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200 and counting

Looking back on 200 columns

I feel sure it’s hard for you to imagine a columnist being without words. Yet, as I sit here beginning this column, I find myself at a loss for words. The reason, this is the two-hundredth column of mine to be published by the Durango Herald and Southern Ute Drum. I feel humble.

To write this column, I did my usual in-depth job of research, only this time without some computer-generated research program. My research consisted of reading the 199 columns that preceded number 200. Being a fairly slow reader, and easily distracted, it took me several days. Column number one was titled “A Fish With An Attitude” and number 199 was titled “Tie One On.” Between those two, Flies and Lies has given you lots of thoughts on a variety of topics.

As I read the columns, two thoughts came to mind. Why hadn’t I won a Pulitzer Prize for fly fishing columns? And, I can’t believe my editors let me get away with what I had written. The question above is easily answered, there is no Pulitzer Prize for fly fishing columns; I think there should be. As far as editors missing items that should have been rewritten, I have no clue.

I did notice that my columns covered a wide spectrum of material. I gave sound advice on lots of topics. From tying flies, to your stance and balance to help with your casting. I informed you of unusual places to cast your fly (irrigation canals) and catch fish. You were also instructed on how to use a flashlight and the right angle of a wall and ceiling to help get rid of a tailing loop. I’m still working on that exercise. I truly enjoyed telling about the fun places SWMBO and I visited on our annual road trips. Those trips provided many ideas for columns, including how to visit with a highway patrolman to finding hidden parks and lakes that provided the opportunity to catch fish in all 50 states. One of my more memorable trips was when a pet deer ate one of my fishing partner’s fly rods. And, to follow it up, how the rod manufacturer replaced his rod for free.

I also, from time-to-time, got on my very low soap box and made editorial comments. I made sure those comments included local, state and federal entities. I didn’t want anyone to get their feelings hurt by being left out. As expected, when I made those comments there were occasional letters to the editor or emails to me about how I was wrong. However, being that those who fly fish know how to courteously express opposing opinions, my feelings were never hurt.

The topics, 199 of them, were fun to find and even more fun to write about. As I read the columns, I made a discovery. It was column 100 where I stopped using a hyphen in fly fishing. The editor for the book I was writing told me to drop it. It was very confusing when or when not to use the hyphen. Plus, according to her, the vast majority of readers either didn’t know when to use one, or just didn’t care. Obviously, I can take directions. However, I have noticed in reading other authors, who write about fly fishing, almost all of them us a hyphen (correctly or not, I don’t know.). See, I can pontificate about almost anything.

In closing, I want to use the thoughts from column 198, “Gifts That Don’t Cost Money.”

I would not have been able to write Flies and Lies without the support of the publishers and editors of the Durango Herald and Southern Ute Drum. Next, and most importantly, I’d like to thank the readers of Flies and Lies. Without you, the publishers, editors and I would not have jobs. Thank you, from the bottom of the pockets of my fly vest.

Good fly fishing.