I posted a week or two back about the limited number of truly useful developments in fishing tackle. PD pointed out to me that I had omitted the now ubiquitous net magnet. He is right: that was an oversight. A magnet that holds your net at your nape, or on the side of your pack, is one of the truly clever innovations of the last decade or more.
It got me thinking though, just how many applications there are for magnets in our sport.
Firstly, Graeme arrived bright and early Saturday for our mornings fishing, and presented me with a gift: a small “fly pad”, which sports a fly threader (much ribbing about my eye-sight), slots for flies, and magnets in several places.
This thing replaces my now bald piece of sheepskin, and apart from the foam slots for the flies, provides several magnets that grab and hold a fly while you are sorting out your tippet.
Such a simple, and yet truly useful feature. When you have a spool of tippet in one hand, a fly in the other, and you need to put something down to deal with a sliding rod or suchlike, you can just touch the fly to one of the magnets, and instantly free a hand to rescue something that would otherwise be swept away in the current. Thank you Graeme!
When tossing out old equipment, I have always raided the guts of whatever it is for magnets. They just seem like such useful things to have around. I don’t quite know why. I am constantly looking for new uses for them. One such use, that sees a magnet permanently with my tying tools, is for picking up tiny hooks that fall under the fly tying desk, and hide in the dappled carpet.
I have written previously about Shaun Futter’s idea in which he showed me how to use a net magnet to attach a wading staff at ones side.
Unless it is a tiny stream, or low water, this is now part of my standard equipment on a river. The staff is as useful for probing the long grass ahead for snakes, as it is for keeping ones balance in fast water. Without the net magnet, I think the thing would get in my way just enough for me to have given up on carrying a wading staff altogether.
Then just two weeks ago Jem and Tim were marveling at a gadget that I have long since taken for granted: a rod holding magnet.
Such a simple thing, this small “U-shaped” magnet clamps your rod to the side of your car while you are setting up, so avoiding the classic “rod in the car door” accident. It is a wonder that those granting lifetime guarantees on rods don’t give these away with every rod bought. As a rod manufacturer, I think this would be the smartest investment since the rod tube started coming standard. (Hint, Hint….send royalties here).
Last time I took my pickup to the car wash, I neglected to slip the magnet into my pocket. When I came to fetch the vehicle, I immediately checked the special spot inside the bin where it lives, and it was gone! It was only when I threatened to line up the entire car wash staff and probe them with a metal detector, that a bashful fellow came forward and gave up his loot. He must have been a fisherman: just not my type of fisherman!
A good many years back, we were out on a first class piece of water in the Kamberg valley, and I had my two young boys with me. They were really little guys at that stage. “Knee high to a grasshopper” as the saying goes. We were tackling up at the time, but the boys had got distracted, and just as I finished tying on a fly, I looked up to see they had diverted their attention to perfecting the yo-yo. It was in vogue at the time, and they were distractible youngsters, but as my gaze shot over to them with the toy in hand, and their rods lying in a rod tube in the grass behind them, I quickly summed up that they were wasting time.
We were on hallowed waters you see. This venue had a reputation for big fish. We were leaving that day, and I think we may just have seen a few rises too.
It’s not that I am one to rush, but I also don’t like to ‘dawdle’.
I told them they couldn’t catch a Trout on a yo-yo. For some reason that saying stuck, and it has been knocked around a few times since, when someone is taking their time.
Taking your time is fine. We are after all out on a day’s fishing for the very purpose of escaping the hustle and bustle of the working world, and we should be slowing down. Its just all about when you do the slowing down bit. The other day conversation turned to a very pleasant old guy who has since emigrated, and someone remarked that he spent so long getting ready that it was unclear as to whether anyone had actually ever witnessed him throwing a fly! That is pretty extreme, but most of us have witnessed the first fish of the day caught before one of the guys has tackled up.
So don’t get uptight about it all, but I would reason that you should get set up quickly, and then go and sit somewhere and relax. Smoke your pipe, twirl a piece of grass, drink a beer if you like. But do it with your eyes on the water and a fly tied on, or better still, with a fly in the water.