I don’t think any group of people outside of baseball is more closely associated with the caps they wear on their heads than fly anglers. The lid you wear is more than a fashion statement. It’s the “been there, done that” statement. The badge of honor. The telltale that you proudly belong to a fishy culture.
And for some of us, it’s what keeps the bald spot on top of our head from getting sunburned. (Although I’ve come to embrace baldness to the point where I don’t actually feel like wearing baseball caps indoors. I tell people the bald crown is a solar panel for a fishing machine.)
The other day, Mrs. Deeter reached a point of diminishing returns, and made me cull through the shelf in the closet that’s stuffed with a hundred or so caps.
“Throw that one out, it’s dirty and ugly,” she commanded.
“Are you kidding? It took me years to get the bill bent just so. And look at the beautiful grease stains. And the stitching is ripped because I’ve stuck so many flies up there. That’s my lucky hat.”
“What about that one?” she asked.
“I can’t lose this one, because that one fits. I have a big noggin, and most of the cheap imported baseball caps are made too small, so I look like Baby Huey when I wear them.”
“Colorado Rockies? Lose that one. The Rockies suck,” she demanded.
“You don’t understand. Nobody fishes in a Yankees hat, or the hat of a good baseball team. As anglers, we like to show that we embrace frustration. That’s why I won’t throw out my Cubs hat, or my Cleveland Indians hat either. But I guess you can have the Orioles cap now.”
“That was my Grandpa’s.”
“Pabst Blue Ribbon?
“High School, when I was growing up in Milwaukee. You can have that, because stale, pale beer is en vogue with the fly shop boys now, and I want to stay out of the mainstream.”
“This thing is falling apart…”
“Caught my first tarpon in that one.”
“Do you really need a different hat to show every single fly shop you’ve been to and every river you’ve fished?!?!” she demanded (now exasperated).
At that point, she just walked away.