I HATE FLYFISHING FILMS. I watch them religiously, but I hate them. Every time a new one comes out, I pay to go see it, I’ll even pay to rent Fly Fishing Film Tour films from years past, on Amazon at home. I pay to torture myself repeatedly, and each time I’m left thinking the same thing: “Who the fuck are these people?”
Who are these people that can spend three weeks in Kiribati hunting GTs? Who the hell can afford these helicopter drops in the remote and unexplored territories of Patagonia? Take time off of work to scope for permit in Belize? Please. Floating fishing lodges in Cuba? Are you serious? How ’bout a champagne breakfast on the beaches of Playa Gofuckyourself.
I can’t even afford a walking guide on the South Platte and I’m killin’ it as far as Millennials go. I have to check my full Excel balance sheet just to be sure I can afford the fall edition of The Drake. Only then it becomes apparent that I’ll have to drop a shelf down on my whiskey selection or tell my girlfriend that dinner Thursday night just ain’t happenin’. This is my reality. Here are the people that I know:
I know guys that sleep in whiskey blankets in their ’93 Tacomas on the banks of the Roaring Fork, in the winter. I know guys with holes in their waders, guys who get divorced over river time. I know girls that teach in Denver Public Schools, break up fights all day, and push their 1990 Taurus to the Colorado River every weekend just to swing a hand-me-down 5-weight TFO. I know guys that have never fished private water and certainly “don’t feel like they need to” (you know who you are, you cocky bastards). I know guys that fish only the patterns they’ve tied themselves because they can do the math. I know guys that bus tables at rat-infested bars in southern Georgia, live in abandoned, roach-infested sailboats and DIY for reds from kayaks in the bug-filled marsh. These guys have never seen the bow of a flats boat. They each have a dog and an old truck, but not many friends.
I know guys that can’t go home for the holidays because they burned their last vacation day on the salmonfly hatch. I know guys who sleep in their waders, guys who used to have illustrious careers in banking, then got hooked on this shit and now can’t pay rent because they have to add to their quiver. I know guys that pack a headlamp when they head to the water at daybreak because they know they won’t get back to the truck before dark. I know guys who forget to eat. I know guys who refuse to eat. I know guys that will pack a 4-weight, a water filter, some rice, and a pistol into one small backpack and disappear into the mountain backcountry for days at a time. I know girls that post brown trout instead of selfies. I know guys that are the “crazy uncle that flyfishes, and sometimes is a substitute teacher, but who knows what he actually does” and they’re proud of it. I even know guys that book fake sales meetings with imaginary customers in Jackson Hole, just to get their trip on the Snake covered. And they don’t really care if their boss finds out because the 20-inch cutt that sipped the baetis off the bank was worth every penny of the severance package.
MATT MOSKAL is a Colorado native working as an entry-level corporate slave paying off loans for his graduate degree. He is saving up for a trip to the Seychelles.
photo by Darcy Bacha