The thing that’s so bad about gear lust is that even though you know it’s bad, you just can’t help yourself. My pal Alistair recently sowed the seed of reel-lust in my little fisherbrain. Up to then I’d been perfectly content with my Shakespeare Condex fly reels, which at 20 quid a pop are considerably cheaper than most fly lines. In a conversation that centred largly on nice, expensive fishing tackle, it became clear that he has a one-up on me in the reel department, fishing as he does with a glorious, shiny Vossler DC-series job. I think we both appreciated the mild irony of my combination of a Sage XP with a 20 quid Shakespeare reel. To be honest it’s the kind of irony I get a bit of a kick out of, but since the conversation I’ve been gradually degenerating into pitiful gear lust. Combine this with a new found lust for an expensive fly line and it’s all going down hill.
Things got even worse this weekend when I was in one of the big fishing tackle shops in Glasgow. I hadn’t been to any fishing shops for a good while, so I slowly worked my way through the fly tying department picking up bits and bobs that I obviously didn’t need. Then at the end of one of the isles was the clear-out row of Sage XP’s. And right on the end was an absolute beauty, a 7’6″ for a 4 weight. Holding it in the hand it felt ALIVE. She (she was clearly a she) was definitely wispering things to me. Things about how crisp she would be casting a little beetle under the overhanging willow tree on my favouite stretch of my favourite urban river. About how smoothly she would put out a nice dull-green-coloured (important) double taper line into the rudest breeze. This conversation went on and on as I felt myself being overtaken by the rigours of full blown gear lust. Perspective! I shouted, have some flaming Perspective! Even if she was a she and even if you could talk to her there’s no way she would stoop to being cast on an Urban River. She was an XP, and XP’s are for the rich boys aren’t they? Rich boys don’t fish on dirty urban rivers. She would not be satisfied, not with shopping trollies and burnt out cars. She would cheat and find a man who fished on a real river.
I’m telling you, there’s a big part of me that hates this kind of pathetic lust for gear. The lust for reels is possibly the worst of all: you never need a great reel, not in my kind of fishing and not like you need a great rod. Yet you really admire a nice one, you spin the spool and listen closely. I think a beautiful reel is more beautiful than a beautiful rod. Just look at this, and this. Reel-lust is gear lust of the purest kind.
You always manage to convince yourself that if only you can plump up the cash for this ‘one reel’, or ‘one rod’ or ‘one Ferrari’, that life will feel complete and that you will reach the next Zen plain of true contentment. But just like an addictive drug the old gear lust comes a-wondering back into your conciousness. It’s not something you’re born with, you aquire it. Exactly like you aquire a taste for cocaine. Just look at my reel-lust. One minute I was fine with a placky job which squeaked and occasionally jammed. Then the allure of a shiny German metal-man invades my life. It’s bad and it’s wrong but it’s not easy to stop.
Must. Control. Myself…
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