Disclaimer: This is a Gear Review. After promising a blog free of gear reviews, I find myself posting my second in less than a month. But if writing is an art and art imitates life, and life is full of empty promises then why should not my writing be so inclined? One of the great things about fishing is that it so often yields unexpected and delightful surprises. It’s common knowledge to those of the angling ilk that life imitates fishing, and so it was that I stumbled upon this little gem quite incidentally when I stopped by the local Duvall Auto Parts store to pick up a replacement headlamp bulb for my Jeep. Having never before seen this item at a fly shop or in one of the many fly fishing catalogs that arrive in my mailbox throughout the year, one can imagine my surprise and delight to discover it at an automotive store of all places. With the Holiday Retail Season officially underway, I thought some of you might searching for that perfect stocking stuffer either for yourself or the discerning angler in your lives.
I’m a wee bit of a gear whore, and profess to having a weakness for fishing gadgets. But I also like a good deal. The invoice lists the item as “air fresh trout”, and for $4.63 I figured couldn’t go wrong. Brought to you buy the same manufacturer of the world-renowned line of “Little Tree” air fresheners, this one is simply called “Fish™”. That’s right – Fish air fresheners: An oxymoron if there ever was one. As much as I love catching, releasing and sometimes catching and eating fish, the smell is unmistakably…fishy. It doesn’t take an experienced angler to realize that fish are not known for having the most pleasant of odors in the world. In fact, the smell of fish is unpleasant enough to be used when describing house guests that linger past their welcome. Remind yourself of this fact as the relatives from out of town arrive at your house for Christmas this year.
Fish air fresheners, indeed! My first thought was that that the marketing guru behind this product had probably lost his or her job due to this glaring little oversight, but closer inspection of the packaging revealed that “Fish” is apparently not the actual scent, but rather the name given to this particular product line. The actual scent is listed as “Mountain Waterfall”, which conjures up visions of, well, waterfalls in the mountains. Now I always thought that water, which includes waterfalls, doesn’t really have a scent unless brackish or somehow horribly contaminated, neither of which would seem likely given that this a waterfall in mountains. Apparently I was mistaken because this mountain waterfall does have a detectable scent. To describe the aroma, close your eyes and imagine yourself in a beautiful alpine meadow: In the distance a bubbling brook cascades down the side of a mountain, the mist from which combines with the naturally sweet scent of wildflowers and wafts gently toward you on a light breeze. It’s nothing like that.
All kidding aside, I have smelled many air fresheners that are much worse than this. One has to admit that seldom does the air freshener smell worse than the odor that one is attempting to mask, but some air “fresheners” are a bit overbearing. Some are downright nauseating. My daughter has one such device hanging from the rear view mirror of her car that is supposed to resemble “Piña Colada”. It’s a sickeningly sweet smell that reminds me of, well, a piña colada. By comparison the little plastic trout from the waterfall in the mountains is really not unpleasant at all, nor is it so overpowering that you will need to drive around with the car window down for the first 2 weeks of ownership before it can be tolerated.
To save you all the trouble, I did a little research and it appears that this particular piece of fishing gear can be found online by using the keywords, “trout air freshener“. However, the search results are misleading as it is mistakenly listed as a “rainbow trout air freshener”, when clearly it is a brown trout air freshener. This sort of technical oversight might go unnoticed by the general public, but discriminating anglers on the quest for a rainbow trout air freshener would surely take note of the inaccuracy.
After three weeks of field testing, I have some solid data to report: The air freshener is not quite up to the task of competing with the combined odors of wet dog, soggy waders and second hand Mexican food that linger in my Jeep. It was determined that a second Air Fresh Trout would be needed to effectively wage battle, but when I went back to the auto parts store to pick up another one they were out of stock (apparently this is a hot item). I considered ordering one online where the price is cheaper, but shipping charges would negate any cost savings, and besides I like to support the local shop when I can. The clerk promised to call me when more inventory arrives, and when it does I’ll let you know if my car takes on the smell of a mountain waterfall, or continues to smell like a brown trout.
In conclusion, I highly recommend you have a few of these on hand for the Holidays, to give as gifts or to hang in your spare bedroom. Remember: Fishing has established limits – so should the duration of visits from out of town house guests: 2 days, tops.