May 6, 2010 at 8:29 a.m.
I believe hats are essentially utilitarian, and there is a particular hat for every season and every reason. Of course, with four seasons and countless outdoor activities to choose from during each of those seasons, you begin to get the picture... a guy like me can wind up with a lot of hats.
There is, however, one hat I cherish above all others, and that is my trusty Filson Tin Cloth Packer Hat. What brings me to write about this hat is the fact that I recently discovered I must sell it. The reason for (and terms of) the sale can be found below, in an excerpt from the actual ad that is currently listed on Ebay.
Up for sale is my beloved Filson Tin Cloth Packer Hat. It's about fifteen years old and, as you can plainly see by the photos, perfectly broken in and seasoned to perfection. I'd estimate that there's a good 40 years of life left in it. You could buy a new Filson hat for about $50, but it'd take you at least a decade to get your new hat looking as cool as my hat. And isn't looking good what it's all about?
So why am I'm selling it? Well, I grabbed the Filson the other day to go fish a heavy caddis hatch on the famed Kinnickinnic River when I discovered that the hat no longer fits my head. I did recently suffer from a bout of high altitude cerebral edema caused from skiing too high in the Colorado Rockies. Did my swollen brain make my head bigger? Is that possible? I don't know, I'm not a doctor. All I know is my favorite hat won't fit my bean and it upsets me to no end.
You should know that the fishing mojo while wearing this hat is excellent, and its provenance is beyond reproach. Over the years, this hat and I have spent some serious quality time on the water. We've fished some good hatches together, and this old hat has seen innumerable trout brought to hand, from brookies in northern Wisconsin and Maine, to Colorado cutthroat and Ozark rainbows and browns.
In addition, this hat has been a trusted companion on wild steelhead and salmon rivers on Lake Superior tributaries, from the Devils Track River, north of Grand Marais, to the Brule River along the south shore.
So just how groovy is this hat? This is the sort of hat you'd dip in a cool stream and allow your steed to drink from it, all the while stroking his mane and saying soothing, cowboy-like stuff, such as, "Thar ya go, ol' boy. Drink up now, y'hear? The trail's long 'n' water's scarce in these here parts." Can you see it? Well I sure can. (I look good, too.) Although, with the eight brass grommets on the sides of the hat for ventilation, the horse would have to drink quickly before all the water drained out onto the ground and your cowboy boots
The hat really must go to a deserving person. If you're a fly angler, you might be the right person to wear this hat. But that alone might not be enough. Folks will expect that you know your stuff, like the proper Latin names for most of the major aquatic invertebrates. You won't be able to B.S. your way through a good Ephemerella subvaria hatch wearing the Filson. Telling a fellow angler, "Well, them little bugs were, oh, yeah high and so long," using your thumb and forefinger as a gauge, simply won't cut it.
Or, if you're a spin fisherman with a penchant for throwing big silver and gold spinners loaded with treble hooks at trout, don't even entertain the thought of bidding on this hat.
I also have the sneaking suspicion some of you are nightcrawler and bobber anglers. Maybe one of those ball caps with the curly straws that hold beer cans might be more your style. No Filson for you!
So, do you have what it takes to wear the Filson? Squeamish about plopping a used, 15-year-old hat on your head? If you were like me, you wouldn't give it a second thought. Heck, if you were like me, you'd wear the hat after your horse drank from it - slobber and all. We're that kind of men. Real men. Fly fishers. Trout chasers. Filson men. Somebody cue up the studly cowboy music, pan out and...cut. That's a wrap.
If you have comments for Dan or story ideas contact him at e-mail [email protected].