Thoughts of a fly fisherman’s wife: Part I, The Fishing Glossary

In the first of a new season of intermittent posts, and in a shameless attempt to boost ratings (and further put off writing my own posts), it’s time to welcome my (new) other half to the Tamanawis pages. Who knows where this will lead, but we’re going to start with a crucial tool required by every fisherman’s partner, the fishing glossary. I leave the following largely unedited, though reserve the right to leave chauvinistic comments in italics..

Thoughts of a fly fisherman’s wife: Part I, The Fishing Glossary (by The FFW)

A little background

I decided to contribute to this blog for two different reasons. Firstly, I have been Mike Tamanawis’s wife for a couple of weeks now which indeed makes me a Fly Fisherman’s wife (excellent use of capitalisation), and as I have fished a couple of times I am qualified to make some comments. And secondly…

Last week during our honeymoon/fly fishing trip to Sutherland, Mike was fishing in the sea when a fisherman came to speak to me.

“What is he fishing with?”
“Well, at the beginning he used a dry fly as the fish were feeding at the surface, but as the activity was slowing down on the surface he decided to use a wet fly. We will see what happens.”

I still don’t know who was the most surprised, the fisherman, the fish or me. I just thought, “oh dear I can actually speak about fly fishing, I am officially the wife of a fly fisherman”. So here is my guide to the most important terms and ideas for a fly fisherperson.


Waders (“The Frog”). We can say from the beginning that the film “A River Runs Through It” should be banned from all girls who will eventually be with a fly fisherman, particularly if he fishes in Scotland. The romantic idea of Brad Pitt casting in the middle of a beautiful sunny day, it is not quite my experience of fly fishing….

Chest Pack (“The Fishing Bra”). Much funnier that the normal ones used by women.

Casting. The technique of moving your arm in the manner of throwing a heavy ball, while your husband says every two minutes, “Relax, gentle, use your whole arm, imagine…relax…”

Fishing. An action used to get some food. Husband’s definition is not available in less than 2000 words.

Fishing magazines. Same every month with a bit of a variation in the pictures. Husband’s point of view: serious debates about fishing every month which can not be missed just in case they actually discover that fish really do not care about the difference between flies (in fact I sometimes feel slightly closer to the wife’s perspective on this one..).

I’ve never taken a picture of a fishing magazine, so I’ve substituted in a nice grayling instead.

Fly tying. Very scary stuff. When you discover the collection of dead animals, obsessively classified in order. And all the flies in boxes which will never be used, that is actually super scary, you should know.

Boxes. Tools used to organise any kind of thing. Husband’s definition: Endless possibilities for new systems to re-organise the flies, for the 102nd time (which actually is not that important as all the flies go with him anyway every time he goes fishing, as you never know what you could find in a very small burn).

Underwater rocks. Provide hope that a fish took your fly. Husband’s perspective: Fly lost and potentially rod destroyed if you don’t react quickly enough when you see your wife fighting with a rock as she seriously thinks that she caught the biggest fish of her/your life. Beware.

Heather. A plant which most fishing flies find very attractive. Husband’s reference: Don’t leave the wife with a rod until you cut down all the nearby heather, otherwise you will not be able to fish all day as you will be retying and cutting a lot of fishing line.

Catching a fish. Wait for your husband to deal with the rod. Husband’s definition: Hold the rod high and tighten your line with the left hand. I know because he told me many times, but it’s still impossible to apply for some reason (I have no idea why, it’s an action similar to pointing upwards at an expensive item high on a shop shelf while holding a shoping bag in the other hand).

Tree-lined rivers. That makes no sense, how could I cast? You must be joking.

Fishing without a frog in April. A bit silly.

Fishing during winter. Complete silliness (again, hard to argue really..).

Practicing casting on the grass. Serious insanity.

Marrying a fly fisherman. You should be madder than the fisherman (does help, and in this case might be true..).

— The End (not definitive or complete, and may be expanded).


  1. Simon’s avatar

    Very nicely done. Welcome Mrs Tamanawis and many congratulations to you both.

    1. mike’s avatar

      Thanks very much Simon, very nice of you to drop us a message. Hope things are going well for you and the family.

      Mike (and The Wife)

    2. Alistair’s avatar

      Dude – Mrs. Tamanawis brings some class to this blog that you never could!

      Congratulations – will give you a bell this week and we can arrange the visit 🙂


    3. mike’s avatar

      Hiya Alistair,

      I’d like to protest and argue, but I suppose I can’t really…

      Hope you guys are doing well,

    4. alan atkins’s avatar

      Many congratulations Mike ! Remember we’ve got some serious grayling fishing coming up, you’re welcome anytime,



      1. mike’s avatar

        Hiya Alan,

        Thanks very much. Funnily enough I was thinking about grayling fishing just yesterday and wondered if you guys would be heading out. I’d love to give it a go this year, it’s been too long since I completely froze my b@ll@cks off..! I guess things get going around December time?


      2. alan atkins’s avatar

        Mike, our chosen river opens for grayling fishing on December 1st, I’ll be in touch nearer the time to see if you fancy joining us. I must admit that my mind has beend rifting towards the grayling of late, especially now the salmon season’s almost over. Its been a decent season, with 6 from the Kelvin, and 4 lost ( including one on the fly, a first for me on the Kelvin !) I’ve caught 8 otyhers from the Northy, including 3 on the trout rod, at dawn in low water , back in July / August. Speak soon,


      3. mike’s avatar

        Hi Alan,

        Sounds like a nice end to the season. Congrats on the fly-caught Kelvin silver, that must have been a nice moment 🙂

        I’ll tie up a few bugs in the coming weeks for the ladies.


      4. Ralph’s avatar

        Probably the most sensible article ever written on this blog, and by such a charming lady.

        Not sure if there is any reson for getting wet, cold and bored when you can pop down to Sainsbury’s and get Cod ready for the pot. Or am I missing something?

        Did you do nothing sensible on your Honeymoon?

      5. mike’s avatar

        Hiya Sir Ralph,

        You’re definitely missing something. How can you enjoy such a fish from a supermarket without having first gone through a cold, miserable purgatory to make you appreciate it?

        As for sensible things, I’d say drinking delicious beer and eating fresh local langoustines for dinner is quite sensible..

        Have a nice one,

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