How tackle & cloth­ing has changed

With the preva­lence of to­day’s part-hunter, part-SWAT team look, it’s easy to for­get that the fly­fish­ing wardrobe hasn’t al­ways been so flat­ter­ing...

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

From 70s to now – my God we used to be scruffy!

LAZY TV scriptwrit­ers, of course, think we still look like that. If the plot calls for an an­gler, chances are he’ll turn up on screen in a bob­ble hat and ca­ble knit sweater. Cast­ing like a dolt for good mea­sure. With the benef it of a lit­tle re­search, those writ­ers would know what we do, that while the mu­sic of the ‘70s might be fondly re­mem­bered in many quar­ters, the same can’t be said for most f ish­ing cloth­ing and equip­ment. Just look at Mr 1970s be­low for ex­am­ple. Ig­nor­ing the fact that it looks to have been knit­ted by his mother, that sweater will have been mer­ci­less when­ever con­di­tions changed from windy to sunny or shower y. Given that rods were yet to ac­quire to­day’s wispy light­ness, cast­ing one with an arm en­tombed in sodden wool would have brought Fa­tima Whit­bread to a sweat. The next 40 years would see a grad­ual shift away from nat­u­ral to man-made fi­bres, and ‘wick’ be­come more verb than noun, the ef­fect be­ing to with­stand more weather with less ma­te­rial, which in turn lets body mois­ture

out with­out let­ting rain­drops in. Waders pro­gressed from rub­ber’s waist-down sauna to breath­able fabric that kept you dr y and tem­per­ate. It wasn’t just our ap­parel that changed, of course. Fi­bre­glass rods were on the way out and car­bon on the way in when TF was born and our an­ces­tors would mar vel at how light yet strong to­day’s qual­ity rods are. Fly-lines have gone from be­ing al­most ex­clu­sively f loaters to the multi-taskers of to­day, avail­able in a range of den­si­ties and ta­pers, for all t y pes of pre­sen­ta­tion at all depths. Re­garded as more durable and less vis­i­ble than ny­lon, f lu­o­ro­car­bon leader was seen as a sim­i­lar game-changer when it f irst ar­rived in f ly f ish­ing in the 1990s, yet many an­glers hail re­duced di­am­e­ters as the real quan­tum jump in leader de­sign; al­low­ing mod­ern tip­pet a slen­der­ness that be­lies its streng th. As for where kit and cloth­ing are headed over the next four decades, we see only two def inites in the TF cr ys­tal ball – f ly rods can’t get much lighter and homemade sweaters aren’t com­ing back...

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