I haven't run into an angler yet who, if watched closely, doesn't have some superstition. The lucky shirt. A bracelet. A routine for gearing up. A brand of beer that's only consumed on a river. A fishing hat.
|Pick a hat.|
This was an Trout Unlimited ball cap that I got five or so years ago by donating to one of their various fund raising campaigns. It was tan, well worn, sweat stained and had a ragged, orange #10 PMX stuck in the bill.
I caught my first trout on the Deerfield on that fly. It was a beautiful Brown. I kept that fly not because of the fish but because of the cast I made to get it; hard against an overgrown bank while floating down a swift riffle. Memorable. Good mojo.
I have a healthy inventory of hats but this lost hat could be found on my head more often than not when I was on the stream. Why I wore it that day to the VA, I don't know, but I regret it.
The hat is gone. While I'm not superstitious I did have a momentary pang for the lost mojo. Good memories. Good fish. Even if I wasn't wearing the hat when I caught those memories it was an important symbol.
While prepping for the trip to Wyoming a few weeks ago I packed some new hats; one from Keith at Singlebarbed and a new TU hat. I could have grabbed a hat with a bit more history but this felt like the right moment to do something new, something unexpected. I needed to a ruse to to keep bad mojo at bay.
I think it worked.
The experience in Wyoming was over the top. The fishing was good but not great. But the people were fantastic. And I got a behind the scenes look at one of the more critical conservation efforts underway in the west.
I'm still not convinced that the loss of that hat won't matter. But nothing tragic has yet happened. And I have caught a few fish.
Except for that big one I lost Saturday night.