Linear uncertainty

Linear uncertainty

Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Last week, a nice young woman came into the shop and asked about a flyline for chasing Golden Dorado back in her home in Argentina. She seemed pretty well informed as she rattled off a series of manufacturer’s current lines. I gathered up those that were on the shop’s shelves and laid them out on the counter for her appraisal. She said she was looking for a line to use on her 8 weight rod.

She asked if I had any experience with Dorado and I admitted that I did not. However, I pointed to a photograph of a past shop employee who had once held a world record for Dorado on fly. The photo is of him with his catch, which was part of his submittal for the record. Below the photo his world record affidavit is framed. This employee, who is now deceased, was quite well known both locally and throughout the sport fishing industry. Due to his notoriety, he got to fish many places around the world. Often understated later in life, he had his passions and could get rather riled up on certain subjects. He once admitted that Golden Dorado were one of a very few species of fish that he felt were worthy of travelling out of Florida to chase.


She seemed pleased that I at least knew what they look like.


After looking over the lines, the lady asked if I knew why there was such a wide range of prices. Once again, I had to admit that I had no insight into the reason. So, out came her cell phone, and as has become rather common these days, she proceeded to take photos of the line assortment. A call was then placed and the photos were sent to her confidant. As I do not speak Portuguese I could not completely understand the conversation, other than through context. I did offer my opinion as to which lines would be better for casting larger flies on wire shock tippets, as I at least was aware that was pretty standard practice.


Turning over the flyline boxes, I showed her, and digitally via technology her confidant, the different line profiles as depicted by the manufacturers. Eventually, we all agreed on which line she should choose.


Working in the flyshop after teaching my class can sometimes be frustrating or worse, but it is times like these, as trivial as it seems, when I feel like I have done something to better the world of angling.


Then, the voice on the phone apparently instructed her to get a 9 weight line instead.


And with that, my feeling of minor accomplishment was smeared across my mind’s eye like so much bird poop by weathered wiper blades.


Hastily, I asked her what rod she had been using, but that she did not know, only that it was “not new”. I then pointed to the fine print on the back of the box that stated the line was at least one whole line weight heavier.


I then tried to explain that the 8 wt line in her hands was actually already a 9, and that by choosing a 9, she would then be casting a line that was possibly actually a 10, and that might be asking a lot from her “not new” 8 weight rod.


She then looked at me and shook her head as if I was speaking in a language as foreign to her as her native tongue was to me. A lot of Portuguese was then exchanged digitally almost half way around the world.


Eventually she left with a brand new line, in 9 weight.


I really hope it works out for her.