Re: How important is looking the part?
I realize that I probably came across as a bit of an ass in my first post on this thread. I don't really care what anybody wears while fishing. Like a lot of the comments here, I like quality clothing/gear that will last and be comfortable...but I am self-conscious about looking like a...well, like a catalog model, I'll leave it at that. Let's just say I see a lot of fisherman that look "the part" i.e. duped by a good salesman at Orvis, that don't know their Wulff from a LaFontaine. And that's OK, we all had to go out there for the first time, right? I just really appreciate people that can go out and not give a damn about any of the "have to have's" and catch fish and have a great time. I guess part of it is that the first time I "walked out there" I had a crappy $100 rod reel combo (and didn't know the difference) and a pocket full of flies. But maybe that is partially jealously. I'd have a lot more stuff if I could afford it, and I wouldn't feel a damn bit guilty.
Case in point: last week I went to my favorite new river way out in the middle of nowhere with a friend of mine that grew up fishing it. He took me there the first time last year. He is a spin fisherman and fish killer, because that's how he grew up here. We walked 2 maybe 3 miles of river, crossing frequently and fishing all the good holes. I had on nylon quick-dry pants and wading boots. Steve worn a pair of old Levis and hiking boots, carrying his tackle box under his arm and the rainbow he killed (at the first hole) all day long. No water, no food, the one empty beer can (we each brought one) stuffed in his back pocket. I love it so much because I couldn't do that. OK, I could, but I'd be uncomfortable and thinking about it all day. Steve, doesn't even think twice. He could care less and enjoys the hell out of being there where his old man used to take him fishing.
So really I just envy those that eschew the commercial consumer side of our endeavor. I also really enjoy having good stuff that works well. It's just one of my many issues.