“Scaling Down”

“Most of the changes in older fishing are toward simplification. I must own twenty-five trout rods but only use two. I think I know where they are….”   Jim Harrison

My father is the person responsible for my love of fishing.

I remember him having many, many rods, as well as a half-dozen beautifully machined, gloss-black Mitchell reels, and all of the other necessary doodads that could be crammed into two or three large tackle boxes. But he was no gear junkie. All of that gear was essential—he had obtained a rod and reel for each member of the family.

The number of occasions that we fished as an entire family (five members total), could be counted on one hand, but according to my dad, you had to have the gear so we could all fish, simultaneously, if we wanted to.  Can’t fault that logic.

I, on the other hand, am a dedicated gear junkie, or at least used to be until very recently. I love to fish, and equally love trying out new fishing implements. I anticipate (and savor!), every press release issued by rod manufacturers, reel manufacturers.  Heck, I get a kick out of reading about newly designed tippet spools. I don’t suspect that that part of me will ever change: just like a kid, I’m always interested in new toys.

What has changed is that I’ve realized that I—like our friend Jim Harrison—always return to the same two or three rods (out of a small collection). Every one of them is fine product, but as always and with nearly everything else in life, you end up with favorites.

Add to this that I have to put up with a pesky day job, which really cuts in to my fly fishing time, and you can quickly begin to see that I don’t have enough time to play with all of my toys.

Some of my fly rods and reels would have a thick layer of dust on them if they weren’t in their protective tubes and pouches.

Recently, and on a whim, I reduced my toy box by a full one-third. Doing this felt right. And it felt good. After all, people should be using stuff that’s meant to be used.  Beyond this, I’m a minimalist at heart, but certainly not in practice.  And paring down somehow brings me a step closer to that ideal person that I want to be.

I suspect that sometime in the future another third of my now very modest collection will get the chop. And this doesn’t faze me one bit.

If you’re sitting on a collection of fishing rods, reels (etc.) that haven’t seen the light of day in a long while, consider putting that gear into the hands of someone who will get some mileage—and some fishing fun—out of it.