There Oughta Be A Law

With apologies to Shakespeare, “to be or not to be” is not the question.  There are some things that just ought not to be.  There are others that just ought to be.

This article is about things in the fly-fishing world that should be obvious but somehow are not.  I’ll start the list, and maybe you could help by adding some that I left off.

Warning: opinions expressed below are that of the author who is suffering from fly-fishing deprivation this winter. He should not be held responsible for anything that may come across as snarky.

Here’s list:

  1. Hooks smaller than size 18 should be made with extra large hook-eyes. All brands.  Manufacturers who don’t comply should be staked naked to a bed of fire ants.  What’s the point of making a hook that takes a jeweler’s magnifying glass, 8x tippet, fasting and prayer, and 20 minutes to thread when just an itsy-bitsy more loop in the eye would make everything as perfect as a Reese’s Cup?
  2. Mesh material should be banned from fishing hats, fishing shirts, waders, vests, nets, and backpacks. Mesh is a magnet for fish hooks.  When – not if – a fish hook finds the mesh, you’ve not only lost five minutes of your fishing time, but you’ve torn up the fly while trying to get it extricated from the mesh.  Barbless hooks help mitigate the problem somewhat for those of us who have made that journey, but people who are new to the sport aren’t there yet, and they are the ones who don’t need the frustration of the mesh monster.
  3. Tippet spools should have more than 30 yards of tippet on them. I get more thick floss on a small spool of dental floss than I do super thin monofilament on a tippet spool. Why can’t they put 100 yards of tippet on a spool like some manufacturers do on their guide spools and just double the price?  That’d be a win/win.
    140 yards of thick floss on a spool smaller than 30 yards of thin tippet. It ought not be this way.
  4. While on the subject of tippet, tippet should be marked to show when you have two yards left on the spool. How many fishermen have to find out they only have six feet of 5x tippet left while they are knee-deep in a riffle full of famished fish before someone figures a way to flag us when the spool is getting empty. Heck, even the NFL has a two-minute warning.
  5. Taking dogs wade fishing is a bad idea. Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not talking about your dog.  I’m talking about everybody else’s dogs that love to swim through deep pools, bark or growl at other fishermen, chase fish that are being played, and frolic in the skinny water.  If your friend must take his pooch, he shouldn’t make others bear the burden of his puppy passion.  He can rig up one of those carriers that people put their toddlers in while fishing and carry Fido on his back.  He may feel foolish, but hey, he deserves it.
  6. An annual fishing license should be good for 365 days, not just until December 31. During this time of year (January), buying an annual license that is good until December 31st doesn’t seem that unfair.  But not everyone fishes during icy winter conditions and folks that get their three weeks of vacation in August have to wonder why their annual license expires in five months.  Several states where I buy annual fishing licenses give me 365 days. These would include Colorado, New York, Georgia, SC, and NC.  It can be done.  It’s not rocket surgery.  I love to introduce new people to fly fishing, but I hate to tell them that the annual license they buy in Massachusetts or Connecticut in September will only get them <120 days of fishing.  This seems like just another way for some states to stick it to fishermen.
  7. There should be a special, extra long hunting season with large limits for mergansers.
  8. Kayakers and tubers should pay a river-use fee of $10 annually that would go towards improvements to river access, river clean up, and regulations enforcement. If fishermen need to pay, why not others who use the state’s resources?
  9. Poachers’ cars should be impounded.
  10. On a state’s “Free Fishing Day,” there should be no sales tax on fishing equipment sold that day.

What did I forget?


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13 thoughts on “There Oughta Be A Law

  1. I concur with everything you’ve said. Fishing should be as stree free as possible and all your arguments augment on the water stress. Poachers are viral enemies of mine. I ran into two yesterday in my home river, which has been brutally pressured. Called CT poachers hit line and got a cold if not unconcerned response

      1. Another great post, Bill! FYI, Orvis makes some “big eye” dry fly hooks which I sometimes use for nymphs and soft hackles. And, the Gamakatsu C12-BM from sizes 26 to 30 also feature big eyes if you’re prone to throw midge dries.

        1. Yeah, I’ve seen you write about such things; that’s how I knew they existed. I’m not worthy to tie flies on Orvis or Gamakatsu hooks. I’m pushing for every hook manufacturer to make the big eyes so that even the cheapo hooks I buy will have ’em. A couple of minutes on a fire ant bed ought to make them think it’s a brilliant idea.

  2. The line that read, ” How many fishermen have to find out they only have six feet of 5x tippet left” should have said “six inches of 5x tippet left”. My mistake.

  3. Hah, good stuff Bill. Totally agree with you about the mesh thing. I have waders that have a mesh front pocket and you don’t want to get a hook anywhere near it!

    A couple for me in terms of fly rods
    1. All fly rods should have alignment dots on the ferrules
    2. All fly rods should have a hook keeper

    1. Great ones, David! I have a fly rod without an alignment dot and I have one without a hook keeper. What were they thinking? One of the “laws” I deleted before submitting the article was “All new fly rods should come with two tip sections.” I’d rather have that than a lifetime warranty that requires a $50 return fee, mailing costs, and a 6 week wait.

  4. You cracked me up Bill! ” I’m not talking about your dog. ”

    I’ll submit it oughta be illegal to say “You should have been here yesterday.” After you drove a few hours to stand in the rain at a dead river, and listen to someone tell you they caught 15 fish yesterday on a fly the fish won’t look at today. Those guys can get a spot with the fire ants 😉

    1. Where I come from, you had to be careful saying anything disparaging about a man’s dog or his lawnmower. People develop strange attachments.

      Yeah, I absolutely hate the “Shoulda been here yesterday” remark. But it pretty well sums up my experience as a fly fisherman.

    2. Somewhere I read an article, I think by Ed Zern where he was going to get rich by offering to go to a hotspot the day after his client for a small fee; Zern was the guy who always heard “You shoulda been here yesterday

  5. Just glad you didn’t have something about fishing partners who pick you up an hour and a half after the agreed upon time.

    1. I had almost forgotten about that, Mark. Yep, waiting around is a bummer, but some fishing buddies are worth it.

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