Synthetic skivvies, for when you miss the takeout
If not for Jimmy being asleep at the oars (likely daydreaming of cotton clothing alternatives), I’d never have known there was such a thing as skivvies made from anything but good, old-fashioned cotton.
It went something like this:
Me, Jimmy and my much older brother, Hal, floated a section of the Yakima River that I had floated the week before with the Brothers Albacore. On that previous outing, on a beautiful day, we caught no trouts. In fact, not a single bump was had by any of us, unless you count Junior Albacore’s whitefish. Nothing wrong with that, particularly on a day when nothing else was happening, but a whitefish always seems like salt in the wound. Especially when it’s ass-hooked. For whatever reason, anglers seem to get their undies in a knot when they catch whitefish.
A week later and here I was on the same stretch of river, and things, which included beautiful weather, were shaping up to be pretty much the same as they had been the week before, save for the lack of a whitefish, ass-hooked or otherwise. Suddenly things turned on as Jimmy landed two smallish rainbows in the 10 inch range, followed by Hal’s 5 year fish (defined by my experience on the Yakima as a fish you can only expect to catch every 5 years). It was a solid, thick, 14 inch fish that, by the end of the day, was closer to 16 inches. A great fish that put up a very good fight. Being that we were in my boat and I was on the oars when all three fish were caught, I’ll take credit for that.
Then Hal and Jimmy took turns on the oars and things got quiet again, and remained so until the end of the day.
But the excitement wasn’t quite over just yet.
As we approached the Thorp takeout, I was fishing out of the front seat while Jimmy was on the sticks. I noted that the approaching bridge marked the location of our termination point. Right under the bridge. By the time we approached, it was clear that Jimmy wasn’t going to get us there, and we drifted quickly past. Fortunately the river is neither terribly deep nor fast here, but by the time the anchor was deployed we were 50 feet downstream of our intended goal. We hopped out of the boat into knee deep water and began to push and pull the boat upstream. The water was cold, and seemed to grow colder as it neared—and then passed— the inseam of my nylon convertible pants. Shrinkage ensued as we continued to trudge through hip deep water, not unlike Lewis and Clark as they pulled their keelboat up the Missouri, toward the ramp. When we reached our destination I acknowledged the sogginess of my cotton skivvies and mentioned that I was going to be going commando for the drive home. That opened up a conversation about synthetic underwear, the likes of which I had no idea existed. Jimmy, as it turns out, is a quite the afficionado of fast-drying, moisture wicking synthetic fabrics. And apparently one can purchase underwear constructed of these space-age materials!—who knew?! About that time Hal chimed in and between the two of them the discussion about high tech clothing reached feverish levels. As they jubilantly touted the merits of lightweight smartwool shirts I glanced down at my wet cotton t-shirt and slogged off toward the truck and trailer parked a short ways away.
Back at the truck I wrung out the bottom of my t-shirt and stripped down to my birthday suit, peeled off my waterlogged, cotton, tighty whities, and slipped back into my cold, wet, nylon trousers. By the time we had the boat loaded onto the trailer, gear stowed and were ready to hit the road, my pants were dry. The bottom of my cotton t-shirt, while no longer dripping, was still wet, and would remain damp when we got home a few hours later. My cotton skivvies were tossed into the back of the truck. They would be dry by the next morning, at which point I could put them back on and get another day out of them. Logically at that point I would turn them inside out so they could server another 24 hour period.
And so there you have it—tighty whities aren’t just made from cotton anymore. I suppose if Jimmy hadn’t overshot the takeout I wouldn’t have ever pondered the need for such a thing as synthetic skivvies. And while I don’t plan to go out and replace all my cotton, I can see they have a place in a world of wet wading.
It should be noted that Jimmy’s wife bought me my last 6 pack of cotton underpants. Maybe she’ll buy me the quick-drying variety next time.
Either that, or Jimmy is never rowing my boat again.