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Confessions of a 21st Century Gear Junkie

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Some people just don't get it. I suspect most of them are our own wives. "Hi. My name is Ken, and I'm a gear junkie."

My story begins a few weeks back when one of my friends told me he wanted to take up fly fishing and wanted to know if I would show him the ropes. Over a game of Spades with our wives, I gladly said that I would mentor him through the learning curve and I began explaining what all equipment he would need to purchase to get started. We tallied it up and came up with a frugal beginner's budget of $400...not much more than a set of cheap breathable waders, boots, and an inexpensive fly rod combo. I told him he would need to take one casting lesson from a professional certified instructor, and I pointed him in the right direction for that, too.

A few days later, my friend told me that he would have to wait a few months to afford the expenditures. Somehow, and I really don't recall just how or when, I told my wife about my friend's temporary lack of fun money. Of course, I thought that was the end of it...at least until my friend scraped up the cash and made his bare bones purchases.

Day before yesterday, my wife made a suggestion out of the blue, "Why don't you give one of your fly rods to Steve? You have too many of them anyway."

Never let your wife clean out the garage. That was my first mistake.

"Too many?" I retorted. "I don't have enough!"

Of course, she was not buying my story without an explanation.

"You see, Dear, I have different rods and reels for different situations. I have short, lightweight ones for small creek fishing for panfish and trout. I have a 9' 4wt outfit for fishing dry flies and midges on bigger water. I have a 6wt 9' rod for fishing bigger water, windy conditions, heavier flies, and for bass. You see?"

She didn't answer me. Rather, she asked another accusing question.

"Well, when I was cleaning the garage I noticed you didn't have just one of each of those rods you just mentioned. You have at least two! Why can't you give Steve one of your extras?"

Extras? She didn't just call my ever-so-essential back-up rods "extras," did she? I knew she would understand if I just explained it to her.

"Those are my back-up rods. They're not 'extras!'" I knew this would be the end of it. Surely she would have to relent in the face of such obvious logic.

"Back-up rods? What in the world is a back-up rod?" she asked incredulously.

Now I was stunned. I could never have imagined my wife to be so obtuse. Everyone has back-up rods. Don't they? What if one breaks or gets stolen? The rod collection would now be incomplete, and I might miss an opportunity to fish for lack of the appropriate equipment until such a time as I got it replaced. Heavens no! This would simply never do. So I thought I would bring out the big guns and stop this line of questioning dead in its tracks before this got totally out of hand.

"Honey, if anything, I don't have enough rods and reels the way it is. I actually need at least two more...an 8wt and its back-up. And of course I'll have to buy a reel and a line for that one too. I was planning to ask you for this for my birthday this year. What do you think?"

It worked. She dropped her gaze, turned away, and muttered something about hopelessness under her breath as she retreated. Whew! That was a close call. Of course I would be happy to have a new fly-fishing buddy, and Steve really was a great fellow. But give him a rod and reel? Never! I could wait a few more months for a new fishing buddy. A man's got to know his limitations. ~ Ken

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