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That Feeling You Get When You Realize You Only Brought One Wading Boot

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February 11, 2014

That Feeling You Get When You Realize You Only Brought One Wading Boot

By Joe Cermele

That's my buddy Nick in the photo below. Over the weekend he and I decided to make a 2-plus-hour drive west to hit a few Pennsylvania limestone spring creeks, because finding moving, fishable water that's not iced over closer to home is real chore this winter. I picked Nick up at 6 a.m. At 8:15 a.m. we pulled off a quiet country road in the hinterlands and got our first view of the gorgeous stream with its waving green watercress and little curls of rising steam. About 30 seconds later, Nick realized that only one of his wading boots made it into my truck. Cue panic. 

Showing up without a critical piece of gear is a product of hastily packing the truck 99% of the time, and if you've never experienced it, you're either just plain infallible, insanely lucky, or you don't go on enough fishing trips. I've forgotten many things, but my biggest blunder happened during a steelhead trip with a friend last winter. We left my house at midnight, drove 5 hours north to get a good spot on the river at first light, then realized upon arrival we had seven fly rods and only one reel between us. I've sadly seen this happen to myself, friends, and guides enough that I've noticed a pattern in how these crises unfold. 

Stage 1. Confident Denial: You swear there is no way you could have possibly forgotten the item. It's here. Somewhere. You tear the truck apart 8 times, dump your gear bag out 10 times, and possibly even check under the hood in desperation. This stage can also include accusing friends of trickery.

Stage 2. Useless Confirmation: You call home. Subliminally, I think this is in hopes that the item is not there, in which case, despite stage 1, it could be here. But then your wife or girlfriend or roommate or whoever says that yes, the item is home, which leaves you no better off and only confirms that you are screwed.

Stage 3. False Acceptance: With as much conviction as you can muster, you explain why not having the item is in no way whatsoever a big deal. In fact, it's so insignificant, you don't even know why you're freaking out.

Stage 3 is fun to watch if you're not the one missing the item, and awful to execute if you are. In the case of my steelhead trip, I told my buddy we'd be better off taking turns drifitng runs anyway, because someone should always be ready with the net or camera. No worries. As for Nick (who is a better man than I) he said, "Dude I've caught a ton of fish here. I want to see you catch them. It's totally cool. I'm just going to walk the bank and help you spot trout." And he did. He crunched through ankle-deep ice and snow in flat-soled leather boat shoes for 2 and a half hours until the first not-so-close-by tackle shop opened and new boots could be secured.

You're up. What's your worst tale of forgotten gear?

Comments (20)

Top Rated
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from RockySquirrel wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Went deer hinting and left my winter hunting coat at home. Walmart and $45 fixed that problem. Donated it to charity winter coat drive when I got home.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Well probably the most grievous error was leaving the beer on a fishing trip in Arkansas and camping just isn't the same without a beer. Who ever knew there were still dry counties.
Just this past year I went fishing not too far from home for trout, redfish, flounder and forgot my tackle box somehow. I had 6 rods with lures already rigged. In my boat I did find a spool of flourocarbon for leaders and 3 soft plastic shads. Still the day turned out. I was just very conscious of snags and very careful fighting fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Its not a fishing story however on opening day of resident goose season I left the house without the key to the gunlock on my shotgun. It's a good thing I never saw a goose as I defiantly stayed out all day having looped a ziptie around and through an opening on the trigger guard. It looks absolutely ridiculous but I was not about to drive an hour each way to retrieve my keys.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from gijustin wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

3 years ago I was living in Dallas and had to drive 2 1/2 hours to my deer lease. My son was with me and we made it to a Wal-Mart 20 minutes from our lease. I decided to check my gear one last time "just in case". Sure enough, I packed everything but socks. I bought 3 pairs and have them to this day. I have been known to wear them when I'm going to the range with my unit during the colder months.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Opening Day of the PA deer season, 1979. Boots? Check. License? Check. Ammunition? Ummmm...

Further complicating the matter was my choice of rifle, which happened to be a 7.7mm Japanese Arisaka. (One just can't pop into the local KMart for a spare box.)

I had to drive an hour back to where we were staying, then back up to the property. Not exactly the most relaxing of days. At least the deer didn't disturb me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from LostLure wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

I've left my reel at home before. Drove an hour back to get it and then back another hour to the river. Caught a nice rainbow on my first cast and not a single fish the rest of the day. I also forgot gloves when going out ice fishing. Who forgets gloves when it is 0 outside? Good thing there was a Walmart on the way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Once packed my fly rod case for a long trip only to discover after arriving there was no fly rod in the case.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from CSIN26 wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Rabbit hunting. Dad had two gun cases that looked the same. One with a 30-06 and the other with two shotguns. I grabbed the 30-06. Even a 30-06 isn't that versatile.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 9 weeks 2 days ago

I was going to take a friend on a float trip on the clark fork river. We were at the put and rigged up fly roads, topped off my raft and loaded all of our gear. I was backing down the ramp and a game warden showed up. He asked if we had PFDs. Unfortunately I left them in my garage. I pleaded with him to let us go but he wasn't going to let it happen. I started to get heated and my friend said " hey I saw a sign for a white water rafting place about 8 miles up river, maybe they will lend us some PFD's" So we went back up the road and were pulling into the drive way of this rafting company as the owner was pulling out. He stopped and I got out of the car to explain the situation. I told him our story and he agreed to let us use some life jackets. The best part was when he was giving us the life jackets he asked "any of you guys happen to be raft guides?" it happened to be that we both were. The next week we were back in the same spot guiding for the guy... Awesome times but the fishing sucked that day!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 9 weeks 2 days ago

I was going to take a friend on a float trip on the clark fork river. We were at the put and rigged up fly roads, topped off my raft and loaded all of our gear. I was backing down the ramp and a game warden showed up. He asked if we had PFDs. Unfortunately I left them in my garage. I pleaded with him to let us go but he wasn't going to let it happen. I started to get heated and my friend said " hey I saw a sign for a white water rafting place about 8 miles up river, maybe they will lend us some PFD's" So we went back up the road and were pulling into the drive way of this rafting company as the owner was pulling out. He stopped and I got out of the car to explain the situation. I told him our story and he agreed to let us use some life jackets. The best part was when he was giving us the life jackets he asked "any of you guys happen to be raft guides?" it happened to be that we both were. The next week we were back in the same spot guiding for the guy... Awesome times but the fishing sucked that day!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 9 weeks 2 days ago

We forgot a sleeping bag when we left for a week long mule deer hunting trip in Wyoming. There wasn't an option to go get one when we reached our camping spot. I spent the week sleeping under coats and jackets.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shortmon1971 wrote 9 weeks 2 days ago

drove 3 1/2 hours to go deer hunting,
got there, realized I forgot all my clothes, underwear, shower stuff, etc... at home.
Had a gun, binocs, ammo, and what I was wearing.
walmart to the rescue...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from David Wolak wrote 9 weeks 1 day ago

Drove 12 hours to fish somewhere and left all my rods/reels at home. Next day air AM delivery and several hundred bucks later, I was fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wittsec wrote 9 weeks 1 day ago

I once drove to the lake and realized I forgot my car. Very embarrassing. Actually though, I have done the "forgot the beer cooler" though. It's just not camping without beer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BowieKnifeBob wrote 9 weeks 22 hours ago

2012 opening day bow season I made an hour walk out to my treestand. Forgot my release at home. Too bad, I had to pass all the deer that walked by - now I only use a shooting glove.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Williamk8987 wrote 8 weeks 6 days ago

This past year I found a great upland bird spot about a hour and a half away. I decided I was going to get up first thing in the morning and hit that field for first light. So I packed my truck the night before, with all my gear and my dog's gear. I woke up early and snuck out of the house so I wouldn't wake the wife. Right as I was about to pull into the spot my wife called and asked if I was deer hunting or bird hunting. I said bird hunting and she said great, the pup is at home. I had a huge slice of humble pie that day.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcmesq wrote 8 weeks 4 days ago

All I can say is, "Ha,ha,ha!!!". Always double-check your gear, and never forget toilet paper. (Forgetting TP is worse than forgetting wading boots!)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhjimbo wrote 8 weeks 4 days ago

I loaned a 12ga Sears shotgun to a friend. He asked my sister for some shells. Only thing was, she shot a 16ga. It went off but luckily did not damage the gun, just a lot of debris in the barrel. He missed the deer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVFA3 wrote 8 weeks 35 min ago

jcmesq, I can't tell ya how many T-shirts have turned sleeveless on the river bank/trap line from forgetting the TP. For me that one is right up there with not packing extra batteries. Ol' Murphy and his law seem very focused on my head lamp each and every trip.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Raccoon Creeker wrote 7 weeks 5 days ago

Arrived at a favorite archery spot for a short evening hunt in the climber...too bad I forgot my quiver and arrows! Havent forgot too much when going fishing though, knock on wood

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Williamk8987 wrote 8 weeks 6 days ago

This past year I found a great upland bird spot about a hour and a half away. I decided I was going to get up first thing in the morning and hit that field for first light. So I packed my truck the night before, with all my gear and my dog's gear. I woke up early and snuck out of the house so I wouldn't wake the wife. Right as I was about to pull into the spot my wife called and asked if I was deer hunting or bird hunting. I said bird hunting and she said great, the pup is at home. I had a huge slice of humble pie that day.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Went deer hinting and left my winter hunting coat at home. Walmart and $45 fixed that problem. Donated it to charity winter coat drive when I got home.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CSIN26 wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Rabbit hunting. Dad had two gun cases that looked the same. One with a 30-06 and the other with two shotguns. I grabbed the 30-06. Even a 30-06 isn't that versatile.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcmesq wrote 8 weeks 4 days ago

All I can say is, "Ha,ha,ha!!!". Always double-check your gear, and never forget toilet paper. (Forgetting TP is worse than forgetting wading boots!)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Well probably the most grievous error was leaving the beer on a fishing trip in Arkansas and camping just isn't the same without a beer. Who ever knew there were still dry counties.
Just this past year I went fishing not too far from home for trout, redfish, flounder and forgot my tackle box somehow. I had 6 rods with lures already rigged. In my boat I did find a spool of flourocarbon for leaders and 3 soft plastic shads. Still the day turned out. I was just very conscious of snags and very careful fighting fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from smccardell wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Its not a fishing story however on opening day of resident goose season I left the house without the key to the gunlock on my shotgun. It's a good thing I never saw a goose as I defiantly stayed out all day having looped a ziptie around and through an opening on the trigger guard. It looks absolutely ridiculous but I was not about to drive an hour each way to retrieve my keys.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from gijustin wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

3 years ago I was living in Dallas and had to drive 2 1/2 hours to my deer lease. My son was with me and we made it to a Wal-Mart 20 minutes from our lease. I decided to check my gear one last time "just in case". Sure enough, I packed everything but socks. I bought 3 pairs and have them to this day. I have been known to wear them when I'm going to the range with my unit during the colder months.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Opening Day of the PA deer season, 1979. Boots? Check. License? Check. Ammunition? Ummmm...

Further complicating the matter was my choice of rifle, which happened to be a 7.7mm Japanese Arisaka. (One just can't pop into the local KMart for a spare box.)

I had to drive an hour back to where we were staying, then back up to the property. Not exactly the most relaxing of days. At least the deer didn't disturb me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from LostLure wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

I've left my reel at home before. Drove an hour back to get it and then back another hour to the river. Caught a nice rainbow on my first cast and not a single fish the rest of the day. I also forgot gloves when going out ice fishing. Who forgets gloves when it is 0 outside? Good thing there was a Walmart on the way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 9 weeks 3 days ago

Once packed my fly rod case for a long trip only to discover after arriving there was no fly rod in the case.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 9 weeks 2 days ago

I was going to take a friend on a float trip on the clark fork river. We were at the put and rigged up fly roads, topped off my raft and loaded all of our gear. I was backing down the ramp and a game warden showed up. He asked if we had PFDs. Unfortunately I left them in my garage. I pleaded with him to let us go but he wasn't going to let it happen. I started to get heated and my friend said " hey I saw a sign for a white water rafting place about 8 miles up river, maybe they will lend us some PFD's" So we went back up the road and were pulling into the drive way of this rafting company as the owner was pulling out. He stopped and I got out of the car to explain the situation. I told him our story and he agreed to let us use some life jackets. The best part was when he was giving us the life jackets he asked "any of you guys happen to be raft guides?" it happened to be that we both were. The next week we were back in the same spot guiding for the guy... Awesome times but the fishing sucked that day!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gtbigsky wrote 9 weeks 2 days ago

I was going to take a friend on a float trip on the clark fork river. We were at the put and rigged up fly roads, topped off my raft and loaded all of our gear. I was backing down the ramp and a game warden showed up. He asked if we had PFDs. Unfortunately I left them in my garage. I pleaded with him to let us go but he wasn't going to let it happen. I started to get heated and my friend said " hey I saw a sign for a white water rafting place about 8 miles up river, maybe they will lend us some PFD's" So we went back up the road and were pulling into the drive way of this rafting company as the owner was pulling out. He stopped and I got out of the car to explain the situation. I told him our story and he agreed to let us use some life jackets. The best part was when he was giving us the life jackets he asked "any of you guys happen to be raft guides?" it happened to be that we both were. The next week we were back in the same spot guiding for the guy... Awesome times but the fishing sucked that day!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 9 weeks 2 days ago

We forgot a sleeping bag when we left for a week long mule deer hunting trip in Wyoming. There wasn't an option to go get one when we reached our camping spot. I spent the week sleeping under coats and jackets.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shortmon1971 wrote 9 weeks 2 days ago

drove 3 1/2 hours to go deer hunting,
got there, realized I forgot all my clothes, underwear, shower stuff, etc... at home.
Had a gun, binocs, ammo, and what I was wearing.
walmart to the rescue...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from David Wolak wrote 9 weeks 1 day ago

Drove 12 hours to fish somewhere and left all my rods/reels at home. Next day air AM delivery and several hundred bucks later, I was fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wittsec wrote 9 weeks 1 day ago

I once drove to the lake and realized I forgot my car. Very embarrassing. Actually though, I have done the "forgot the beer cooler" though. It's just not camping without beer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BowieKnifeBob wrote 9 weeks 22 hours ago

2012 opening day bow season I made an hour walk out to my treestand. Forgot my release at home. Too bad, I had to pass all the deer that walked by - now I only use a shooting glove.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhjimbo wrote 8 weeks 4 days ago

I loaned a 12ga Sears shotgun to a friend. He asked my sister for some shells. Only thing was, she shot a 16ga. It went off but luckily did not damage the gun, just a lot of debris in the barrel. He missed the deer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVFA3 wrote 8 weeks 35 min ago

jcmesq, I can't tell ya how many T-shirts have turned sleeveless on the river bank/trap line from forgetting the TP. For me that one is right up there with not packing extra batteries. Ol' Murphy and his law seem very focused on my head lamp each and every trip.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Raccoon Creeker wrote 7 weeks 5 days ago

Arrived at a favorite archery spot for a short evening hunt in the climber...too bad I forgot my quiver and arrows! Havent forgot too much when going fishing though, knock on wood

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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