... of a man who loves fly fishing. I can't say nobody warned me but I married my hubby anyway. For some number of years, M. has been participating in a fly-swap with his fly fishing buddies on the internet and has decided to do so again this year. (Yes, I said internet and don't ask.) A fly-swap is similar to a cookie exchange: each person ties a set number of one fly design, but different from someone else's, and exchanges them with other people's flies so that each person gets a number of different flies at the end. This is an efficient way to get more flies as well as a way to improve technique as it is only through repetition that one improves his/her technique of tying these little monsters. Now, if you are asking yourself, "What in the world is she talking about?" then you are exactly where I was several years ago.
I had grown up, of course, with fishing all around me. Some members of my family loved to go fishing very, very much. There were many weekends spent driving to obscure lakes and dams so that they could throw their lines out and wait for the fish to bite, while the rest of us - mainly women - cooked and baked in the sun. Not that anyone, except me, complained. And, of course, there was that particular year of fanatical excursions to Lompoc, about 2 hours north of Santa Barbara, to catch perch.
But through all these events, our fishing involved the use of artificial lures or live worms and waiting and more waiting. Never had I been exposed to the idea of casting, flies, or beautiful locations à la A River Runs Through It. And, never, ever had my family been exposed to the idea of catch-and-release: For us, fishing meant catch-and-eat. So it came as a pleasant surprise for me to learn that there was this sphere of recreational fishing that was so different from the world I used to know and I must thank M. for introducing me to it. I think M. learned to fish in Maryland and in West Virginia when he was young but it was in Connecticut during his undergraduate years that this occasional interest of his became a full-fledged devotion in his life. I can't say that I share this devotion, just yet, but I do find his interest interesting and look upon it with mild affection. Oops, I meant loving. Really.
So it was that we spent a good part of last Sunday to drive to Bob Marriott's Fly Fishing Store, "the single largest source of fly fishing tackle and equipment in the world," to buy items M. needed to tie more flies. It's one of the cruel ironies in life that this store is located in Southern California. And in Fullerton, no less. Uh, where you gonna fish, the LA river? If you've ever been there, you'll know what I mean. But that doesn't seem to bother the customers. A man walking into that store is like Imelda walking into a giant shoe store. Their eyes get wider and wider as they try to acclimate to heaven as they know it. Try as they might, the only words that come out of their gaping mouths are "Wow" or "Man, it's big." There was no casting demonstration outside, unfortunately, but I'm sure I'll be back sometime soon to cach one. But while we were there, a girl with long blond hair and tight blue jeans came in and said, "I'm really interested in learning more about fly fishing. Can you help me find a pair of waders?" No kidding. It took all of 2 seconds for the nearest salesman to jump to her assistance. I found out a little later, however, that she wasn't really interested in waders and she was there with her boyfriend who wanted to check out the store. Hmm. Sounds familiar.
The flies shown above are from M's collection of flies. He tied them himself. No doubt he will be creating more with his new materials from Bob Marriott's.