I always thought of myself as a “blue-collar” fly fisherman; I didn’t need the fancy equipment, the shiny new gadgets or the technical clothing to catch fish. No, I could make due with what I had. I always picked function over flash, practicality over style, Budweiser in the can over micro-brews. I came from a working class family, dammit, and I may be slinging a “yuppie stick” (as my working class family calls a fly rod) but I’m sure as hell not going to fall into the trapping of the fashionable fly fisherman. Oh no, I, I am the goddamned salt of the earth when it comes to fly fishing…
Or that’s at least how it used to be.
I’ve noticed lately, after many Christmases, birthdays and tax returns that my equipment has started to get fancier, my gadgets more numerous and my clothes more and more technical.
This has, to be honest, brought a little secret shame to me as far as my redneck roots are concerned. I’ve actually found myself dressing down when fishing with certain people and laughing at the style choices of others while secretly admiring their brand new fishing shirts and zip-off quick drying shorts/pants (shants?). But shame or not, it seems that I have morphed into a fashionable fly fisherman. My one saving grace was a lack of a Buff.
You know the Buff; the seamless, one piece, tube of UV radiation resistant material that every fly fisherman in every fly fishing video that’s filmed in saltwater seems to be wearing over their faces as sun protection. To me, the Buff was always that one completely unnecessary piece of technical fishing clothing that was all about the fashion statement. I mean seriously, just wear a wide brim hat, use sunscreen and grow a beard if you’re that worried about skin cancer.
So along came this Christmas and with my wife’s purchase of two shirts for me from Strip’n Flywear (if you don’t know them click the link and check them out, they make some of the most badassed shirts I’ve ever seen) came a free Buff.
Yep, a Buff.
And I know I’ll end up wearing it. First it’ll be tentatively and in private like it’s some sort of sick sexual fetish but then the next thing I’ll know I’ll be wearing right out in public were anyone can see while I’m steadily trying to convince myself that’s it perfectly reasonable piece of equipment that I couldn’t live without.
Dear God what have I become?