Some folks feel a reel is for nothing more than holding line, keeping it out of the way when it is not needed for the cast at hand. A simple gadget at a modest price is all they need. Others disagree and will spend as much as they can for all the prestige, societal standing and fancy finishes that money can buy.
Some folks feel a fly box is for nothing more than storing flies, keeping them handy even though we all know a large percentage of those flies will never touch water. Most any old box or container will do, as long as the price is close to zero. Others disagree, understanding things beyond our comprehension. Fortunately for them, this is fly fishing and manufacturers are more than happy to target those among us who don’t mind spending a little more.
That’s a Hardy De Luxe rod up there, priced at $67.50 (I’d like two, please), along with a monogrammed landing net ($4.50) and a nice collapsible canvas creel ($6.50). Throw in a six-compartment Wheatley fly box for less than five dollars and a fellow could be outfitted to hit the water for under a hundred bucks!
But what other options were available for those not about to shell out $4.50 for a box?
Designed to fit in your hand or your pocket (how clever!), the True Art Fly=Caster was made of “tough, rugged plastic”. Practical and compact, it sold for a dollar less and had features the Wheatley lacked, such as built in cord loops which afforded protection against loss.
The “Kwick-Pic” fly box (Patent Applied For) featured rotating coils of cadmium plated steel spring, creative spelling and two compartments for just $2.95, showing there were plenty of ingenious, less expensive alternatives to choose from.
Products like the “Fly=Caster” and the “Kwick-Pic” seem to have fallen by the wayside (although variations on a theme still crop up from time to time) but Wheatley keeps on keeping on. Of course, that six-compartment Wheatley can run you $40 or more these days. That box with 16 compartments is now available, for $128.00, reinforcing the idea that there is money to be made by targeting the reckless or affluent.
More than $100.00 for a box in which to keep one’s flies? Quill Gordon doubts he has spent that much, total, on all the fly boxes he owns.
Maybe the intricate tooling, tiny springs and little lids make the Wheatley the perfect container for dozens and dozens of flies I will never use. The quality speaks for itself but I know better than to participate in activities I can not afford so I will never be able add my voice to the thousands of others through the years who have shouted over the roar of rivers and babbling of brooks …
“I lost my Wheatley!”
(Someone out there is thinking to themselves, “This is Tuesday! Why is Quill Gordon publishing Flashback Friday on a Tuesday?” Well, as has been mentioned before, flashbacks can occur at any time, especially around here, at Fish in a Barrel Pond. If you must know, last Friday was spent repairing a broken water line, delaying this edition of Flashback Friday. Being a “glass half full” kind of guy, I like to think, “At least I got to spend the day digging a big, muddy hole with a backhoe, in the rain.”)