We all have our foibles, and one of mine
is an old sweater.
Actually not all that old I suppose, perhaps
four years or so, but I found it in a Land's
End catalogue and since I had never owned one
like it (and always envied those who had one)
I ordered it. I was exactly right, exactly
what I expected. How often does that happen?
Sadly, I ordered another the following year from
the same place and it wasn't nearly the same quality.
It is a black cashmere turtleneck. Living here
in the great northwest, we really don't need much
of a wardrobe, no big deal about having a 'winter'
coat or insulated boots. I see some hardy folks
in shorts year round, 'tho I don't care to join
them. But the sweater works for cool evenings,
or crummy wet days. It is fine with jeans or
slacks, under a jacket or by itself. It is soft,
warm and somehow comforting.
I began to see wear at the elbows, and started
looking for a replacement. I actually bought
two others, neither of which are as nice. That
having to do with the thickness and loft of the
knit itself. I also ordered and returned two
others which were expensive but very skimpy,
close to tee shirt thickness.
Unfortunately, the 'favorite' has been worn so
much it developed actual holes in the elbows.
I'm reasonably handy, so I found some ultra suede
fabric and made nice oval patches for the sleeves
and hand sewed them on. Looks neat and solved the
problem. Almost. One sleeve now has holes below
the patch. What to do? I haven't done it yet, but
I will move the one patch and mend the holes it
It isn't that I don't like the other two sweaters
I bought, I just like the really worn one better.
I'll probably wear it until it totally disintegrates.
It isn't just a favorite bit of clothing.
We all have a favorite place we fish more than any
other. A fly rod we reach for even if it might not
be the 'best' rod we have, or even one well suited
to the fishery. There isn't any good rational for it,
we just get attached.
It could be we are lazy and don't want to work
at finding a new favorite place, or learning what
it takes to make a new place as good as our old
favorite. Time may be a factor, we just aren't
willing to spend the time to explore. In truth,
the decision to explore someplace new may take
time away from what we view as reasonable success
at the favorite place. Perhaps it is fear of the
We don't want to spend our valuable fishing time
flailing about with little or no catching
involved, and don't see the value of just getting
out a doing something different. Which in itself
could lead to more new discoveries. Perhaps being
willing to make new discoveries gets lost with
creeping age and grey hair.
I know some people who fish with the same fly rod
all their lives. No matter that there are new,
lighter, more responsive and in fact rods which
are much easier to cast. Rods which would make
their casting and fishing less work - a factor
which those of us who are aging faster than we
would like to admit - choose to ignore. We
ignore that fact because in our minds we are
still 25 and will live forever. Nothing like
having dear friends in your peer group in the
hospital to bring the fact right in your face that
we are not immortal.
When was the last time you really tried a new,
different fly? Is your fly box full of old
standards or favorites? Have you ever
fished a fly which was really out of the normal?
Why not? Just because something works, doesn't
mean there aren't other flies which will work
as well or better.
This is not a plug for the fly fishing manufacturers,
but - there really are loads of new products which
will probably do a better job than any we currently
own. The over all technology on fly rod construction,
materials and design has improved tremendously over
the past years. New fly lines with different tapers,
core materials, coatings for various climates can
make your personal fishing more successful. Clothing
to repel insects, screen out harmful UV rays and
dry quickly all can make our fishing experiences
better. Materials for flies keeps growing as well,
new synthetics to mimic the look of the naturals and
take possible stress off critters used for tying.
Maybe a 'concept' fly would be just the ticket for
that picky fish you've been trying to catch.
It is all out there for your perusal.
But you have to climb out of your rut to find
them; I hereby give you permission to give it
a shot. ~ DLB
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