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By John Byron

It’s a thing. Gear Acquisition Syndrome. GAS.

The most you can use at any one time is one. One guitar. One fountain pen. One fly rod. But how many you have is N, where N is a much bigger number than one. 

That’s GAS.

The concept and phrasing, GAS, came from the world of music. Yes, how many guitars, pickups, mikes, etc. does a person need? And from photography, cameras, lenses, etc. 

But perhaps the largest cluster of GAS-plagued souls is in fly fishing: rods, reels, lines, boots, buffs, hoodies, packs and the list is endless. 

Does the rumor of a new line of fly rods from Scott or Loomis or Sage make your heart flutter? Has Amazon told you that you can’t return any more purchases for refund? Have you convinced your significant other that only a certain line on a certain reel will actually catch bonefish and you don’t have either but found a sale price online and your next trip will fail if you don’t buy them?

These are signs of GAS. But the surefire way to know if you’ve got it is to look in your garage or down in your basement:

  • Are your fly rods a small, neat collection of well-purposed tools? Or an inventory challenge? 
  • Did you recently look in a drawer, find a reel, and say ‘Gee, I forgot I had that’? 
  • Do you have to move a lot of fishing tackle aside to find fishing tackle?
  • Do you have more than twenty fly boxes? 300 flies? A dozen nippers and forceps? 
  • Fly tying: Bobbins? Bodkins? Scissors? Vices? 
  • Five pair of really expensive sunglasses?
  • Three GoPros?

If all this is a foreign topic to you, blessings on thee and walk away. For those of us who have GAS (I just bought two more fly rods), I’ve sad news: the only cure is a mean and vicious spouse who frightens you into ‘getting rid of that crap.’ Happened to a friend of mine, a guide, who was forced to sell sixty fly rods with reels. 

The rest of us, we’re stuck with it and shall forever suffer from the need for more and better tackle. We have GAS.

I’ve one friend who claims 50 fly rods and 20 guitars. No names here, but his initials are Louis Cahill. My case is not as advanced, though my friend suggests I need a new sponsor. 

Sponsor hell! I need two new reels for those fly rods. 

Carry on, you GAS-ridden wretches. 

More help here:

John Byron

John Byron lives in Cocoa Beach FL. He’s been fly fishing since he was ten. 

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16 thoughts on “GAS

  1. Well guys I can honestly say that I had 48 flyfishing outfits at one time. It’s all analytical. Never gave a second thought to having a spare spool rigged with different line. All saltwater outfits from 3wts to 16wts. But you know if you have 6-12 wt rods you NEED a floating line, a wet tip line, an intermediate line, and full sinking. The fish are eating and there’s no time to change reels! Reach over and grab a different outfit. Then there’s the area you’re fishing. Key west, Kona Coast, New Zealand, Oregon coast, Australia, Seychelles, Chandeleurs, Outer Banks, South Padre, PEI , Sea of Cortez all require different outfits. Marlin, bluefish, blackfish, Cobia, Tarpon, Specks, Reds, Blues, Dolphin, Spearfish, Sailfish, etc., etc., etc.
    Now, in my later years and no longer able to travel I’ve pared it down to 24 outfits. Some kept just for the memory.

  2. Pingback: Gear Acquisition Syndrome | MidCurrent

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  5. I have GAS and I am married to an enabler. What did she give me for Christmas? A gift certificate to my favorite fly shop. Now it wasn’t enough to buy a new reel or rod (as a mechanical engineer – I think of reels before rods – all that great mechanical design and fine machining) and it was more than I will spend on tippet, flies, etc on my next visit. I’ll probably add some money to it and get another fly line, rod or reel.
    How do you know you have GAS? When you have to have a spread sheet to remember all the lines that own. AS you can guess, I have an extreme case of GAS.

  6. Unfortunately those of us who no longer have a significant other have no antidote to GAS my case is so bad that every room in my house has been infected by the disease with rods and reels in every room and closets full of rod tubes and fly tying materials – there is no cure!

  7. I have really bad gas. All the time. I find it sometimes shifts, I may go through a phase where I sell a guitar to buy a new rod or reel. Or maybe I sell a rod to buy some motorcycle parts or tools.

  8. John, your tackle room appears to be a marvel of organization and neatness, so you are hereby entitled to keep acquiring stuff until your system breaks under the weight of the gear, or you go broke, whichever comes first!

    • Mark, it’s a lift off the web. My tackle room looks more like the inside of a submarine after rough seas on the surface.

  9. Did my wife ask you to get this posted on Midcurrent, where I would be sure to see it? Just one question…. is there a cure? P.S. Wanna buy some slightly used, well maintained fly gear?

  10. I vigorously deny having GAS. Just because I have 50-odd fly rods and a dozen Tenkara rods plus all the stuff that goes with them, just because I have three sets of waders and can’t remember which one leaks, just because I routinely forget that I own things — that’s not GAS.

    That’s just how I roll.

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