KW Morrow, White River

July 5th, 2004

Little Things That Make a Big Difference:
Gadgetry and the Fine Art of Fly Fishing
By KW Morrow (silvermallard)

It's two o'clock and time to head for the stream. Wrist watches...what an amazingly powerful gadget. I often wonder if anything since the invention of the wheel (which is what made wrist watches work until the advent of digital technology) has had such a profound impact on the daily lives of men as this unassuming gizmo that doubles as tool and jewelry and measures the progress of time and the passing of our days on Earth.

While gathering my gear and depositing it in the truck, I check for the presence and performance of several other gadgets. Inspecting my chest pack, I visually ensure that my hemostats are in their proper place...fastened to a retractor and tucked into one of the many gear holsters that are part of the bag. I take notice of my nippers (not much more than a dressed-down nail clipper with a tiny awl on the opposite end used for conveniently trimming leader and tippet and clearing the eyes of flies) tucked into another pocket and fastened to yet another retractor to prevent them from slipping from my hands and falling into the water. Depositing the bag into the truck's back seat, I see my Mosquito Annoyer. I pause for a moment to reflect on just how far we've come.

Mosquito Annoyer...a few months ago, I scoffed in disbelief at the concept of this gadget! A small plastic box festooned with a solar panel, a switch, a clip, and a ring hook fastener. This is supposed to ward off mosquitoes? The accompanying literature explained the detailed workings of this little marvel:

"The only mosquitoes that bite are the pregnant females (go figure.) This little box emits the sound of the 'horny male' mosquito, which she now has great disdain for. So instead of sticking around to hear this guy's cat calls and pick up lines, she goes elsewhere."
My first reaction went something like this: "Crap! Junk! No way!" But heck, I'll try just about anything twice. If this little gadget performed as advertised (the elimination of 95-98% of all mosquito bits), it would save all sorts of aggravation, hassles, and damaged clothing, fly line, hats, etc. The stakes were high indeed! Much to my chagrined amazement, it worked. So it too has found its rightful place on my chest pack. Just in case you're interested (I get asked this question all the time by night fishermen), it has a 6 hour rechargeable battery back-up that runs off the solar cell. So, yes, you can use it after dark.

I return to the garage to retrieve my polarized sunglasses...the next best thing to X-ray vision. I grab my net with the other hand and carry it down to the truck, where I snap it only the elastic cable attached to my chest pack specifically for this purpose. I check my watch again and it tells me that three minutes of my life have slipped away while I rounded up my gear. I smear some waterproof sunscreen on my nose. It's time to go. I reach into my pocket and extract my car keys. Climbing in, I begin adjusting all the various gadgets and gizmos with which it is equipped. And my wrist watch tells me another minute is gone forever. I pause for a few seconds to syncronize it with the dashboard clock before I slip the truck into gear and head toward the stream.

Half way to the stream, I realize I've forgotten my cell phone. Oh well, surely I can live without one gadget for a few hours. Right? ~ Ken

About Ken:

Ken graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1988, and spent the next several years serving in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst and Russian Language translator. He is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Leaving the nation's service in 1993.

Ken is also a published outdoor writer and historian, having penned articles and stories that have appeared in several national hunting publications like North American Hunter magazine, on, in regional and local newspapers, and historical and literary journals. He also provides hunting and dog training seminars for Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods retailers nationwide and works with other outdoors businesses and conservation organizations in the fields of public relations, promotional marketing, fund-raising, and advertising. He also is a partner in Silver Mallard Properties, LLC. He currently resides with his wife, Wilma, their Weimaraner, Smoky Joe, and their Labrador Retriever, Jake, in Branson, Missouri, where he founded the Branson/Tri-Lakes Chapter of Ducks Unlimited in 1998.

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