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Digging deep to find my hobby

I happen to be one of those lucky people who has his own dedicated fly-tying bench in the basement rec-room. Or at least I think I still do.

You see, like many dedicated fly tiers, I haven’t actually seen the surface – or, frankly, any part – of my fly-tying bench coming up on at least two years now.

I suppose it is still there. After all, something must be supporting that massive pile of fur, hooks, fly tying tools, vises, thread, chenille, tinsel, wool and feathers. And, if I remember correctly, that pile is in the exact same spot where I left my bench. So the odds are good.

Also, when I tie flies on that mess, which I still do, it seems pretty stable underneath – although, admittedly, you’d be wise not to make any loud noises in the vicinity, as avalanches are still a distinct possibility. I’m not saying that pile is large and impenetrable, but I will say if I found Amelia Earhart in it, no one would be too surprised.

I only mention this because I am probably going on an expedition this afternoon. The goal will be to discover my long-lost fly-tying bench.  And, if I don’t make it back, I’d like somebody to know where I was last spotted.

I will probably start at the east end where the bucktails are. I will take a GPS along with me so that by the time I have travelled a few steps west and get to the tinsels I will have a plotted route out, just in case things get hairier.

And since it is a fly-tying bench, it can only get hairier. In due time I will run into moose, black bear, polar bear, caribou, white-tailed and mule deer hair, hare and rabbit hair, as well as some muskrat, beaver, mole, squirrel, wolf, racoon and groundhog hair. All these things will be put away in a box I have that is now empty and labelled animal hair.

After excavating a few layers, I might be able to examine the fossil record and find a fly-fishing magazine from 2019. This will tell me I am getting close.

Then I will probably have to dig only a bit further past the pheasant skins, grouse and duck feathers and turkey wing and tail feathers and hopefully then, if the bench is still there, I will catch a glimpse of it. This will be a historic event.

By this time, I will be losing daylight and will likely have to make base camp in this desolate wilderness. I’m hoping that I can ascend the pile of old fly boxes by day two, and summit to the top of the marabou and peacock herl packages by the end of day three.

Once I do that, it’s just a matter of picking things up and sorting them into an assortment of boxes on the way out.

Eventually, should I not face any insurmountable disasters, I will have a clear and clean fly bench once again – and our property value will immediately skyrocket. Having a clear and organized bench will allow me to find my materials better and to work more efficiently – and hide in the basement in times of trouble, such as when the lawn needs mowing.

I suppose this is the problem with people who get too immersed in a hobby. Things, eventually get out of control and the pastime starts to consume too much of your life. It’s enough to drive a person to have a drink or two.

I’m not much of a drinker, but, frankly, after I clean the bench, I’ll put a hook in the vise and tie one on.

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

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