Tying a Holiday Humbugger Fly

| December 9, 2009 | 16 Comments

Found at http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=9863 Find this pattern at www.washingtonflyfishing.com.Credit – Ron Eagle Elk / Anyfish

Now that I have your attention with a false premise, let me now tell you; this is not about tying a particular fly. This is about how someone becomes dismayed with the whole Christmas thing.

There was, in a past life, a period where I “did time” in the retail business – as so many college students, and at that time a college dropout, did to make ends meet, win life battles and finally the first personal war to get a degree at UNT in Denton, Texas.

I did a sretch working for the fine company GENESCO selling their Jarman brand of shoes in what was in the 1980’s a sparkling new mall here in Denton, the Golden Triangle Mall. The training was very good, at the corporate level and with my luck of having a couple of good managers personally training me in the fine art of measuring a stinky foot, and suggestive sales. If you haven’t sold shoes, then you probably never have participated in a sock or accessory contest. I still pay attention to shoe sales people these days to see if they a) ask that I sit down so they can measure my foot b) bring out more than one style of shoes, and c) close the sale with suggestion of sock bundles and/or shoe cleaning products.

The nice thing about taking on The Number and working for a big company like GENESCO was … it was actually a good company to work for at that time. They had a base pay and commission scale that was on par with the lovely Clinique sales girl down the mall corridor. However, the thing that makes you the most can steal the most away at the same time. Mall store employees had to park in the furthest reaches of the parking lot, “Stay past the line”, and trudge in during the worst weather of the year. The mall pumped in Christmas music starting just before Thanksgiving, and by the time the new year came along, that loop of muzak tunes was indelibly ingrained on my memory bank. If you had a Santa in your wing of the mall … those sounds still give me flashbacks. The mall hours were stretched to 14 hours and seven days. I had no children and none were in the immediate family to dull my sense that crass commercialism had slid down our collective chimneys while we were sleeping. It was the beginning of my decent that continues more-or-less to this day.

It’s not that I don’t believe in the holiday, or the individual motivations behind it, or the child’s experience – it’s that the feeling of obligation, of reciprocity and duty. For example, I am a hugh HUGE proponent of drawing names to give individual gifts instead of everyone buying for everyone. It’s a simple concept that deserves respect and the minimal honor of time-tested success. Do you do the “Big Blowout” (my words), or do you choose names?

Humbugger Seeks Revival

All this negativity comes with a high price of course. Let’s just say the respective families know where I stand, and there’s usually … friction. Now, friction is good when it comes to reel drags, and keeping warm, but Christmas family friction can be exhausting. The fact is, I never tire of making folks happy by thoughtful giving. Economically, sometimes I can do more giving, and in more recent years a whole lot less.

It hit me that maybe what would revive my/our Christmas spirits would be to see what you fly guys and girls would want for Christmas this year. It is already easy statistically see you are getting busy with other things, but if you will take a moment and put your holiday gift suggestions – both giving and getting – in the comments below, maybe just maybe I can find some goods for cheer this year. Feel free to insert links, images (if that’s possible?), and whatever you like – to charities, fly gear, trips, locations, boats, kayaks, clothing, serious and humorous, etc… Think of this as assembling the ultimate Christmas 2009 fly gift giving list.
It’s up to you to tie this Humbugger and cast him off.

Tags: , ,

Category: Causes, Culture on the Skids, Equipment, Life Observed

About the Author ()

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

Comments (16)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. shannon says:

    Time to move on and get back to what’s really important – throwing humbugs at unsuspecting fish.

  2. shannon says:

    http://www.lsonews.com/Poachers-Crooks-and-Other-Turkeys.html
    I am trying to talk the guys into sending me a freebie of this one. It’s a great idea and I always get a laugh from the TPWD Blotter. All those stories are available at the TPWD site.

  3. shannon says:

    Guess we need tie dyed BUFFS! I haven’t worn a “fly shirt” in a long time now – that back vent makes it too cold even with layers. Someone was talking about designing clothing for fly – who was that?

    Mark Becerra has built a bunch of fly tying tables at his shop in the Valley. I need to see if they would make good Christmas post fodder. Plaster?

  4. Cindy says:

    remember who put the word buff into your head.

    why isn’t a tie dyed fly shirt on everyone’s list?

  5. youknowyasista says:

    Do another post! oh, and plaster of paris to do my kids’ hand prints would be neat.

  6. shannon says:

    Whoa! Am I feeling humbuggy now, or what? About time to kill this holiday farce off – a mercy killing of sorts.

  7. shannon says:

    Since this first appeared, the top tens are popping up on fly blogs and online stores – coast to coast. But adding to the list –
    1) the new KGSR annual cd (I have it)
    2) a new 30-pound Boga Grip (if your 15 just can’t handle the new year’s fishing)
    3) a quart of Plio Bond
    4) a clear rubber landing net
    5) Cham WOW! – Great for kayakers
    6) Fly line winder / dryer
    7) Insulated hat with fold down flaps – maybe from http://www.cimarrona.com

  8. shannon says:

    I have been on a blitz or two. But I do have the new KGSR Vol. 17! Talk about great music, and KGSR changed their station location to 93.3. Too many changes make Austin increasingly foreign.

  9. YouKnowWho says:

    Which of these do YOU already have?

  10. shannon says:

    STEVE HOLLENSED sent this list to me.

    10. “The Singing Wilderness” by Sigurd Olsen. First published in 1945, this is a classic about wilderness and its value to modern man. Olsen starts with ” The Singing Wilderness has to do with the calling of the loons, northern lights, and the great silences of a land lying northwest of Lake Superior. It is concerned with the simple joys, the timelessness and perspective found in a way of life that is close to the past”. Though not about fly fishing, it is one of the best descriptions of the vibrancy of nature ever written…a great read in my opinion. Available from http://www.amazon.com and others, both new and used. Prices vary but not expensive.

    9. Buff Headwear. When you fish on sunny days you should think about wearing these for UV and sunburn protection. I started wearing them this year and I love them. Combined with sunglasses and a cap they completely cover the face, AND they stay on when the boat is on plane (unlike a hat). They are made of highly breathable COOLMAX microfiber which is very cool and protective at the same time. Comes in various colors and prints so they look cool too. You can be buff for about $20. Available from Orvis and Feather-Craft.

    8. Dry Release Casting TEE. I love this shirt for fishing, casting and casual wear. Very comfortable yet provides much more sun protection than an ordinary tee shirt (long sleeves and UPF 30+). From Orvis, about $50.

    7. Personal Casting Lessons. Good casting allows one to enjoy fly fishing to the fullest…and personal, individualized instruction is the most effective strategy in achieving proficiency in fly casting. This is one of the best gifts you can give to the fly angler who is just getting into the sport, who is planning a destination trip and needs to tune-up his or her casting, and finally for those experienced anglers who want to perfect advanced techniques. All levels of fly fishers can benefit from this gift for a lifetime. Gift certificates available. Call for details.

    6. “Redfish, Bluefish, Sheefish, Snook: Far Flung Tales of Fly-Fishing Adventure” by E. Donnall Thomas. Another great book, but this one is all about fly fishing. Thomas travels far and wide to pursue fish, both common and uncommon…some I have never heard of. Well written and full of the spirit of adventure. Full price is about $25. Half-Price Books has had this book for much less.

    5. Big Bug Fly Line. A great new product from Orvis for bass and striper fishing here in the south. It is essentially a bass taper with a saltwater core. I tried it this summer and found that I could shoot line much farther and still turn over big flies on those hot Texas days. I love it and it is a big hit among warmwater fly anglers. About $80.

    4. Cliff’s “Headliner” Fly Patch. If you want to keep you truck or car free from errant flies getting stuck in your car seat (or worse places) try this. It is a fly patch that fits on your vehicles sun visor. A great idea! From Feather-Craft for about $10.

    3. Orvis Zip-Off Convertible Pants. These are the best convertible pants that I have worn. Most convertible pants are very uncomfortable to me when they are worn as shorts…they just don’t feel right. When you zip off the legs on these pants, they fill like regular shorts. During the summer I wear them as shorts during the morning and as the day goes on I put the legs on for sun protection. About $80.

    2. Helios Fly Rod and Battenkill Reel combo. If the fly angler on your list has been VERY GOOD then you should consider this combo. It has made this list twice just because it is so good for warmwater fly fishing (bass, stripers, and more). I suggest the Helios 9 foot, 8 weight rod (in either tip or mid flex) combined with a Battenkill Large Arbor III reel. The COMBINED weight of the rod and reel is only about 7 ounces! Very light, very powerful and with gel spun backing plenty of capacity. From Orvis and about $1,000 for both rod and reel.

    1. A Striper Blitz. Book a trip in July and chances are that your fly angler will experience an awesome thrill in fly fishing…large schools of stripers in a feeding frenzy. Everyone will enjoy fly fishing Texoma this time of year, from beginners to experienced. Call or email for gift certificates and details.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  11. YouKnowWho says:

    My list: if it is, in fact, the arteeests in the family who drew my name, I sure would prefer handmade and shot stuff over boughten items (as they used to call store bought stuff on LIttle House on the Prairie). waffle cookies, hats, fleecy things, a crazy photo, something to keep tortillas warm in, a favorite recipe, hats in purple, hats in red, hats to cover my poor head, hats with ears, hats with flowers, hats that give me mommy powers. pickles. are you still reading? a picture from your mexico series with a cross in it. some kind of letter or short story from you or Les would be a treasure to me.

  12. shannon says:

    I think Santa will be bringing Cindy her own blog for Christmas. No wait, she already has one! Cindy thanks for telling me what my gift will be. At my old age, surprises could just send me right to the ER. Regardless, thanks for the insights as usual, and thanks for the redfish art too! Let’s all play the lottery shall we?

  13. Cindy says:

    i’m still in the disillusionment phase myself. My problem with the holidays is on the other end of the spectrum in that I can never get my family to want to gather all together. I have very few close relatives but i genuinely enjoy the company of my aunt/unlce and 2 cousins that live three hours away. I would hang out with them every week if possible, but i think thanksgiving and christmas is not too much to ask. just seems like our families can’t be bothered to overcome slight inconveniences to get together. family should be more important i think anyways. our family has always done the family to family gift as in my family will pick out a gift for my aunt/uncles family and they will pick out a gift for our family. less presents is better because they can be more meaingful and thought out. what do i want for christmas though? one of those ihome things that plays and charges your ipod at the same time. and for something fly related i’m going to give you a painting of a redfish because you seem to think i have a knack for it.

  14. shannon says:

    Hey, think of it as bringing good cheer to the fly world – not just me. Besides, this is where you will be shopping for BP’s Christmas anyway – RIGHT???

  15. YouKnowWho says:

    I hate the obligation feeling too. It’s so dumb. We all want each other to be happy. Why do we force gifts, travelling, participation, etc on each other? I hope we can all live in the same town one day so no one has to choose inlaws vs outlaws! Drawing names–you’ll never find more pro-name drawers than us! Okay, I leave it to the fly people to leave a list that cheers you up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *