Duct tape - First it Saved the Day, Then it Tried to Drown me.

Duct Tape.  Does anyone out there take a trip to your favorite water without the stuff? It has saved my fishing day several times. Some Duct tape company should really buy American Expresses slogan from them.  It seems appropriate.  "Don't Leave Home Without It!" This last week it was again called upon to save the day.

 I don't have to explain to the readers here how valuable a day out on the water is. So when you get out there and find some piece of equipment isn't up to snuff like you thought, it can ruin your day. I have had a couple bad moments of equipment or brain malfunction that have threatened to ruin a day on the water. And in each case it seems that duct tape was at least a part of the solution.

A couple years ago on the water it was waders that sprung a large leak. It was not really a warm spring day when this happened so wet wading was not an option. I dried the waders off, taped them up with a heavy dose of the silver stuff, and waded for several hours without feeling a drop of water. Eventually the duct tape dam broke, and I was driven in a hypothermic fit back to the truck to blast the heater, but hey I got in some fishing, and caught some fish that may not have been possible without the wonders of Duct Tape.

I mentioned brain malfunctions. I am vaguely remembering another time I tried so long to forget, where I made it to the river for an evening of fishing. The plan was to fish a couple hours before dark. I got out of the truck and put on my waders, boots, got out my flies, tippets, all that misc stuff. Then took my reel out of it's case, and went to put it on my fly rod and start rigging up. But I somehow had forgotten the fly rod at home. There are a few things I can do without on the river, but it just so happens that the fly rod is an important ingredient to fly fishing. So I did the next best thing. I cut a perfectly good willow from the stream side, then proceeded to spend the next half hour rigging something up with duct tape. Let's just say that duct tape had a hand in allowing me to actually put a fly on the water that day, but it may not have completely saved the day. I got skunked. But I fished.   So I feel like I won that one. 

Now this past weekend. It was my wading boots turn to malfunction. First on one sole, then just a few minutes later, the other. The felt just came off. Starting at the toes, peeling back to the heel. They are old boots so I guess it was bound to happen.  Wading up stream with two hunks of felt flopping in the current and trying to find traction on the hard smooth plastic that now was on the balls of my feet, was what I would imagine it to be like to wade in roller skates. I made it back to the truck and grabbed the handy dandy duct tape and made a few wraps.

Duct Tape Wading boots
 The first run it all worked fine.  Then things fell apart again.  Literally.  It was nearly impossible to dry the boots out in a reasonable amount of time, so the duct tape had to be put on the wet boots.  Soon it came loose and up bobbed a glob of duct tape to the surface of the river.  I snagged it and headed back to the truck for round two.  This time I not only duct taped around the toe of the boot, but did a figure 8 up and around my ankle to hold everything in place and to keep my self from inadvertantly littering the river with another glob of duct tape, if it slipped off the toe again and I failed to catch it as it headed down river.  This time the tape didn't hold for a minute.  After entering the water the toe portion slipped off and began flapping in the current, still held to my leg by the loop around my ankle.  Well I had a fish I was working in front of me so there was no time to stop and get this wading boot thing solved.  I just was going to have to go after this fish and hope I didn't fall in the river. 

Yeah, I slipped, and as the fresh cold water trickled up over my waders the gasping and flailing began.  At first it seem important to me to keep from snapping the $300 dollar stick of graphite in my right hand while trying to somehow regain my footing.  Did I mention the wading in roller skates analogy?  It may have been that one of the loops of duct tape got caught on a rock or stick but I was finding it very hard to move one of my feet to get it back under me so I could stand up.  As I continued to flail and take on the steady trickle of 40 degree water down the waders for what seemed like 5 minutes that $300 stick of graphite started to lose value in my mind.  Finally I put both hands down and pushed off to get myself righted.  Finally standing I took inventory of the situation again.  Fly rod had survived.  That is good.  I was surviving.  That was better.  But soaking, cold, and my foot was still caught on something.  Finally though in a standing position it was easier to free myself from whatever it was the duct tape had looped around.  I pulled free, and headed directly to the truck. 

Calling it a day.  I must have been a sorry sight.  Dripping wet but wearing waders.  Two duct tape loops flopping around my ankles, and some half torn off felt soles flip flopping back and forth with every step.  I guess there is only so much duct tape can do and saving ones dignity is not on the list.

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