For me, smoking a cigar while fishing is more of a tradition or even superstition than a habit. I think that’s what an addict would say….really, I could fish without a cigar, but then I’d have to find something else and I really like this “thing.” Don’t worry, I’m not smoking like a chimney from the time I step into my waders, I’ve got rules:
Rule 1.) Cigars are only (mostly) enjoyed while fishing
Rule 2.) Only smoke one per trip, two on my person for back up and in the case where one trip feels like two
Rule 3.) Said cigar must not be lit until catching the “Cigar Fish”
Rule 4.) Smoked cigars get escorted off the premises
See, real civilized. The definition of rule 3 is open to interpretation. Technically the “Cigar Fish” is the first one caught in an outing. Unfortunately, on good days, it may happen too early. In this case any subsequent fish after the first gives reasonable cause to partake. On really good days I may determine only fish of a certain size or quantity qualifies as a “Cigar Fish.” Now in the darkest of days I employ a sliding scale. For example; a fish hooked, but not caught, a fish seen, but not hooked, an undetermined tug on the line, landing a nice stick fish, or a tree caught in my backcast may all qualify. As a disclaimer smoking is bad for your health and, at times, counterproductive to fishing. I’m not sure of the number, but I know I have lost fish while tending to my stogie. Certainly the smoke gets on my fly from time to time, but does it have negative affect? I wrote Tom Rosenbauer at Orvis as part of his podcast, but didn’t receive a reply. None the less I have yet to lose or miss enough fish on account of a cigar to force me to stop. On the contrary, I’m proving out a theory implying a proper cigar may be an attractant. Now before you crucify me for scenting my flies, hear me out. I took a day off of work to fish on Friday and headed to my favorite stream. Ten minutes into fishing I hooked into a decent brown that subsequently got off. Undaunted, I moved down to the next hole, then another and another. A fishless hour went by before declaring the first fish hooked was indeed the “Cigar Fish.” I cut and lit a 5 Vegas 6x54 Torpedo and channeled positive thoughts. The picture below was taken with cigar in hand just prior to making my first post-stogie cast.
The moral of the story; smoking is bad except perhaps for occasionally after a “Cigar Fish.” Bird watch, whiskey from a tin cup, photography and or a cigar may not be your things, but find what is and you’ll have better days on the water.