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Thursday, June 16, 2022

What is a bead kook?

I love the word Kook.  I first heard the term used with regularity when I moved to Tahoe and immersed myself in the world of ski and snowboard culture.  In that world, when you are a local making minimum wage doing some shitty job just so you can ride every day, and have to deal with some tourist wearing a Bogner one piece kook suit telling you that her boots are too tight and soy latte is too hot, or they deserve a better parking spot, or they try to pass you on highway 89 during a blizzard with chains on the wrong tires...then you start to understand the meaning of what a total kook is.   I really fell in love with the term, so I incorporated it into the fly fishing world, where there is no shortage of kooks.

In the Urban Dictionary, a kook is defined as one who pretends to be someone who they are not and/or someone who tries to fit in but with exaggeration.  Kind of like a poser.  There is really nothing wrong with that, unless the kook starts to interfere with someone else's fun.  For example...

This is a kook surfing...

In surfing, where the term really took off, a kook is defined with someone who interferes with others surfer's fun because he/she doesn't know anything about surf ethics, or doesn't have the right surf level of experience for the specific surf spot.  In fly fishing, kooks can definitely interfere with other peoples fun on a number of levels.   Among other non redeeming qualities that interfere with other angler's fun, fly fishing kooks tend to have certain unappealing qualities in common all over the world, such as shitty ethics/etiquette, no respect for the fish, and tend to be numbers obsessed.

This is a ski kook...

An important thing to point out is that if you are new to fly fishing, you may not know if you are being a kook, but just because you are a beginner fly fisherman doesn't mean you are a kook.  Everyone was new to fly fishing at some point, and we have all done kooky things along the way. When speaking specifically about steelhead fishing, bead kooks have slowly taken over.  Numbers obsessed guides have popped up all over Pacific Northwest rivers, lobbing their kooky bead rigs on their 20 mile floats.  Nothing wrong with side drifting bobber rigs, but I take offense to a rig that has absolutely no fly in the equation whatsoever.  Seriously, no flies on the rig at all, just various plastics, lots of lead, and bare hooks getting lobbed from one side of the boat to the other, then dead drifting through every inch of water until you hook a fish somewhere, often outside the mouth.  How is this fly fishing?  

Here is a diagram below of a bead kook would rig...


If you are kooking out on a guide day, you might not even know it, you may just be misguided...literally.  So, if you are a beginner or novice fly fisherman going out with a guide, you might need to do some homework before you book the trip to avoid this uncomfortable parking lot conversation...

Client: Hi (insert millennial name) so, what flies are we using today?

Guide: We are going to use what works best to hook as many fish as possible today man.  We will be pulling color all day yo!

Client: Cool!  So, what flies do you think will be most successful?

Guide: Eggs dude.  The egg grab is on fire.  Total slayfest of chrome.

Client: Eggs eh, like, glow bugs or yarn patterns?

Guide: Patterns?  That old dude shit doesn't really work, so we are gonna throw beads.  My beads look more like eggs than anything else.

Client: Hmm, beads?  Like necklace beads at the craft store?  Do you tie them on to a hook or something?

Guide: No, but I paint them.  Revlon Red number 2 crossed with Bamboo Shoot is crushing.

Client: Ummm, ok.  So you paint them, then tie them on the hook and make some sort of a fly out of it?

Guide: No, actually we peg the egg above the hook with heavy mono or toothpicks.  They eat the bead, then the hook below it hooks the fish.

Client: So, what's on the hook?
Guide: Nothing, well a snelled knot is on there.
Client: So, where's the fly?
Guide: Fly?  The bead is the...wait, no, the hook is, wait.  Whatever, who cares?

Client: I'm confused, I thought you were a fly fishing guide?  I thought we were fly fishing today?

Guide: (sighs, annoyed) Dude we are fly fishing today.  (points) Just look at the big sign on my truck and Clack that says (millennial name's) fly fishing guide service.  I'm a fly fishing guide.

Client: But we aren't using flys, at all...correct?

Guide: Whatever, again, who cares?  I'm gonna, I mean, we're gonna get em.  C'mon, we gotta jam dude.  Don't worry about all these meaningless little details.  We gotta beat everyone to the boat ramp and make it to the Sanctuary Pool first.  It's right below a creek, and the fish are hella stacked in there just chilling. The spey fags yell at me for fishing there, just because they are jealous of all the chrome I've been slaying in there the last 11 days in a row.  Its' a super long, really slow drift, but ultra exciting when it's bobber down time bro.  Then we will just motor back up the run and hit it 15 to 20 more times and then just motor back up to the put in and take out.

Client: Wait, I'm confused again.  I thought I booked an experience where I was going to be fly fishing on a drift boat trip.  But you're telling me that we aren't going to be using flies at all, and we are putting in and taking out at the same place, and not drifting to a takeout?

Guide: (defensive) Well yeah, it's the best program on the river man.  Or we can burn out a 20 mile float, but we should have already left if we were going to do that because I can't stand being behind anyone.  Oh, did you get my sandwich?

I'm not making this shit up.  Similar conversations are happening every day on steelhead rivers throughout the PNW.  Bead kooks masquerading as fly fishing guides have overrun our boat ramps with their kooky ass bobbers, beads, and bare hooks.  What can be done?  I think calling them out is a good first step.  Kooks.  

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. The bead kooks need to just own the fact that they are kooks. But they won't, because they know that what they are doing is lame.