Over the weekend I was traipsing about in Yonkers, NY, chasing carp on the fly in the Bronx River. At one point I stepped in the wrong place and found myself with one leg buried to the knee in the nastiest, most stinking, oily city mud you could ever find. It was during the walk back to the truck that I looked down at my foot caked in slime and thought, man, these boots have seen some stuff. The boots, to be specific, are an old pair of Simms Headwaters, that for whatever reason just became my go-tos. They have waded clean, clear, aqua streams in Alaska. The worn studs have kept me upright on the winter steelhead rivers of the Northeast. They have “clacked” across striper jetties on the coast, felt the gravel bars of Pennsylvania limestoners, stood on Montana driftboat decks, and parted the lilies of many bass ponds. They are not the most expensive or high-tech boots out there, but they are just one of those pieces of fishing gear that became battle-scarred and trusted. They have history, and I love gear with history.
I have never met a serious angler that doesn’t have something in his or her arsenal that’s stood the test of time and been there during some of their most memorable fishing moments. Even guys that buy all the latest gear often have “that rod” or “that lure” or “that jacket” that always has to come along on an outing because it’s the old friend or the lucky one. A lot of those gear items get passed down, though I doubt my boots will be handed off to my kids. They will wade their last river at some point (maybe sooner rather than later), but until then I’ll just keep wearing them and see how many more places they can fish before retirement.
What’s the item in your tackle stash that has the most miles or most history? More importantly, are you still using it today?