Fashion and the Fisherman
By A.J. Klott
The one thing I have always enjoyed about fishing is that you rarely see anyone wearing a tie.
I suppose there is the occasional urban lunchtime warrior who might race from his cubicle to the Hudson river to get a few casts in for some glow-in-the-dark fish, but ties are certainly not the norm when it comes to suiting up for a days fishing on the river.
When it comes to high fashion in the fishing world, a button up fast drying high tech shirt is about as close to fashionable as it gets.Unless of course you count the plaid jacket!!
As it is, I can't quite figure out the purpose of the necktie anyway.
Who in their right mind would come up with a part of the male wardrobe to wrap around your neck, and then cinch it up tight, and consider this a vital part of the function of clothing.
For Gods sake,this is what they would do to condemned men just before they drop the floor out from under them, to create a rather discomforting constriction about the windpipe and neck.
I could understand it if the tie somehow held all our other clothes up,like a belt, keeping our clothes from dropping to our ankles in a useless gathering of cloth. As far as I know there has also never been an instance of a tie keeping a shirt in tact in high winds.
It's obvious the tie was invented by our female counterparts, and is the ultimate payback for all our manly sins that we commit everyday. I am sure it was produced under the guise of "fashion" at some point, with some weak feeble argument that a "gentleman" should always don a noose around his neck-lest he become a barbarian!!
Other parts of the wardrobe I understand.
I understand shoes. They were developed to help protect our feet from the hostile environment of thistles, weeds,pavement,and hot coffee spills. Shoes make sense
Protection from shoe rub and sneaky thistles approaching from ankle height.
Well, outside of not developing them with an expandable waistband, pants have proven beneficial in adding warmth, again providing protection from yet even higher thistles and stickers, keeping the suns harmful rays off of pasty white anglo legs, and protecting us from hot coffee spills. As an added benefit, they also protect our eyes from viewing knobby knees and senior citizens who might otherwise have been walking around in black socks, Florisheims, and a loin cloth had pants not been invented.
The jury is still out on this benefit--BUTT-- we will give underwear the benefit of the doubt.
Again, sun protection, warmth in the winter, and a place to hide those man breasts and ape like features we men have worked hard to develop. Keeps ketchup and mustard off our bellys also.
We all know where the heat is going to escape. A brilliant invention and very much like the thermos--it keeps you warm, it keeps you cool, how does it know???
Coats, gloves,vests,belts,boots--hell-- even chaps, all seem to have a function behind them.
But the tie?
Unless it was developed for men to have a permanently available napkin, or snot rag---I see no purpose.
Actually, you could make the argument that fishermen are the only men that SHOULD wear ties. As long as they were made of sheeps wool, the flyfisherman could use the "fuzzy tie" to have even a greater drying pad to keep his caddis, royal coachman, and brindle bugs handy and at the ready for quick pattern change out.
But enough about the tie.
Fashion, as a general rule has escaped the fishing world.
This is a world where despite the efforts of Orvis and L.L. Bean, plaid is still the king, the t-shirt is still considered standard issue and drab greens and brown tones rule the day.
Thank goodness, because I know the day is coming -when the Gods of fashion will begin to turn the fishing world upside down with trendy nouveau styles and colors.
Before long, tall, emaciated, high cheek boned beauties will be "walking the runway", in Jordache waders showing us the latest designs of, breathable yet flattering river wear, in purple,yellow, floral and .......dare I say it....TAUPE!! Especially since more and more women are taking up the sport of flyfishing, can high fashion be far behind??
I'm not sure you can feel like a snappy dresser with fish guts,bait and slime all over you but maybe with a diamond encrusted net dangling from your hip you will feel properly accessorized for an elegant evening on the river.
The fishing world has already come a long way when it comes to fashion--or should I say style.Once upon a time, most fisherman looked more like deck hands, wearing rubber waders with big oversized boots at the bottom. You would slip these over your jeans and big thick wooly socks and if was cold, that red and black checkered jacket would keep you warm.It also would help to hide the tobacco juice stains that you would invariably always spit on yourself while fishing. It basically was one size fits all--and you couldn't tell if a person was 270 pounds or 140 pounds under the rubber--everyone looked 270 pounds.
Today neoprene and lightweight high tech shredded milk carton shirts are being seen more and more, and the fishing vest has more cubbies and pockets than a colony of Kangaroos.
And they look good on the cover of magazines to boot!!
Speaking of boots.
I remember my first wading boots were basically the same boots I wore to muck out manholes when I worked for the telephone company. Now, they look more like "Hush Puppies" and I'm not so sure I wouldn't be proud to wear them into the office.
I suppose the day is coming when neoprene waders will be made to look like tuxedos or Armani suits--so we can really look like gentlemen out there. That might not actually be a bad idea, I for one could see the benefit in that--especially if the wedding ceremony runs into the evening hatch--one could still make it out to the river and save some valuable time avoiding "change time".
All in all, it doesn't really matter to me if some style continues to creep into the fishing world, but if they start making the "river tie"--I'm taking up Golf!
Author, writer of fishing humor,and "fly tack" peddler.A.J. writes about the people,characters and modern day events that surround the fishing world. His first book is due out in December of 2005. If you need a laugh or a fun gift, visit his website at: [http://www.twoguyswithflys.com]