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High fuel prices got you down?

Imagine how most of us feel in the recreational fishing world.

Let me explain.

Here we are rounding into September, the time of year that all true "sport fishermen" look forward to. The weather is changing, and most summer crowds have gone home, leaving the rivers and lakes uncrowded and filled with frisky hungry fish readying themselves for the fall spawn and feedfest that takes place in fall.

Most of us are not lucky enough to have a river or lake out our back door, so that means traveling to our favorite fishing spots is mandatory. Two hundred miles or better is nothing when it comes to our passion.

Most fishermen -and outdoor types in general--are usually heading for the great outdoors hauling their gear in SUVs , trucks or campers/trailers.

Not exactly what you would consider "economy" cars.

I can still remember the conversation I had with Ranger Kurt about three years ago, when I convinced him to purchase an old Ford Diesel f350 in place of his trusty Toyota fishing rig.

He would love the extra room, and heck- diesel was about a dime cheaper than regular to boot!!

He like I, always seemed to just fill the back of his pick-up with just about every piece of sporting good equipment that languished in his garage.On the off chance we might feel the urge to break into a spirited game of Badminton, shoot clay pigeons, ride mountain bikes, or take an impromptu twenty mile hike into the high desert, we were ready!!

So, as our state of readiness has increased with age, our truck beds have shrunk.

Much like our spines and uhhhh hummm... other things!!

But I digress...

Anyway, as I ran out of room and had to spend thirty minutes each time loading and unloading basketballs,hockey sticks and barbecues-- just to find my waders--I decided a bigger rig was in order.

Didn't seem like a big deal at the time, back when diesel fuel was at about $1.29.

....$3.19 this morning!!

Ranger Kurt is not talking to me anymore.

I have decided to make some drastic changes in my life--at least my fishing life-- and the next time you see me.... I will be driving a Vespa.

That's right, one of those tiny Italian jobs that sound like an underpowered weed wacker.

I realize this will make it impossible to carry all the "necessary" gear I need to be ready for "impulse recreation"-- but what's a guy to do?

From now on, I will only carry the essentials--fishing rod, fly box,perhaps a sleeping bag--and wear all my necessary clothing, including waders,vest,wading boots and possibly a change of underwear. Everything else stays home!

I know this sounds drastic, but if I am to continue my passion for fishing --this may be the only way to make it affordable to do so.

I also know that the visual image of a rugged outdoorsman on the back of a Mo-ped is not exactly the vision Madison Avenue would like to sell to Orvis or Jeep Cherokee and is more akin to the image of Jim Carrey in "Dumb and Dumber"--but I don't care!!

Look out Deschutes River Steelhead... we're LEAN, MEAN, and riding WHINY MACHINES...

Whad'ya think?Kinda catchy, huh?

So, until the price of crude drops back down to a reasonable level, which may be never, you will recognize me as the guy out on Highway 97 wearing about fourteen layers of clothing and a pair of Hodgeman neoprene waders.

My poor Ford F250? Well, I suppose it will become an expensive dog house for my Yellow Lab-because unless I have AAA tow my vehicle around town--I can't afford to drive it anymore.

I sure hope they don't catch on to me!!

Oh-- and Ranger Kurt--give me a call, there's room on the back of the Vespa for you...

A.J. Klott

Author, writer of fishing humor,and "fly tack" peddler.A.J. writes about the people,characters and modern day events that surround the fishing world. His first book is due out in December of 2005. If you need a laugh or a fun gift, visit his website at: http://www.twoguyswithflys.com


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