Someone more wise than I has pointed out that there is really never anything "new" in flyfishing, that it has always been tried or invented before. Lee Wulff got huffy a few years back when someone suggested that they, not Lee, had invented the flyfishing vest. Then someone pointed out some literature and art clearly depicting a vest-like garmet on someone in the 1700's. Lee should have left well enough alone. Given the new synthetic materials, I'm not sure that is true so much today as it has been in the
past, but the principle has value, and we should all retain some humility about our newer inventions.
Take the RIVERCROSSER, for example. Some Idaho flyfishers have tried to take credit for popularizing the float tube, if not inventing it. I have heard several old-timers in the club say that Bill Nelson, the McFF (AND FFF) founder, member emeritus, first and only repeat president, was the first one to sew a seat arrangement on a truck inner tube. Since Bill was in the tire business, it was probably a natural for him. He, or someone, called it a "RIVERCROSSER". Well, I can accept that Bill thought
up the idea on his own, and sewed one himself, but I can distinctly remember seeing ads in the back pages of Outdoor Life during my childhood advertising an obvious float tube, populated by a person with square winged feet, and oriented mostly for bass fisherman.
Anyway, the point of this is not who invented the device, but to examine the fiendish quality people have to invent, not only some "new" device, but also names of unwarranted optimism for it.
"RIVERCROSSER". It makes you think you could use it to cross rivers, doesn't it? HA! "Doughnut" says more about the devices usefulness as a river-crossing device!
Dave Carlson tells a story, believe it or not the same way every time, about how he and Skip Hosfield first tested out Bill's "rivercrosser" on the North Umpqua (or Deschutes, I'm not sure, and which river is definitely not the point of the story). They both were on one side of the river, with one "rivercrosser"
between them. They both wanted to cross the river. They had a problem. It was a bit like the old mind game riddle. How to get both to the other side? Since this was a new and untested device, and they were breaking new, uh, water, they can be forgiven, or at least understood, in thinking their only problem was how to get the "rivercrosser" back to the original shore for the second trip. They thought up a solution. Dave tied his fly line to the device, Skip climbed in, jumped in, and proceeded to"rivercross". However, Skip quickly learned that, without fins, or square winged feet, one does not "proceed" in a rivercrosser except to disappear down river. And Dave rapidly became concerned about the fate, and
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