One of the best ways to enjoy a fishing trip is to start off with confidence, knowing you’ve not forgotten something important. On the eve of my departure for Yellowstone, I can’t help but obsess about this. One would think that after years of fishing, and specifically of going on this trip, that I’d have it all down to a confident science–a system, as it were. A checklist would seem a sound practice, but I’m not a list kind of guy. Lists make me nervous, and stubborn. Mostly because the typical lists I deal with are “To-Do” lists presented to me by others (I am not singling out Mrs. UA). When I see those kinds of lists, I often put up a wall of self defense and block them out; a tactic developed over many years of living under the same roof with women who are/were list makers. My mom was a list maker. If there was any perceived free time, check the list to find out otherwise. So, no–I don’t do lists very well. Nor do I lay things all out in an organized fashion so I can take careful, visual inventory. I mean, who does that, really? If you do, I’m sorry for insulting you. I’m just jealous of your patience and organization.

This person probably keeps a clean office, too.

And so I go through a fairly random mental checklist: flies, reels, tippet, strike indicators…check. Last I checked that was all in my gear bag so it should still be there, right? Rods, check. They’re large and awkward so hard to forget (stop laughing, Joe). Sunglasses- good catch, check. Suncreen?  Won’t need it, but, check. Flask, check (never forget that). Waders, boots, insulating layers, check. Long johns, warm socks, earplugs (in case I get stuck with the Goosemeister as a roommate). Check. Lucky fishing hat, check! Clean skivvies, extra t-shirts, check. Phone charger, check. What am I missing…?

The next thing I have to ponder is sleep.  Jimmy is meeting me at my house at 3:30 AM so we can be to Marck’s house at 4 AM where we will all pile into the “plush mini van” belonging to the new guy (I don’t have a name for him yet). I’m a night owl by nature, usually not retiring until well after midnight. If I go to bed at a decent hour, like 11 PM, I will lie awake until at least 1 o’clock, tossing and turning and sighing loudly out of frustration. That will not earn me any favors with Mrs. UA, and even if I do fall asleep two hours’ shuteye hardly seems worth it.  Maybe I’ll just stay up and obsess over what I’m forgetting. I’ll think of it, hopefully. Besides, there’s quality programming on during the wee hours.

The good thing is that if I do forget something important, there are 157 fly shops within spitting distance of each other in West Yellowstone. The bad news is that if I forget something important, an otherwise cheap trip just got more expensive.

Wallet, check.

Any bets on what I’ll forget?