The minimalist approach may apply to boats, it does not however apply to rods, reels and lures.

Just the other day I was having dinner at a friend's house and started poking fun at and giving his wife a hard time about the $400 that she had spent on a couple of outfits and a new pair of shoes that she had purchased recently. She of course defended herself in that this was the first time she had gone shopping for herself in months if not a year.

"Yeah, but when you find something you like, price never seems to be an issue," my buddy jabbed. "I could probably fish for a month on what you spent on those outfits."

The whole conversation started out jokingly and in good fun, but quickly turned serious when my friend went out back to get the steaks off the grill. Suddenly his wife disappeared and then reappeared carrying a very official looking notebook. When my buddy returned all he heard was his wife going through all of the receipts for the last month. ". . . $159 for fishing lures, $175 for a fly tying vice, $60 for fly tying materials, $395 for a Gore Tex rain coat, $500 for a fishing rod, $375 for a fly reel. Oh, and here are two more reels for almost $400, boat gas for $63, and here is the one that gets me the most. . . $450 for a fishing guide. . ." she said looking at him. "I thought we bought a boat to avoid you having to hire a fishing guide."

Then all of a sudden she shifted her gaze to me. "I don't know what you're laughing about, this is your fault!"

The only defense that I could come up with to defend myself was, ". . . huh?"

"I guess I should have seen it coming . . . you know, monkey see, monkey do," she added and the discussion was over.

The whole point of the story above is- people who play in the outdoors like gear. I mean, let's face it, anglers in general have so many goodies to choose from, just open one of the latest mail order catalogs that I know you get and you will see what I mean. And, with all the choices in gear and tackle out there, it is pretty easy to accumulate (not to mention spend a month's salary on) enough stuff that the planning of a two or three day fishing trip can sometimes justify a whole other day to go through and organize it all in preparation. But that of course, is a lot of the fun. Well, sometimes.

I have always preached and practiced the minimalist approach to fishing, hunting and photography. I only take what I need for the day, no more, no less, however, that does not mean that I do not have drawers, bags and shelves filled with crap that I do not need and that make my life a living hell from time to time. In fact, not too long ago, I was looking for a piece of camera equipment for a small shoot that I was planning. I looked here, there and everywhere both far and near and never found the darned thing. Well, much to my dislike, I made due without it and was actually planning on ordering a replacement for about $60 when, low and behold, I found it down at the fish camp nearly two weeks later in a gear bag labeled 'spare reels and extra line' when I was looking for a fresh spool of Power Pro. Camera equipment mixed in with fishing gear, go figure huh?

But, despite all the grief I cause myself with all of the 'gear' I accumulate, I still cannot seem to have enough. Between fly fishing outfits, fly tying stuff (I am keeping that in a buddies shed), spinning gear, rifles, shotguns, hunting clothes, decoys, cameras, etc., I cannot keep from buying something new to add to the pile. Heck I was just in the garage a few minutes ago looking at several green lights hanging on the wall that I got several years back and I do not even like to fish under the lights. I am telling you - it is a disease that there is no cure for and I have it bad. Just ask anyone who knows me. Heck, right now I am not only wanting to go out to garage and tinker with it all, but I am having a hard time keeping my hands off of the L.L. Bean catalog sitting next to my computer.

Anyway, I am getting hungry so I think I am going to grab a bite to eat at the pizza place. Did I mention that it is next door to the Academy store.

Best of Tides