I try to appear much tougher and cooler than I actually am. Especially on social media: I post pictures of myself at the top of the mountain, but neglect to mention the fact that I was crying on the way up, while contemplating faking an injury so I wouldn’t have to finish (metaphor for difficult life things too). We all do this- but outdoorsy people like myself are the worst…
Outdoorsy people share all about the heroic battles they endured, while neglecting to divulge the truth within their stories. Like how they post a picture of a trophy trout from a trophy stream and forget to mention that they got lost in the mountains and ended up cussing their loved one out in the woods, etc. [Don’t judge me]
We all want people to think we have our lives put together and that we are excellent human beings. But sometimes it comes off a little snooty or unwelcoming. I have noticed this recently in the world of fly fishing: with all of the pictures of well dressed fishers in $500 fly shirts, with a $300 pair of snips clinging on their sides, and sporting strange pieces of gear that you apparently tie to your body like the music man on Mary Poppins. Status update: I have the newest bla bla and I am amazing!
Side Note: I’m pretty sure the fly fishing founders would smack us in the back of the head if they saw us with the extensive amount of gear we now carry, taking ‘selfies’ on the river, or even worse: updating a Facebook status while holding a fishing rod instead of fishing. Or using #hashtags- I think the founders would shove our heads under water for those ones….Some of you just googled the word ‘hashtag’, I love you people- you are the salt of the earth kind of folk!
In reality only 20% of fly fishers are the snoody-gear-judgers- but to those just getting into the sport, everyone looks like a gear model. Im more of the kind of person that would enjoy watching the gear model fall into the water or get his line stuck in a tree- I would smile and then most likely buy the gear because I enjoy real people and laughing.
What it all comes down to is this: are you here to enjoy life and take wonderful adventures in the life God has blessed you with- or are you here to impress those around you by trying to appear perfect and live in the shadows of their expectations? Care less about what you look like and live more abundantly! Let me try another one: don’t try to be like everyone else, just be a better you. No, that last one is too cheer coachy.
Any who, in attempt to counteract my ‘only sharing my best’- I am going to come clean on one of my recent ‘worsts’. It’s a little carpy….
I had just received my new Maven Fly hat in the mail, my new fly box from CastFly, and some flies from Mike Mercer (famous fly tier and awesome human being). I was feeling all geared up and looking like a fly fisher woman that was more than likely a professional. I waved to people as I walked down towards the lake, carrying my float tube (that I had never tried) and fly rod, while my little family trailed behind me. Did I mention I was looking really cool?
My family wanted to go to the sandy part of the beach, but the fish were jumping at the muddy part of the beach. I whispered under my breath to my husband, so that my audience wouldn’t sense that I was an inexperienced float-tube-er,
“Will you please help me get in this thing and then you guys can go to the sandy place? What if I get stuck in it- should I bring a knife to pop it? What if the wind comes- do you think you could swim out and get me? Will you get some pictures of me out in the tube for my blog? Make sure I don’t look chubby. Thanks.”
My husband sighed, already annoyed that I was going to try this thing at 8 pm and leave him with all of the kids on the shore. I reminded him that these little outings keep me sane during the week. It clicked in his head after I said that and then I think he thought of the timeless quote: “Happy wife, happy life”. So he said,
“Get on out there! If you need me, just throw your arms around.”
I wanted to look like a professional but I forgot to YouTube how to actually get in the darn float tube- especially since the lake was shallow for at least 200 feet out. So I held onto my husband’s arm and pulled the tube up like it was my skirt (I think I saw that in a movie once). I walked and walked and walked, while holding up my tube and balancing my fly rod. I looked back at the shore and everyone was watching me- actually no one was watching me, but I still felt watched. My family didn’t even wait for me to get in the water or worry if I was going to make it on the maiden voyage; they were off to the sandy beach.
I was tense…the mud I was walking in was thick and the water was understandably murky. Finally, I got out far enough that I could still touch, but was now able to sit down in the tube. My legs were dangling in the water and the top of the tube rested near my armpits. I felt like a baby and found myself thinking,
“This is a baby floatie- does anyone else realize that we are actually grown-ups sitting in a tube, like a baby?”
“Goo Goo, Ga, Ga” thoughts were interrupted by a sizeable slap on the water about five feet from me. I quickly tied my fly on and cast my line out in the direction of the large fish I expected to be a bass. Another huge fish jumped out of the water about 30 feet from me and then, all of a sudden, every few seconds there were multiple monster fish slapping the water.
I was immobilized briefly…and then I freaked out.
I realized the monsters were actually carp- the kind of fish that have huge Angelina Jolie lips, are known to have tape worm in their bellies, and break 5 wt. fly rods with their fierce fighting skills. I pictured the herd of giants circling around my legs and giving me un-welcomed hickeys.
So I started kicking as hard as I could backwards towards the sandy part of the beach, while making grossed-out girly sounds of “ewe, gross, ewe….”. Half way to the beach, I decided to chill the heck down and re-think my level of toughness. Was I going to give up on maiden voyage- probably. But I needed to at least cast a few more times so that I did not completely fail. I was thinking that if I kicked around the fish would stay away from my legs and then I would also get in my workout in for the day! Hold it together woman!
I noticed a yellow colored mayfly of sorts in the air so I matched it to what I had in my fly box. The giants jumping around me had calmed down and I noticed the sun set for the first time- if I squinted and looked at it, I felt like I was in Lake Pend Orielle, my home town lake that I miss so much.
I decided floating was sort of peaceful, so I cast my fly out and hoped nothing would take it. A few carp jumped near my fly, but wouldn’t even attempt to eat my fly. Then I became offended, strangely. Even though I didn’t want to catch one, I was offended that they didn’t want to eat what I was offering them!
This meant business. I cast to various areas, tried to give the fly a jiggle and nothing was working. Finally a wave came in and I threw the fly on top of one of the waves and let it float towards the shore briefly and a carp giant burst out of the water to eat it. I panicked and didn’t set the hook, thankfully.
And….. I was done.
At lease I knew that if I really wanted to catch a carp, I could have (status update attitude- keeping me looking good).
I quickly kicked my way towards shore, then bounced as my feet touched the bottom, then walked awkwardly for 200 feet while holding my rod and my tube. The float tube was stuck to me, because I had normal clothes on, so I had to shove it down to get it off. When I was stepping out, I caught the edge of my foot on the tube and fell into the muddy water. My kids came over and thought I was trying to jump in and swim with them.
So I did.
Float tube for sale…..Cheep.
Go forth and be awkward adventurers, even if it leads to an epic failure Facebook status posting- those are the best. Parents: fly fishing adventures can happen right next to your kids, as long as you have a decent spouse that understands what true happiness is made of.
Thank you to all of my readers and to those that have been emailing me recently, I really enjoy hearing from you, you crazy people.
My last silly selfie…..for the week! #Fly fishing moms rock! #Its cool to be awkward #I love practical fly fishing gear that works! #Gods beauty in the outdoors blows my mind every time!