The Essence of Dirtbag

The Dirtbags
The Dirtbags

Dirtbag can be a very vague term, often used to describe someone you don’t like in front of your kids. Truth is I’m not the only one who thinks that I have a lil’ dirtbag in em’. To be honest I’m still trying to find my inner dirtbag, but out there in the universe are people who have truly not only discovered but embraced it.

Take for example one David Taylor. Without question this man is the essence of dirtbag. An entrepreneur who has made a successful business in home security after leading a life of crime for the better part of two decades. A man who has found the will power to say no to hard-core drugs but can’t shake his Camel Light habit. He has been shot, stabbed, and literally left for dead in a parking lot. This is a quote directly from the source,

During my 2 years of wandering aimlessly I hitched hiked from Austin, Texas to Wichita, Kansas twice. I met a lot of fellow dirtbags along the way. Mikey, the 6 foot 9, 300lb biker from the Poddle Dog Lounge in Austin was probably the most interesting. He thought I was the cats meow, but he had throat cancer and was missing part of his jaw bone and talked with a big low rasp of a voice and so I had to do all the talking to the ladies if you know what I mean. He was the meanest and biggest (mofo) I think I ever met, man we had some fun, everyone was terrified of him at the Poddle Dog Lounge.

This dirtbag has been fishing with me for almost 15 years and has yet to purchase his own waders, or a single fly for the box that he doesn’t own. He has made a point of just getting by and investing pennies into his hobby. Truly, if you were to run across this specimen on your local tailwater you would gawk and promptly make plans to move to Alaska.

Dirtbag Waders
Dirtbag Waders

Duct taped waders? No problem as long as he has garbage bags to put inside. You know, to increase the water resistance. Perhaps after years of being a footnote in society his pain threshold is higher than others. Last time I checked the trashbag method was never adopted because it just helped water stay inside of them. Then came the phone call. Dirtbag patriarch, i.e. David Taylor is coming to go on a fishing trip in October. Even booking his trip months in advance he never thinks to bring anything of his own. His upcoming trip, which rest assured will be a debacle, he called and asked,

“Nate, can I borrow a rod?”
Me: “David, you own a rod, WTF?”
David: “Yeah, but your stuff is nicer and so I would rather just use yours.”

Sure David, anything to help you out, if you can make it this far by being a general derelict why not continue it into perpetuity. I’m sure the guy has already bought his funeral package because he got a deal when he factored in the time value of money. I did the guy a favor because he wanted to know if he needed waders. Seriously? Have you not learned from previous mistakes? Keep in mind the second week of October in Colorado high country will be cold. Snow, sleet, ice, you name it. I just told him to wear jeans.

Ready To Go
Ready To Go

Don’t even get me started with other equipment. I know he probably hasn’t heard of anything other than a copper john and a pheasant tail, and even then would be amazed if you showed him one in anything other than their standard colors. So what did he say? “They’re just fish, in the evolutionary hierarchy they’re not even in my rearview.” At least he’s not using a Hills Bros. can of worms… I guess.

Do you hate the dirtbag? You can, but it isn’t going to help because no matter what, eventually you are going to look at them and realize that they’re having just as good of a time as you are. The question then becomes if you don’t take everything so seriously and still have a good time then why don’t you? Why do I need 2,000 flies, $70 fly line, and a rod “made in the USA” with my name on the blank? The answer is, of course, you don’t need any of those things to catch fish. You just need the motivation and something to hold your line while you throw it with some sort of stick looking device. Do fish really care what hue of red your midge pattern is? Or how the biot tails look on your copper john? Probably not, Gary LaFontaine showed us that with his time proven patterns that for the most part look like garbage (see his real vision of the sparkle pupae). Bottom line is that even us dirtbags can catch fish. Odds are, because dirtbags tend to be survival artists in the darwinian jungle of life they might just be pretty good at it.


  1. Gregg Martin

    I am still a devoted fan of Gary! I have a Lafontaine Sparkle Pupa obtained by purchasing books from The Book Mailer. The head disintegrated in the envelope, I could have died. But it’s mine. His pattern revolutionized my trouting. I rarely target trout these days but got on a binge to created better SP than those I tied years ago. They are much nicer, sparse, everything perfectly in place, but Gary would have said my old ones were just fine. Didn’t know him, but miss him.


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