Physical distance (thousands of miles) has separated myself and a good friend and prohibited our communion on the water. So it was with some anticipation and excitement that I made the trip to one of our favorite old haunts to meet up with him.
Arriving at the trailhead to find Steve already waiting for me, we merrily greeted each other, rigged up our rods while catching up on current family news, and then headed up the trail toward our destination. Steve had his usual vest on, loaded and complete with the kitchen sink, and he labored under the weight (sweat mostly, because it was HOT). I on the other hand have long since ditched my old vest, and have pared my “carry-all” down to “minimalists” proportions, so I pranced along the trail with just a small chest pack on.
This fact was not lost on Steve, and he soon began interrogating me on how it was that I could carry all I needed in such a tiny package. This conversation continued in general terms until we reached our destination, and that’s when the fly boxes eventually came out. As I pulled the first small six compartment box out of my pack, Steve stopped perusing his monster box and looked at me dumbfounded.
“Let me see that!”
I sheepishly handed over the box, already knowing what was to come. Steve peered into each compartment window, and a knowing smile soon formed, that turned into an accusing chuckle.
“There’s nothing in this but attractors!”
“Yeah, so. That’s my attractor box.”
“You got another box in there?”
“Of course I do.”
“Let’s see it,” Steve said holding out his hand and staring at the ground while shaking his head in disgust.
A lot of stalling and nervous laughter ensued on my part, but eventually I pulled another small box from my tiny pack and handed it over. Steve repeated his previous examination procedure and began heartily laughing.
“Let me get this straight. You call yourself the Dry Fly Guy, but almost all you’ve got in your boxes are attractors? Whatever happened to matching the hatch?”
There was no denying it. Almost all the flies I carried that day were attractors.
Now in my defense, I knew the water well, and knew that as long as you haven’t spooked them with your approach or a bad cast, the Brookies in this water will generally attack anything. So fly selection wasn’t likely to be much of an issue.
Of course, the fact that I out-fished Steve by every measure he came up with (i.e., prettiest, largest, smallest, and most) didn’t hurt in defending my fly boxes either.
Sometimes it’s just better to be smart, than knowledgeable.