Saturday morning, I was getting ready to go fishing. It was cold and windy, but I knew I could stay warm enough. My plan was to fish the Winooski below the Bolton power dam.
I was in the garage, setting up my rod, when I ran into a problem. I'd put on a sinking tip leader and added some 2x and 3x tippet material. Next, my plan was a woolly bugger as my lead fly. Except, when I reached for my box of woolly buggers in my vest, instead I found an unzipped pocket and no box of flies.
I spent the next half hour looking all around the house. I searched the cars. I searched the garage. My fly tying gear. I couldn't find the flies anywhere.
This was a box of flies I'd tied myself. The woolly bugger is about as easy to tie as any fly out there. Maybe the greenie weenie or San Juan worm is easier, but I rarely use those flies at all. After about half an hour, I hopped in the car and drove to the last place I had fished (or at least, that's what I thought).
I looked all around the place where I parked, hoping the fly box might have dropped when I was putting my gear away. I hiked down to the White River, looking carefully for the flies. No luck at all. Dejectedly, I drove home.
The financial loss isn't huge. I had maybe 40 woolly buggers in that box. For about $200, I can buy enough material to tie 300 woolly buggers. I can easily tie 2 dozen of them in an evening rather than wasting time watching television. If I buy them rather than tie them, I can replace the 40 flies for about $100 plus the cost of a fly box. Given that I have too many fly boxes already, I won't even need to buy another one.
By the time I got home, it seemed like the air was colder, the wind was harsher, and I opted not to fish. I watched college football instead.
Today, I double-checked a spreadsheet to see where I'd fished my last time out. It turns out that I'd fished on Ayers Brook in Randolph, rather than the White River in Royalton. So, I now have a new place to look for my missing flies, although with the short days, it might be the weekend before I get there to look.
My plan for this week is to tie some more woolly buggers. I don't have to have them, and I could have fished without them on Saturday. But, that's a fly I use a lot both early and late in the season, and I feel unprepared without them.
I think I have about 600 flies on hand at any point in time. I'm sure that I could find other flies that the fish would take. Or maybe, I was just being a weenie, and I let the missing fly box be an excuse to stay warm on a raw day.
I skied yesterday and I'm planning to ski again next weekend. Hopefully, I'll find my flies or tie some more, and get out fishing for a bit next weekend. But, it's also possible that my 2014 season is over.