April 29, 2002

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Traveling Naked with Teddy Bears!
By Mark Lowden, Ohio (aka Bad Habits)

Ok, maybe not in the true sense, but it sure feels like it. Here I am, packing with my wife for a trip to Texas to visit our new grandson. The suitcases are overfilled with baby gifts from all the relatives who aren't acquainted with UPS or FedEx, (just kidding!), so the only fishing paraphernalia I am allowed to include is one 5-wt fly travel rod, reel, (with spare line), and a couple small boxes of flies! Now this may not seem significant to you, but if you knew me, you would know how dramatic this is.

You see, I LOVE to fish! Primarily I love fly-fishing. But, if I can't fly fish, I will use a bait caster or spin outfit, in any configuration or combination that will entice a fish to bite. Heck, I've even been known to use live bait at times. (There - I said it!) I should also mention that in my youth I was an avid Boy Scout, and have always tried to live up to the motto: Be Prepared. I don't just say it - I try to live it! Every vehicle we own has a collapsible spinning outfit and small tackle box with jigs and spinners in the glove box. My work truck always contains a minimum of a bait caster; a spinning outfit; 5-wt and 8-wt fly outfits; hip boots; stripping basket; and assorted flies and tackle. You never know when the opportunity to fish will arise! Thus being the case, my normal vacation planning usually goes something like this:

"Hmm - Texas - be going for Bass primarily, so I better take the 6-wt, good all around rod, but sometimes its pretty windy there, so better include the 8-wt., plus I have a spool of full sink line for it - never know when the fish are deep. Also, if the bass aren't hitting, they have lots of Bream down there, so the 3-wt has to go. Oh yeah, I remember something about Stripers down there, so best throw in the 10-wt with all the big deceiver flies. And just in ase the Bream are on the small size, I better take the 1-wt to make it interesting. Breathable waders and boots, vest, and fly boxes, and fishing hat - all set! Can't forget about a good election of leaders & tippet material. But what if the weather is really lousy and fly-fishing is out of the question. Best take a couple bait casters and a couple spinning outfits just in case. Since I don't really plan on using these except for emergency, I only need a few plugs, spinners, plastic baits, and hooks, limit myself to just two medium size tackle boxes. Oh yeah, its a lot warmer down there, so don't forget the top water plugs - and flies too, almost forgot all the bass poppers I tied this winter! Plus, I better throw in the rain gear. What am I forgetting? Oh yeah, a couple pairs of socks and underwear, a couple shirts, and a spare change of jeans. Done!" "Ooops - can't forget the digital camera to take pictures of those trophies!"

I know what you are thinking! "How can you travel on commercial airlines with all those rods?" Well, to be truthful, nowadays it would take a different method, but before last fall . . . imagine an 8-foot section of 12" sewer pipe with an axle and wheels on one end and a hitching device on the other. (Used for attaching to pull type luggage for traveling through the airports.) I checked this year - and the airport authorities made it clear that they would not appreciate seeing this contraption anywhere near their facility! (It's a shame too, because it made a for great conversation while waiting at the ticket counter, and you should have witnessed the incident on the escalators - but that is another story.)

Anyway, this year it's just me and the wife, my 5-wt, and five Teddy Bears off to Texas. Will my fishing experience be the same? Can a 'maximum' type guy be converted to a 'minimalist' overnight - for the just cause of a few Teddy Bears? Next week will tell! Anyway, I'm not too worried, I know of many fine tackle shops close by . . . and they take VISA, so who knows. ~ Bad Habits


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