Anything Fly Fishing

A New Year’s Resolution for Anglers

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I’ve decided once and for all that this is the year I am finally going to lose some weight.

Well, not me personally. I was thinking about my fly-fishing gear. A person has to be realistic even with resolutions.

So, I’ve come up with a process to go through my fly-fishing gear that you might want to try yourself. With any luck, we can both travel lighter.

January is the perfect month for lightening your tackle.

I also suggest January is the perfect month to do this. Where trout live, January tends to be cold. In some cases, the weather lends itself more to building snowmen than to trying to open a trout’s mouth. So, my plan is to light a fire, grab a beverage, and attack my tackle.

I’m going to start with my tackle sling. I switched to a sling a few years ago thinking it would force me to carry less gear out on the stream. But somehow, I’ve managed to keep forcing stuff into it until it’s taken on the profile of a pregnant possum.

January is the perfect month for lightening your tackle.

The first step, therefore, will be to dump everything out of the sling onto a table and go through it one item at a time. Set the fly boxes aside for the moment and let’s just deal with everything else.

In dumping the sling I discovered that my tube of Easy Dry floatant had come open and little silica BB’s now bounced around the kitchen, excluding the thousands that still populated the bottom of the sling. Their sheer numbers make me think they had been reproducing.

Gathering what I could scoop out, I refilled the tube and had plenty left over. Maybe they will keep my pack dry.

I discovered also that I had about ten spools of tippet. Some of them were heavy enough to land tarpon, but since I mostly fish small mountain streams, I hadn’t used anything that heavy in years. Perhaps never. So, I made the rule that any tippet older than my truck would be discarded. That seemed fair since my truck has 163,000 miles on it.

After some thought, I decided four spools of tippet would be plenty. Already I was down about six ounces not counting the silica BB’s.

Next, I turned to the fly boxes.

This one was trickier. I figured the one-year rule might work here, meaning that if I hadn’t used a fly in the past season, I’d leave it out. Then, I started thinking about infrequent hatches and whether I needed to keep those patterns on hand. But seventeen years is a long time to carry a locust pattern even if it does work really well that one time they hatch. So, I took out the locusts.

Next, I started thinking about how few flies I actually use, so I set aside one box just for those patterns. Then, I chose a few boxes for the ones I have used about once in the past year. All the rest came out.

Now, I have three small boxes of wet flies, nymphs, and streamers, one for dries, and one for terrestrials and midges. I also concluded that I typically fish about a dozen flies and the other hundred I carry just in case. I’m not sure just what case that might be because if one of those dozen flies doesn’t work, I might as well quit.

I left the stream thermometer in there, along with a Ziploc bag of toilet paper because, well, you know. Also, the small split shot got to stay. Even though they were heavy they didn’t take up much space.

I also kept a few indicators and some spare leaders. And on the outside of my sling, I kept my forceps and net. I also left hanging a leather tab that helps straighten my leader on cold mornings when I have to straighten myself with a cup of coffee. Maybe two.

My flashlight comes in handy unless I want to leave early to grab barbecue before my favorite place closes.

I also have a small pocket where I keep a little Benadryl, since I always manage to find yellow jackets, and a miniature flashlight that rarely has fresh batteries. I put some new ones in so I could fish until dark if I wanted to and wasn’t afraid the barbecue joint on the way home would close before I got there. A fellow has to have priorities.

Everything else I decided could stay home until I missed it.

I’m not sure how much weight actually came out, but my sling now at least has the profile of a possum after it gave birth.

Now, with all this newfound space, I have room for snacks.

In fact, I now have a little extra room to slip in a sandwich and some jerky, perhaps even something to drink. Maybe there’s also room for a protein bar, some chips, and a pack of crackers.

Filling that extra space with food probably won’t help me lose weight, but with New Year’s resolutions, a person has to be realistic.

At least my pack’s lighter.

Jim Mize long ago discovered that one should be realistic in making New Year’s resolutions. You can purchase Jim’s new book, The Jon Boat Years, at , or buy autographed copies at You can also purchase it here at

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