Be prepared, make a list


If I remember correctly, the motto for the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared”. That should also be the motto for those of us that fly fish.

Not being prepared as you head out for a day of fly fishing is similar to flying an airplane without a check list. It can lead to problems. For those of us with older minds, it helps to make a list of everything that is needed for any trip. Then, check off each item as you pack it. Checking all the items a second time is also a good idea. This exercise proved to be of great benefit to me on a recent fly fishing trip.

Two old minds were invited for a day of fly fishing on the Rio Grande River by a person with a very young and sharp mind. Needless to say, the two guys with the old minds were excited beyond words. They were so excited that only one of the old minds remembered to bring everything that should be on a check list for floating down the Rio Grande River.

The young, sharp mind also hurried through his check list and left an important item at home. It’s hard for me to understand how only one old mind realized they would be on an inflatable raft and had plenty of room to store fly fishing stuff. That old mind also knew that, once the boat was launched, there was no going back for forgotten items.

Since the trip was passing through private property, there was no need for waders. In Colorado, it’s against the law to step onto private property from a boat. Had the weather stayed beautiful all day, everything would have been fine. It didn’t.

After a great morning of catching lots of brown trout on dry flies, storm clouds began to move in. This is common in Colorado, so no one was particularly concerned, especially one old mind. However, the clouds got bigger and darker. There was the distant rumble of thunder, and where there’s thunder there’s lightening.

Shortly after the rumbling began, it started to rain. Here is where being prepared paid off for one old mind. The young, sharp mind and one old mind put on their rain jackets. The other old mind put on his rain jacket and the rain pants he had on his check list. This is when the rain turned into a full-fledged summer mountain storm. There was wind, rain, lightening, thunder, hail and a 15 degree drop in temperature.

As all this weather unleashed itself on the trio, one stayed dry and warm. The other two discovered that fishing pants won’t keep your legs dry. They were also retaught that wet legs make for cold legs. Needless to say, the old mind who remembered to have the right gear was not offering to give his rain pants to either of the others. He might have even made some sarcastic remarks about being dry and warm.

Being prepared goes further than a pair of rain pants. When on a boat or walking into and out of an area, be sure you have a first aid kit. Having a spare rod and reel in the truck or stowed on the boat is also a good idea. Dry clothes to put on if and when I suddenly find myself wet works for me.

One other item to think about is a spare set of truck keys. I know of one old mind that dropped his set of keys into a lake. If it hadn’t been for that extra set of keys hidden away, he wouldn’t have been able to make it to the Rio Grande River with rain pants.

Reach Don Oliver at

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