Nudism isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Why a bunch of people want to wander around buck naked is a bit of a mystery to most of us. Playing volleyball on the lawn on a sunny day may well be more pleasurable without the encumbrance of clothing but I suspect that may not be true of walking through nettles, climbing over electric fences or wading in icy rivers which, let’s face it, is the kind of thing we tend to get up to. You don’t need me to tell you that, as anglers, trying to get over a barbed wire fence could be difficult. And nobody wants to arrive at the riverside with their tackle scratched.

So it is tempting to think that naturists are all simply nutters who have collectively taken leave of their minds as well as their kit, and I have never heard of any convincing argument in favour of conducting our lives “au naturelle”, except for one. And here it is; when we remove our clothes we also remove the labels that define us and we can become, in a sense, equals. One person looks pretty much like another and, as you may have noticed, most nudists look like animated prunes.

I mention all this because fly fishermen really ought to be thinking of ways they can reduce to a minimum the number of things they need to cart around. Coarse fishermen win first prize in the amount of kit that is deemed necessary for a day by the water. Fly fishermen, by comparison, travel light. And, to me at least, it seems that the more accomplished they become the more they feel they can dispense with. First to go is the fully laden fishing vest which, in time, is replaced by a single box of flies and a couple of spools of tippet material. The net is gone too. Every item of equipment needs to argue a strong case in its favour to be included in a shirt pocket or two. If we can do without it why carry it around?

The only down side is that with less stuff it becomes harder to impress your friends with flash gizmos. Have you seen my new waterproof, digital camera? It has an inbuilt photoshop facility which allows you to effortlessly engineer images so that you can simply paste, onto a picture of your outstretched arms, the picture of a ten pound brown trout. You don’t even need to catch the damn thing! And I’ve had a robotic arm welded to my titanium fishing suit! This thing casts all day for me so my hands can be kept warm in my fur-lined hand warmers. They had to club a couple of seal pups to be able to make these but, boy, was it worth it! And of course it’s cleverly designed to allow me to slip my hand out to access to the inbuilt mini bar.

The funny thing is, I suspect, I may not actually need this stuff. Maybe the old nudists have a point after all. Maybe we should dispense with these things and make our lives less complicated. From now on, as far as I’m concerned, less is more, and nothing at all is the very best. I’m going to start going fishing naked. I won’t even carry a rod. My trout will all be caught by tickling as I lie on the stretches riverbank where the nettles are few and far between.

Naked Tout Fishing – published by Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Monthly (July 2010)