It's not about the money

Posted by Steve Galea at

The photo accompanying this blog post shows a slightly worn copy of Bill McMillan's classic book on steeleheading. It's also the book I'm reading now. 

I'll admit, this was not my intent. In fact, I was practically forced into the process by my better half.

Before you think that she's some sort of angel who only wants what's best for my angling education. let me explain how this unlikely conversation came about. 

Tying a couple of Winter's Hope steelhead flies caused me to recall having this book somewhere in my vast fly tying library. I wasn't 100 per cent sure, however. So when I couldn't find it, I did what I always do -- I went on-line and looked for where it could be found. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

It seems that this unassuming book (in similar condition to this) is valued anywhere from $170 to $270 US. So, I imparted this information to Jenn because I am of the firm belief that every now and then you need to let your partner know that all that stuff she refers to as "junk" is actually worth something to junk collectors like me.

Jenn's immediately response was,"You should sell that book."

I answered with a very eloquent, "Wha....?"

She then went on to argue that the book was expensive and essentially useless to me since I tend to put all of my fishing books in the category of "I'll read that one day when I find the time." 

Needless to say, I was shocked. First because, if "expensive and essentially useless" were acceptable reasons to sell things, my parents would have made a profit on me the minute I turned 13. But mostly because when it comes to affairs of the heart -- such as this one -- it's never about the money. 

A book like this connects you to great ideas and angling history. It shows you that this disease you have --  whose symptoms include tying flies, casting in any high-ceilinged room in the house and judging the value of every material you see, solely by how useful it might be in a fly pattern -- is not uncommon. A book like this makes you aware that people like Bill McMillan lived useful, productive lives, despite the fact his affliction caused him to catch thousands of steelhead and visit some of the best rivers in North America.

And he did so bravely, without complaining about it once. At least, not in the two chapters I have read thus far .

No matter. I'm now hooked on this book and the idea that I might too be able to lead a productive life just like Bill's.

Better still, I think that Jenn has gotten over the idea of me trading love for mere money.

Having said that, I won't tell her about the autographed copy of Sylvester Nemes' Soft-hackled Fly Imitations.  You shouldn't push things.


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