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Measure twice, cut once

Or rather, check twice, then fish

The cliché, measure twice and cut once, is really for the construction trades, however, with some customizing it can be used in the world of fly fishing. Instead of measuring and cutting make it “Check twice, then fish.” You might be asking, “Check what?” A recent situation with a missing reel reminded me of when not checking twice made fishing more difficult.

I heard a story, a long time ago, where a fly fisherman went to a fly shop to buy new wading boots for an upcoming trip. The fisherman tried on a boot, it fit, he put it back in the box, paid for them, then promptly drove to a remote location for several days of fly fishing. Once there, he pulled the boots from the box, only to discover there were two left boots in the box. Had he slowed down and checked the other boot in the box, at the shop, the trip would have been a success.

I know a fly fisherman who got in a hurry and didn’t check around the vehicle, twice, before he drove home, and left his vest sitting behind the truck. He did get it back. Those two stories were not me. However, I’m not without culpability in other instances. I once picked up clients, drove to a river and found I had two left boots. I also discovered wearing two left boots, while possible, is not very comfortable. Of course, when I went fly fishing by myself and discovered I had left both boots at home, enduring the teasing I received from a fly shop owner when I asked for rental boots prompted me to never do that again.

Having to ask my daughter for flies, on an outing, because I had left my flies and vest at home, had her shaking her head and asking if I was really a guide. Of course, I got her back when she forgot to put bread in the ice chest for our lunches. The final straw happened when I pulled, what I thought was a four-weight reel, out of my gear bag, only to discover I had a seven-weight spool in my hand. These types of instances are countless, and could go on forever. If you’ve fly fished for any length of time, your stories are every bit as good as mine.

There is a solution. Just as pilots use a checklist before flying, fly fishermen should have a written checklist before starting the truck. My soon-to-be-written check list starts from the bottom and goes up. Boots, one right and one left, are the top of the list. This is followed with waders, mine, not someone else’s. Rods and reels that match, along with the proper leaders and tippets. Don’t forget your vest that houses all the necessary flies and other needed items. If you wear reading glasses, don’t forget them. I’ve heard it’s embarrassing to ask your fly fishing partner to tie your flies to your leader. Always remember to walk around your truck, twice, checking for gear before you head home.

The list really doesn’t have to be lengthy. But you do need to put enough reminders on it so you get to and from your outing with all your gear. I suggest you laminate it so the ink doesn’t wash away from rain or wet hands. Next, and very important, put it where you will be able to find it. Hang it with your fishing glasses, lanyard of tippet, or on the mirror in your truck. Once you’ve created it, and put it where you can find it, use it. Don’t get in the truck without checking it. A five-minute check can save your trip.

Reach Don Oliver at durango.fishing@gmail.com.