More on Fleece

More on Fleece

More on Fleece Thanks to Buzz Bryson ["Ask FR&R," Jan/Feb '08] for explaining why fleece is so valuable in increasing enjoyment in our outdoor experiences.

More on Fleece
Thanks to Buzz Bryson ["Ask FR&R," Jan/Feb '08] for explaining why fleece is so valuable in increasing enjoyment in our outdoor experiences. He triggered some further thoughts on this topic. There is a larger environmental concern here about use of plastics in our sport, in general. The petroleum product PET is the polymer precursor for fleece, polyester fishing shirts, plastic milk jugs and soda bottles. Recycled soda bottles can be used to make fleece (25 one-liter bottles equal one fleece jacket). Landfilled fleece and other polyester/plastics are extremely resilient, and take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Recycling plastics closes a waste stream and contributes to a more sustainable world, where we reuse everything that we produce.

There is a growing market for recycled plastics in most communities (carpeting, plastic lumber, new clothing). Patagonia's Common Threads Garment Recycling Program initiated the movement by retailers to accept old fleece and other types of textiles for recycling. So, when our plastic clothing is worn out, think about recycling, not dumping.

Now about tippet snippets: If the tippet is exposed to sun it will eventually photodegrade. Once the tippet disappears under water and in the mud, it's there virtually forever, or picked up by bottom foraging critters with who knows what repercussions. So, we should be collecting those pieces and disposing of them properly-better a landfill than the bottom of a stream.

It would sure be great to have an article in FR&R about how to recycle old fishing lines to help educate us all on how to be more environmentally responsible in the practice of our sport.
Marge Vorndam
Rye, Colorado


Regarding fleece, your time machine didn't quite go back to the actual origin of fleece, so we thought you might get a kick out of the genesis story:

As a company focused on multifunctional technical clothing, Patagonia has always been concerned about how to dress in the mountains, where unpredictable weather can often be life threatening. And in the mid-'70s, at a time when the entire mountain community relied on traditional moisture-absorbing layers of cotton, wool and down, we looked elsewhere for inspiration-and protection. We decided that a staple of North Atlantic fishermen, the pile sweater, would make for an ideal mountain sweater because it insulated well without absorbing moisture.

And this is where it gets interesting. We needed to find some fabric to test out our idea, and that wasn't easy. Finally, in 1976 Malinda Chouinard, our company co-founder, acting on a hunch, drove to the California Merchandise Mart in Los Angeles. She found what she was looking for at Malden Mills, freshly emerged from bankruptcy after the collapse of the fake fur coat market and selling off its stock of fabrics. We sewed a few sweaters together and field-tested them in alpine conditions. The polyester fabric was astonishingly warm, insulated when wet and dried in minutes. And so our first pile garments, years before Polarfleece, were made from fabric intended for toilet seat covers.

We couldn't muster an order large enough to have the fabric customized, so we had to use Malden's existing stock, which came in ugly tan and equally hideous powder blue. When we exhibited the jacket at a trade show in Chicago, one buyer fingering the fabric asked Tex Bossier, our salesman, what animal it came from. He deadpanned the answer, "Why, it's made of rare Siberian blue poodle fur, ma'am." Ugly as they were, those first pile jackets soon became an outdoor staple.
Rob BonDurant
VP Marketing, Communications, Merchandising Patagonia
Ventura, California


Response to Property Rights
I really enjoy your magazine and feel that it is the finest in the fly-fishing field. I was nevertheless disturbed by the article critical of property-right advocates [Jan/Feb '08]. Certainly property rights are not absolute. Most of us live under strict zoning laws. I live in a beautiful home and neighborhood and would oppose anyone who would degrade it.

In terms of fly-fishing some of my best experiences have been on private ranches. I have found the prices far more reasonable than hiring guides on public waters. Considering the quality and value, this is the fishing I will pursue in the future.

A far greater threat to our country are not property-rights advocates but environmental extremists who disregard human social, economic and recreational needs in pursuit of their absurd objectives.
Dean L. Silbiger
Torrance, California


Skipping for the moment Ted Williams' introduction of property-rights organizations that are driven by "property-rights zealots," I'll first cut to the main body of his narrative. In summary: great work, diligent research, and obviously in urgent need of documentation and good reporting, as he has done.

However, I'm troubled by Mr. Williams' need to classify organizations-and by inference-all within them as universally and eternally enemies of conservation. "They" (all property-rights zealots) were tagged with a multitude of sins, including betraying their own (Republican) party patron saint, Teddy Roosevelt. Point one: Could anyone know for certain the party allegiance or philosophy of people within a group, and if you could know, is it possible that some of these would be in transition or stand with one foot here and the other there? Recall that even Roosevelt made a sea-change from an extreme safari-style big game slaughterer to a renowned conservationist. Point two: In the pursuit of persuasion, political labeling and group condemnation serves no purpose except to needlessly alienate.
J. David Erickson
Buhl, Idaho

Ted Williams responds:
While I appreciate Mr. Erickson's kind words, I am befuddled by his defense of the "property-rights zealots" I wrote about, particularly when I was careful to differentiate this odious, ultra-conservative group from "people who genuinely want to defend their property and the real rights guaranteed them by the Fifth Amendment."

Fighting the Good Fight
I thought Ted Leeson's article "Fighting the Good Fight" (Nov/Dec '07) was excellent, and believe it should be required reading for all anglers, particularly beginning anglers. I wish I had known the basic information on landing fish much earlier in my fishing life. Ted boiled down years of trial and error into simple, easy-to-read steps that are so important in landing fish.
Bob Eck
Southport, Connecticut


A job well done by Ted Leeson for his article on fighting fish. It is great to get the fly into the feeding lane. It is another thing to set the hook and then fight the good fight. Ted does well on the fighting and netting information. I will look forward to more of Ted's articles.
Allen R. Crise
Glen Rose, Texas


We're Snobs
I picked up a copy of FR&R the other day. It had a good paragraph about how to tie a nail-less nail knot, and a couple good paragraphs about fighting "big fish." A.K. Best wrote a tiny piece about how to tie a super-simple Matuka style streamer. I came to the interview with the chef from NYC who had to buy a riverfront house in the Catskills because he considered it "part of the equipment acquisition." What? He's such a good sportsman that he breaks fly rods from frustration. Thankfully he never, EVER, keeps a trout to eat. A quick Internet check of his restaurant's menu reveals that he cooks sturgeon, salmon, tuna and cod, but thankfully no trout.

Someone got an award for rewriting Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River." Half the piece was directly quoted and the revelations were that spaghetti with beans and ketchup really doesn't taste good, and a couple of wool blankets don't do much to keep you warm in the UP.

Oh, and then, the Big News: George W. Bush is intentionally exterminating the grayling in Montana! I knew it was his fault. This just confirms it. (I'm pretty sure he also is to blame for the absence of woolly mammoths and dire wolves. There's some fairly convincing research.)

FR&R's subtitle is "The Excitement of Fly-Fishing." I think it should be "the rich liberal's idea of what fly-fishing should be." The biggest disappointment for me is that the pages are too shiny to use as toilet paper.

You know, I love to fly-fish. I've been lucky enough to do limited fly-fishing from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Nevada, Japan to Europe. Reading this stuff makes me lose interest in going out West for trout, and helps me understand why the "average Joe" seems to think fly fishermen are a bunch of elitist snobs.
Joel Szymczyk
Dothan, Alabama