Floating Your Hat (A How To Article)

A change of pace here on “The Vent.” Instead of pseudo intellectual dark prose Ive decided to keep things light and do a  “How To” article for those wishing to spend less time vertical while fishing.  Lets be honest, who doesn’t want to go for a swim and cool off every now and then?  And if you are going to do that, why not spice it up a bit and add in the element of surprise. Choosing to get wet is a boring and vanilla experience better left to those who enjoy extended anticipation.  For me there is nothing like the feeling of panic and helplessness at the moment you realize you are going down, and all the possibility of injury and death flash in your minds eye just before the physical shock of hitting ice cold water.  There are few simple steps you can can take while out on the river to ensure that you too can share in this time honored ritual. 


Be sure that while wading in a river  you use the same stride and muscle groups that you would use on a flat paved surface like a parking lot or side walk.  You want to make sure that as your foot falls you are striking with the heel and rolling to the ball of the feet.  By walking on your heels and not your toes you are ensuring that you have no second chance of catching yourself should you step on a loose rock.  The less adventurous walk on their toes in a river and feel their way around, if a rock should roll they can always drop to their heels and have a chance of catching themselves.  This is not for us.  If a rock rolls while placing the heel first you are guaranteed that your ass will probably be the next thing that hits, and if your lucky maybe the back or your head.


You should already be standing with all your weight on your heels, feet slightly more than shoulder width apart, and knees locked while fishing.  This creates an unstable platform where one can easily loose balance from a forceful cast or even just the vertigo inducing practice of staring at moving water.  If you have managed to hook a fish from this position, without falling down, then you want to forego the use of the rod and reel and begin a quick stumble backwards toward the bank to keep your line tight.  At the very least you will loose the fish, but the most likely scenario is a good dunking.


Walk down stream.  This is something that we all have to do from time to time but why do it with such caution and so rarely?  Why not just fish this way all the time.  Walking downstream is a very good way to fall in the river.


When moving from one spot to another always look for and walk through the shallowest water you can find.  You can identify this area by the loose cobble in about three inches of water.  Along with the  treacherous footing this area gets lots of sunlight and is sure to have plenty of algae growth to make things as slick as possible.  There may even be some mid-sized to large boulders that are out of the water for you to stand up on.  This will of course spook all the fish in the area as they can better see you, but thats a small price to pay for the almost certain chance of falling from a high perch, onto a hard surface in shallow water.  The sissy fisherman would have taken the knee or thigh deep route on the other side of the stream where the footing is better, and a fall would be less likely, and even less likely to result in injury.  Don’t be like the sissy fisherman. 


I am assuming you are all wearing Vibram ™ soles shoes without any assistance from metal cleats if you are reading this article. But,  just in case we still have a few environmentally destructive cowards out there who would rather remain upright, and take that chance that they might, maybe, possibly, could, perhaps spread an aquatic invasive species from one drainage to another in the felt of their boots (rather than the shoe strings or other absorbent material); get rid of those childish felt boots now.  Real men wear Vibram™ soled boots and bust their ass.  


Bi-Focal Sunglasses.  Yes friend, nothing will contribute to your ass busting, face planting, stumble bumbling, hat floating day on the water like a pair of these.  You don’t need the five or six hundred dollar pair to do this (any old cheap pair of bi-focal sunglasses will do) but why not do it in style. There is nothing like spending a day at the optometrists office reading articles in the waiting room about fishing, when you could be fishing, then waiting for several weeks before your brand new shiny killers arrive.  Put these on and you are guaranteed to go in the drink.  How can you be so sure you say?  Can I really trust you? How does this work?  Well, Ill tell you.  When wading forward the first thing you do is look slightly out ahead of you.  The portion of the lens you will be viewing the river through is the reader part of the glasses, the close up part of the lens that makes everything blurry at a distance.  This has the added benefit of confusing your brain and making you dizzy.  If you step at this moment you will fall down, but you can always just lean your head a bit more forward so that you are looking through the distance portion of the glasses.  Not to worry.  This will throw your weight and balance off as your head goes too far forward while standing on an uneven surface and you will immediately and successfully get a mouthful of river water. 

There you have it folks.  Next time you are out on the water, and feel the need to add a little adventure to your day, try one or all of these simple steps and see if any work for you.  

Thanks for reading and have a soggy day,