Wednesday, May 9, 2018


The second I pulled it out of the slingpack I knew there was a problem. It was neatly folded, all corners perfectly square, aligned, possibly ironed; not scrunched in a crusty ball like it should be. It smelled of peonies.

Over the years it had been worn from British Columbia to the Mexican Baja, from the southern-most Bahamas to northern-most Saskatchewan, from North Carolinian farm ponds to Montana trout Meccas. It was my fishing security blanket, my talisman, my mojo. My buff. Now, it was…laundered.

It no longer smelled of sweat and sunscreen and bug dope. Missing were the smoky undertones of Cuban cigars and the subtle spicy keynotes of Gunnison ganja (though I haven’t a clue as to how they got there). Gone were the phantom flavors of tacos and hops, readily available for a quick pick-me-up with just a flick of the tongue. My comfort saltlick was now tasteless. It no longer smelled of fish.

Front was no longer distinguishable from back by the leaked tobacco stains. No amount of twisting found that comfortable impression of nose and cheekbones and chin. Like OJ’s gloves, If it doesn’t fit, you won't catch shit.

Until now, its only cleansing had been courtesy of rainstorms, salt spray, and an impromptu dunking or two; ineffective for proper sanitation but perfect for the maintenance of a proper angling alchemy.

So there I sat, rigged and ready on the flats of South Andros, mojo-less, with all of my angling history, encodings in scents, my comfort zone - washed, rinsed, and tumbled dry into oblivion. We’d been sterilized. The Tide had come in and I wanted to cry.

But tucked neatly inside it was a bright yellow Post-It on which, in a beautiful flowing script, was written “I thought you’d like this all nice and clean. Catch lots of fish. Love you.” Now this was mojo of an entirely different sort. Strong juju. Magic that overrides everything else. Energy that I carry wherever I go, in fishing and in life. Her act was selfless and done for my pleasure. A lovely, thoughtful expression. How could I be mad?

I fucking hate the smell of peonies.

Note: I offer this as a follow-on to Jon Tobey's wonderful piece, She Loves Me, She Cleaned My Truck to which this little piece doesn't hold a candle. I've done so as Jon and I discovered these similar premises were each stolen from our mutual friend (and FlyFish Journal editor), Steve Duda. 

Now, who has a third for the trilogy?


Mark said...


Mike Sepelak said...

Don't know about that, Mark, but thanks!

Good hearing from you Michael!!! Been a while. Hope all is well.