A while back, the OBN issued a Writing Prompt asking for stories from the Outdoors that revolved around "Damaged Goods". While I try to limit the amount of actual damage I do to my gear, it does happen every once in a while. My most memorable one wasn't because of anything spectacular , but rather the resourcefulness in not letting the misfortune ruin the day.
Back in the late-90's, I was in northern PA for a couple of days of fly fishing with my small stream buddy, Dave Messics. Dave is the one guy I fish with who can go with me for wild brookies, and we fish together perfectly on tiny streams, leapfrogging each other the whole way up a drainage. Those of you who fish these tiny streams know how rare it is to find someone like that.
This particular day, we were fishing the Right Branch of Young Woman's Creek in Clinton County. We took his truck, parked at the point we wanted to take out, and walked the dirt road back downstream for a solid 2-3 miles. We would spend the afternoon working the water back upstream to the truck. I had my favorite small -medium stream trout rod along - a Winston 8', 4 wt. TMF (Tom Morgan Favorite). We trudged through the woods to get to ur starting point and rigged up. I gave Dave the first run and started going upstream. When I got to the spot I wanted to fish, I needed to step down of a small rise to get to the stream. I stepped onto what I thought was the ground. It was not. I went into a dry wash filled with leaves and fell forward onto my face. Even then, I held the rod out to avoid smacking it on something (I heal - the rod doesn't) Well thought out strategy, but poor implementation. The rod broke in 2, about 6" above the cork grip.
Now what do I do? I have 2+ miles of beautiful water in front of me that I have to walk past to get the car. My day was shot. Or was it?? I still had a little over 7' of fly rod at my disposal. I put the reel and broken seat / grip in my pocket, and proceeded to fish the rest of the day. I would strip the necessary length of line off of the reel in my pocket. I couldn't shoot much line, but found that I could do pretty well with a fixed length of line. (In retrospect, this may have been my own personal introduction to Tenkara fishing!) And - I caught trout! Wild brookies. Probably not as many as I would have with a functioning fly rod, but I caught fish nonetheless. And I 'll never forget these fish due to the extenuating circumstances. It ended up being a pretty cool day on the water.
Btw - the rod got repaired by Winston and is still my favorite fly rod