A couple of weeks ago The Headhunter announced the arrival of some new hats for the fly shop over there in Craig. It got me thinking about fishing hats. Partly because I am in the market for a new one, and partly because those were some pretty good looking* hats.
*I actually spent some time thinking about their logo, and then fishing company logos in general, which might end up as a whole other post.
An anger's hat choice communicates a certain something, at least I have always felt that way. The dark brown felt fedora says something like: "When I am not fishing here, I am staying at a lodge in Alaska, or else I am golfing." I actually own a hat like that but I rarely wear it, mostly because its too hot to be really comfortable, not because I am worried about looking like a snob. I will pull it on when my ears have been sunburned for a couple of weeks straight and I am worried they will flake off completely.
The full-on, old school cowboy hat says: "I am a local, get off my river." Or maybe I am reading too much into that one.
The long-bill hat with the long neck flap off the back says: "I thought way too much about my hat choice." Which is admittedly sort of a hypocritical thing to write since I am a authoring an entire post about hats.
If you can't tell, I am baseball cap guy. Which is the least functional of hats (it leaves wide areas of your head at the mercy of the sun), but certainly the most comfortable, at least for me. Which should serve me well when I get skin cancer.
You can flip a ball cap around backwards when you feel your neck start to sizzle, and I think they work exceptionally well when scooping river water onto your head on a hot day. But mostly I wear ball caps because I always have, and every time I try something else I feel like I am trying to be someone I am not.
I believe wholeheartedly in the concept of a lucky fishing hat, and I will change hats if I have a couple of bad trips in a row. I am fond of tan hats when fishing, mostly because they don't attract too much heat and I think they are a little less conspicuous to our speckled friends, but I might be too optimistic on that last part.
I recently retired one of my longest running fishing hats. The material was literally coming of the hat and large rips were showing up each time I put it on. I have had to accept the fact that it is no longer usable. It is a Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets hat, with the logo on the front and nothing else. Not that I am huge fan of Georgia Tech (I am actually a Duke fan), but I liked the look of it and I got it for a couple of bucks. Not a bad return considering it lasted nearly ten years.
My favorite story of the hat took place on a remote Idaho river that took a couple of hours to reach by dirt road. We only saw one other angler the whole time we fished that creek. It was on the way in, we pulled over to ask how the fishing was. The guy walked over to the van we were riding in, where I was hanging out the window, and said, in a thick southern accent:
"Did my wife send you?"
Turned out he was from Georgia, and a big Georgia Bulldogs fan. He'd come halfway across the country and here came some yahoo in a Tech hat.
So now I am looking for a new hat, and I feel like I should support a favorite fly shop. So I'll probably pick up a Jimmy's All Seasons Hat or a Blue Ribbon Flies hat (I like the one that looks like a PBR logo, but I couldn't find a link). And when I do, I'll feel like I am at least being true to myself.
Even though the ball cap probably says something like: "I am having a hard time letting go of my adolescence." I am okay with that. Heck, its true.