The “Best”

I often find myself searching for “The Best” fill-in-the-blank. Then spending countless hours pouring over numerous Top 10 lists of what someone has put together as their “opinion” of what to buy/do/etc. Consumerism at its best, and I am not going to lie, I am an apparent fan.

Some times it is a search I am doing because I don’t know a damn thing about refrigerators.

Other times I am doing it to make a point to a buddy. “See even the fricken internet says I am right, and IT was invented by some guy at Harvard!” (Not sure that statement is correct, don’t fact check me)

But it is the “other times,” especially when it comes to hobbies, where it becomes a bit more insidious.

The first reason I do this stems from the false ideology of “I need the best gear, so I can get better.” Many of us think we just need the new rod, the slick reel, or lightest but most durable waders. A natural progression of the pursuit of perfection of our hobby. A way to show the community we are committed to ending up on the cover of <insert favorite magazine title here>.

After trying my fair share of rods, reels, etc. they have all gotten so good. But none of them have made me better. Unfortunately, you can’t fix this carpenter with a new tool.

It just comes down to getting the reps.

Being on the water, netting the fish, nymph fishing even after you tattooed “dry fly till I die” across your chest. Getting better ain’t about da gear.

But as I do this song and dance every year with the best pair of nippers (glorified finger nail clippers), it is rarely about the thing.

The second reason I do this is more about the way my community perceives me. My own ego.

Sure there is something to be said about fit/quality/etc. in moving up from entry level waders to guide series. But frankly the difference between each brand at the same price point, comes down to how the brand makes you feel you will be perceived.

I’m not saying that experiencing the “ego rush” is a bad thing; I am just urging a little more EQ when you click on your 29th ‘Best Of’ list. The two you have honed in on are both good. And your buddies are only going to think your new $1,000 waders are cool for about as long as it takes them to hook into their first fish. Aka the better the fisherman, the less they will care.

At the end of the day, the gear is just a tool to get out there with. And yes, making sure it is going to last and people being satisfied with their purchase is important. But for the most part, you just need gear that is good enough.

So save yourself the time and ask a buddy.

Then get on the water.

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