The Angling Toolbox
By: Cory Schmidt
Two or three times a season, fishing one of our favorite trout streams, friends and I would cross paths with a dude we eventually dubbed, “Gadget Guy.” You know the type: one of those gear-loaded anglers whose fancy fly vest rather resembles a Christmas tree. But rather than flashing red and green lights, this particular fly fisher audibly clanked along as he not-so-stealthily stalked the streambanks. You knew long before he rounded the bend that Gadget Guy was approaching your riffle. I suspect even the trout might have detected the clank-fest through their lateral lines. Can’t prove that, though the fish did seem to stop rising just ahead of his arrival. What I do know for sure is that Gadget Guy definitely “felt it” when the expensive wood trout net festooned to his back by a retractable lanyard caught on a bush, broke free and wacked him in the spine – like a yo-yo on shot out of a canon.
Certainly, whether or not you carry all your devices on one big, overloaded toolbelt, there’s something to be said for handy devices, as well as the value of preparation. When suddenly face-to-face with a whale of a muskellunge, or a sofa-sized tarpon wallowing boatside, only the proper tools can save you and the fish, while preserving your precious bragging rights. The cost of unpreparedness could actually hurt: a hook in the hand, an escaped personal-best, or even a mortally wounded muskie. On the flipside, habitually practicing the Boy Scout motto (Semper paratus a.k.a. Be prepared) can sustain your status as an angling icon – at least among your friends.
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