I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. Looking the part is half the battle in any activity. But don’t think for a second I’m buying tight grey baseball pants for my old man softball league. My jean shorts are accomplishing both forty-plus style and total abandonment of being cool any more, thank you very much. Fly fishing on the other hand requires looking the part. And the more I’m immersed in the sport, I realize there are some items that really say, “That dude thinks like a fish”. Now don’t go out and buy Brad Pitt’s whole A River Runs Through It outfit, because first, it’s not the 1920s and second, you are definitely no Brad freaking Pitt.
One decoration that will help you look the part though is facial hair. Preferably a glorious coarse flowing beard. Being unshaven portrays you are either a guide or at least could be a guide. Anything over 2″ constitutes a river rat in my books. A shorter scruff and you are just a guy who can’t commit. William Shakespeare’s opinion about beards: “He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.”
The other is leathery face skin. I competed against a couple fishermen in the Mile High 25 by Anglers All who had sunglass tans that looked borderline unhealthy. But they beat the crap out of our team. Therefore the look denotes the skill. Women on the other hand are in a class all their own. Add a local fly shop cap to a pair of Simms waders with a couple of braids and you’ve nailed it.
But when on the water, there is one item that really completes the modern day look of a seasoned fly fisherman. One that also tells people that you ain’t here for the little ones either. It’s the Fishpond Nomad Mid-Length Net. Sure, the Nomad Boat Net is longer, but save that one for the boat. If you are anywhere outside of a drift boat, the Boat Net would make you look like you are carrying around a pole vault pole. The Mid-Length Net is perfect. Slide it in the belt of your waders in the crease of your butt, and it sticks up past your head just right so you are ready to net that monster double digit Cutthroat for your fishing partner, your client, or yourself.
Before I had this net gifted to me at Cottonwood Camp at Montana’s famed Bighorn River, I was carrying around a cute little wooden landing net. One time before I had my Nomad Net, I hooked into a carp that was longer than my arm and I fought her all the way to the bank three times only to awkwardly try to net the thing with my baby net. Each time I tried to scoop her up she would flop and blast back into my backing for another fifteen minutes of wearing us both out. Finally I had to just net her massive fish head and I sort of shoveled her muscular flopping body onto shore. Real professional I tell ya. Norman McClean would not have approved.
So in summary of yet another wordy gear review, if you have a net that isn’t a Fishpond net, you are probably going around looking like a hack. Get one here or at just about any fly shop in the USA.