One of the multitude of things that flyfishing has given me is far better attentiveness to my diet. I now make sure that I put things in my body that will generally agree with it. This is not from some need to fuel myself right in order to undertake the rigors of the fishing. Nor is it due to some crap about getting in tune with the environment and therefore only wanting eggs from cage-free chickens. Flyfishing has not made me a tree hugging granola eater. Instead, I have learned a valuable lesson concerning our olfactory sense.
It all starts with a simple question from the man behind the counter at the local burrito chain. “Would you like black beans on your steak burrito?” Of course I would.
It was lunchtime on a cool Saturday in late fall. A low-pressure system was just settling in, chasing out the last vestiges of our Indian summer. The change in pressure was bringing in some wind and on and off sprinkles; making the outlook promising for some fishing. I met my fishing partner for lunch at a chain burrito restaurant, so we could wolf down a burrito the size of our heads and then get out to the water for 6 or 7 good hours of fishing. I was hoping that the wind would cause some chop on the water and the walleyes would be up and feeding. We snagged a couple of burritos, forced them down our gullets and hit the road. The drive to the river we were fishing is about 30 minutes, tack on 15 minutes for getting all geared up and you have plenty of time for the burrito to do what burritos do.
The water we were working is interestingly laid out. There is a fairly swift river, cascading about 20 feet down some rocks; gets to about 4 foot deep and then into a shallow riffle as it speeds away. Jutting out from the river at a right angle between the rocks and the riffle is a large pond. It covers about three quarters of an acre and gets something like 6 feet deep. This is where we would be looking for the walleyes, in the deeper water. Deep water means deep wading. Deep wading means chest-waders instead of hip-waders.
For the uninitiated, chest waders are like waterproof snow-pants. They fit very loosely and cover you from the bottom of you feet all the way up to your armpits. Of course being waterproof, there is no way for air to escape either except to slowly seep out the top right under your neck.
Standing at the trunk of my car, I pull on my waders and notice an unpleasant rumbling in my stomach. Just as I got the shoulder straps buckled into place, another rumble. Vest on, rumble. Pole put together, rumble rumble. I actually farted the first time as we walked to the water. It would not be the last.
Walking and windy conditions can help you not have to pay the price to farting in your waders, but once you get down by the water, where the wind is blocked and you are standing in one place…….God help you. I approached the pond quietly and noticed a horrific odor. Must be a dead fish on the shore somewhere? The smell just kept coming and coming, like it was being slowly blown on my face. For a second I thought maybe it was myself I was smelling. No way. That was clear back while we were walking. Certainly it hadn’t followed me all the way to the water. I took a step into the water and the smell suddenly got stronger, like a puff of noxious fumes. Maybe the water stunk. Another step and another puff. God this was getting unbearable. Finally I had waded about as deep as I wanted to go, to my waist, and I stopped and the odor subsided, eventually leaving altogether.
I cast a few times, tied on a different fly and cast a few more. The rumbling was getting bad now and I succumbed to the urge to relax once more. After about a 10 count the odor started again. Oh my, it was me that I smelt. The waders were holding my poisonous gases to my body and slowly funneling them out right under my chin! It was terrible. At one point I actually decided against lighting a cigarette for fear I would die in a terribly well contained flame ball! I also realized that as I waded the water pressure would collapse my waders to my leg, making my baggy fart holders squeeze puffs of hell’s own fury into my face. Like some sort of fart bellows invented for the Inquisition. Worse, the rumblings were getting more frequent and ominous. I was no longer confident that it was safe to relax and there wasn’t a bathroom for 2 miles. We had only been on the water for about an hour, but I had no choice.
My fishing buddy didn’t seem too disturbed as we sat having coffee at the coffee shop in town (yeah, cause another diuretic like coffee was what I need.). I mean, sure the conditions had been right and the fish were probably biting. Sure we were burning a rare opportunity for a full day on the water due to a need to stay within a stone’s throw of a bathroom. But hey, burritos had been his idea.