How spoiled are we? I send into the ether a request for a public domain image of a monkey at a typewriter and I am overwhelmed in replies. Truly, I lead a charmed life in this age. I can buy a bag of turnips with only walkaround money any time I want.
We're at the river's edge today.
We're suited up and we've exchanged the usual bullshit parking-lot conversation with our fishing buddies. Nobody tries to solve the world's problems when we're anticipating trout.
Then comes the question: "What are you gonna use?"
A few days ago I wrote of my limited flybox this year. I'm a presentationist.
Your buddies however are not. They need that thing that's hard to acquire with just three flies in a wallet: confidence.
I'm convinced that confidence by an angler is a directly related to the skills mastery they'll demonstrate and thus proportional to the trout they'll hook. Anglers -- infrequent and occasional anglers alike -- need confidence.
There's a fly shop out there trying to help: Red's.
Let me just back-up a half step here. There are three stages to any angling we pursue:
- At the stream;
- On the water;
- The period before-and-after the stream.
At the stream we are observing. We're looking for clues like Columbo on a Sunday night.
On the water we're practicing our avocation and demonstrating our competencies to the trout all the while updating our mental model of the conditions influencing our catching.
Before-and-after the stream is where we improve our skills, knowledge, and transition the "can almost do it consistently" to a core competency in our arsenal. It's also where we earn confidence.
Now, we're back at the water's edge and the question arises.
It's rarely all that direct. It's usually more like "Whatcha think?" or the famous indirect approach: "Hmmm, Humpies?"
Whatever the consensus might be, it sends us digging into our box.
"Damn, I don't have any Lemon Gimlets with marachino."
Confidence ebbs. You were late to the water or hurried there directly from the other world without a chance to stop at The Local and find that special cocktail the trout desire this week. The bar business is fickle like that.
Here's the deal. It isn't as much the fly as it is you. How can you know you're all lined up with the regional favorites for an outing?
Use your "before and after the stream" time and ask the folks at Red's. (Fly order: deadly dozen ).
They've made it idiot-simple and we can all use that help!
Red's will assemble a twelve-count fly selection for your region and your season all from a web page.
Yes, I trust these guys to know there's a chance the Au Sable has a Hex on a June evening or that brookies on the North Branch are stupid for scarlet wet flies.
Now, the local shop is where you ought to go: your local shop. They sell gear but they're in the service and advice business. If you want the best price on gear, you'll be an idiot and go to ebay. If you want to be a better angler, you'll have a relationship with the local shop proprietors and give them your business. Award business based on service and support: not price.
If not your local, then use the river's local shop.
Service varies, however. A crowded shop can be a hard place to get help on Saturday morning and angling time is precious. Maybe -- like me -- you just don't like to talk to strangers especially to ask a question (it's a bear thing).
Red's has on-line ( here ) a selector to build a fly collection for you and your water and your outing.
You won't feel like you don't have a clue standing on the stream's edge when a Sidecar is the fly of the day for your buddies. You'll know that Borcher's Special from Red's will do the job.
You'll also be making use of that all-important before-and-after the stream time to make yourself better. This is how it works: do something to help your catching BEFORE and AFTER you are on the outing. I know. It is exactly what its label says. Surprise!
You'll fish with confidence and the trout will know the difference.
Give it a try. It helps.
Red's (whole shop here).
I'm at the keyboard today typing like the chimp of our picture.
I'm working on finishing a survey of the Driftless of Vernon County for my local anglers and on finishing a solid annotated outline of another non-fiction work. It's a big weekend for pounding keys and scotch.
Lou and I are on our own but for the two local does standing outside my library window. They look in wondering if I'm as beguiling as I seem.
I'm not; but, there is work to do. Have at the hostas, ladies.
Type, monkey. Type.