Not long ago, I walked into the kitchen dressed for a day of fly-fishing.
My wife took one look at me and welled up.
She said, "You promised me you would never play golf again. You obviously are going to play golf with some of the guys that were in your men's ski class."
I replied, "No. Why do you think that?"
She then said, with a look of relief, "I didn't know there was a clown school in Durango."
My response was, "What in the world have you been smoking? I'm going fly-fishing."
She then shook her head and asked if I had gotten dressed in a completely dark closet. I assured her the light was on, and now I really wanted to know what her point was.
She gave it one more shot, "You didn't take the time to admire yourself in the mirror, did you?"
I am now totally confused. I pleaded, "Please tell me what you are driving at."
With a look of complete amusement, she said, "I can tell by your outfit you have no idea how to dress for a day of fly-fishing."
Like all husbands, I went for the bait, "What do you mean?"
Her loving reply was, "Look at yourself. Your socks are bright yellow, your pants are madras, your shirt is Hawaiian print, your sunglasses are from George Kennedy's collection for Cool Hand Luke, and your hat is from a modern impressionist art collection."
I now thought I had her, "Well ... I don't want to get fishy stuff on my good clothes."
That will not be a problem, she said, "The fish will either die from laughing at your outfit, or they will swim away in stark terror. Either way, you won't be touching any fish."
Again, I thought I had her.
"Fish aren't concerned with color" were the words that fell out of my mouth. Will I never learn? Really.
"If that's true how come you have a zillion flies that are the same pattern, only different colors? And, doesn't Dave Whitlock say unequivocally that color is important to trout?"
I just hate it when my own stuff is used by wife to win arguments. But she was right. If you want to catch fish, you have to dress appropriately; you have to blend in with the flora and fauna.
Your wadding boots and pants, or waders, are the easiest to match to the stream side. Boots and waders come in tan or brown. There isn't much chance of messing this up.
If you wet wade, pick a color for your pants that blends with whatever is growing where you are fishing.
Shirts are an entirely different animal. For some reason the manufacturers of fishing shirts have embarked on a contest to see how many different colors they can come up with. In a brief survey of three fly-fishing catalogs, I counted 25 different colors for shirts.
For your best results, stay with tan, khaki, blue, or even a camouflaged pattern.
Your chapeau also is important. That red baseball hat will be seen by fish. If you're going to wear a cap, it should blend in with your shirt and pants.
I like to wear a big tan straw hat for the summer and a gray felt hat for the fall and winter.
To finish your outfit, pick a pair of polarized sunglasses with frames that won't reflect sunlight.
If you follow these rules, two things will happen: First, you will actually catch more fish; secondly, you won't have to endure your wife's well-presented argument on why she knows more about fly-fishing than you.
Reach Don Oliver at [email protected]