Not too long ago my home state of Massachusetts
stopped issuing the kind of license that had to
be folded into a tiny wad and stuffed into one
of those little plastic sleeves that fishermen
pin to the back of their hats. Those little red
plastic sleeves (photo below) had been fishing
fashion since I first lobbed a bobber, hook and
worm into the water in the mid-1950s, so I am sorry
to see them go.
Now, we need not keep our license attached to a
piece of clothing. We are legal in Massachusetts
as long as we have a valid license with us.
Another recent change is the use of the Internet to
procure a license. In some states, after completing
the application online and paying the fee over a secure
server, you can print out your license immediately.
In other states, you can print out a temporary certificate
to use until your license arrives in the mail. Still
other states remain a bit more primitive: you can print
out an application from their Web site, but must mail
it with a check.
Though the four New England states in which I plan to
fish process online licenses differently, in each case
the result is the issuance of a license on water-soluble
paper. So, how do you store a paper product in a fishing
vest, especially if it might have to endure multiple
dunkings and wet weather?
My most prized vest-stored paper product is a small roll
of toilet paper. Over the years, a zip lock bag has kept
it soft and dry. (So soft and dry, in fact, that one day
deep in the woods I was able to barter a dozen flies from
my brother for it... He now carries his own!) So, it
seemed quite appropriate that I confiscate another zip
lock bag from the kitchen to use for my licenses.
As I recall I fished one season with my licenses stored
in this manner. Other than once getting the bag caught
in a zipper, there were no drawbacks. But in January
I came up with an "improved" system. I had purchased
my New Hampshire non-resident licenses online and had
printed out several copies on my color printer. I was
also in the process of boxing a couple of wrong-sized
Christmas gifts to return to a mail order store, when
I realized that the clear packing tape that I was using
would make an excellent laminating material.
As pictured below, using the New Hampshire license I
purchased online and printed out on my color printer,
I am able to get a nicely laminated license by taping
both sides of the license and trimming around the edges
with a pair of scissors. The license then slides easily
into a fishing vest pocket. With my New Hampshire license,
I printed three copies, laminated each, and put one in my
vest, float tube, and car glove box. I've used this same
technique to give my kids photocopies of our dental
insurance card and a list of important telephone numbers
to keep in their wallets. You can't do that with Duct Tape!
You can contact Peter through his personal
Web site www.fishingwithflies.com.