Last year around this time I found myself wading with a stub of a right leg, after something cut straight through my old Simms Guides near the knee. We were a hundred miles from home, but nothing was going to stop me from getting skunked that day.
Then, a few days back I found the stars aligned, and wanting to get into an area that is sketchy on foot when the flows are running normal (i.e. it was at historic lows). Having roped some sucker into this game we proceeded down, but somewhere along the way I lost my footing (a common occurrence for me), and quickly ditched my rod and net for a belly-side sled ride – it was a yard sale for sure. Yea…I’ll admit I was a little ‘winded’ (a macho term for shit scared) after the fun, and quickly noticed that both knees on the waders were torn through the first layer.
Nevertheless, we wound up on the water, and actually got into some nice fish as a consolation prize. The water was extremely clear and low (much as we’d expected) and flashback pheasant tails, white discos, and buckskins ruled the day. It was a lot of sight fishing (no complaints here), and while bouncing bugs off fish’s noses I wound up ‘chatting’ (a politically correct term for cussing)
with at the fish – my buddy must have thought I’d hit my head during the fall. Thankfully several rainbows and cutts complied with my orders kind requests to eat.
It wasn’t until a dinner time gathering that I noted I’d slid twenty feet down the icy trail. My buddy said “twenty feet my ass…you were twenty feet above me before I saw you whiz by, and you didn’t stop until you were twenty feet BELOW me – I thought you were going over the edge.” I’d spent the whole day with scraped/numb finger tips, which made tying 5x blood knots slightly more difficult, but I now knew said hands could also double as worthy ice picks should the need arise.
After the tasty grub I headed home to begin some much needed repairs on those wader’s knees (translation: pour a tube of AquaSeal on them), and it was then that I noticed that the waders had incurred more damage than I’d previously thought. Due to the low flows, we’d never found ourselves waist deep, and that, it turns out, was a good thing indeed – the waders had also been cut completely through where it really (REALLY) counts.
The moral of the story: the family jewels were unscathed. And I’ve got these ten-year old Simms gems to thank for it!
Editor’s note: A few weeks back I became the happy recipient of a fine new set of waders, but I’ve been reluctant to pull them out of the box as yet. I’ve been saying these old Simms are being re-purposed for brown water duty, while my buddy’s wife, being the superstitious type, thinks they are begging for full retirement. The cards are still coming up with muddled messages, but one thing is certain: I’m the only fly fisher on the planet that needs a jock-n-cup to go along with the helmet.