Junk Becomes Treasure: The Roving Gear Library

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There are typically two sides to a story, but in our case, there are three.

We are The Roving Dears, three fly fishing ladies with a heart for community, conservation and tasty beer who met around a firepit in Portland, Oregon. Sometimes universal magic strikes and amid the crackling of embers, you meet your best friends, your fates aligning with a shared passion for good times and desire to learn fly fishing.

One of our friends had donated some worn out waders and a pair of boots four sizes too large. This wasn’t glamorous gear, but it got us out on the water. We dove in, the three of us sharing one rod, a handful of flies and a few lessons group member Laura remembered from her childhood. Our first realization? Fly fishing is hard and learning it is a humbling process.

To document these realities, we began sharing our stories, hoping to encourage newcomers to embrace their trials and errors while taking joy in the process of noticing the delicate details: riffles, runs, pools, the shape and temperature of water, insect hatches tempting the fish’s appetite. Observing these details, the vulnerabilities of the entire system become exposed and you learn it’s not all about the technique or number of fish you catch. The intricacies of fly fishing have led us to live with new insights and become advocates and stewards of this world we share.

The opportunity for our new outlook occurred because someone loved fly fishing and wanted to share it with us. Those XL waders and giant boots changed our lives, and so we’re bringing that full circle with the Roving Gear Library. Anyone can borrow free gear based on the honor system for as long as they need, which is distributed from available inventory listed on our website, therovingdears.com, at our home bases in Olympia, Portland and Boise. It’s that simple.

We’re asking everyone to donate their old, unused gear to give more people access to fly fishing and exposure to the influence of nature. Help us recycle used gear while encouraging inclusivity, environmental stewardship and engagement.

We realize fly fishing isn’t everyone’s jam, but here are a few unsolicited words of advice when seeking ways to sustain your values: start small, work with what you’ve got, act with hope, and believe good things will grow—because they will.

Tightlines, friends, and go rove!

Images by Rebecca Spencer & Kd Eaton.

xx The Roving Dears

This article was originally published in RANGE Magazine Issue Nine.