will be done in steams only, preferably very well known, private, expensive and much written about. All rods shall be of cane, reels of the highest value, lines of purest silk and the gut tapered. Clothing shall be of traditional tweeds, box-back, plaids and knicker-bockers as are appropriate to each circumstance. Ties and ascots when required. Large feathered hats are advised at all times, no Tyrolean's ever.

The creel of wicker to complete the ensemble and hip flask should be mandatory of course. Stay away from frog-water and let the world know once and again that yes, there are some fly-fishing guys who think they are damned good and look down on the new guy and spinners. Trash fish and course fish have no place in their world.

True quality can always be seen and will stand out every time. Let the world see who you really are. Sigh up today.

Become one of the S.O.T.S. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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