In December 2020, my car was broken into on the street adjacent to my apartment complex. I had gotten complacent about car safety despite knowing the possibility of a break-in. As an avid outdoorsman, preparing my vehicle for outings and emergencies had become routine. Slowly, I amassed several things in the car, never thinking I should have an inventory log. Sunscreen, water, multitool, petty cash, a folding chair, a quart of motor oil, and some larger fishing and camping equipment I was too lazy to bring inside.

Unfortunately, my laziness saw me leaving my entire fly-fishing pack in the car. In an instant, I lost most of my fly-fishing gear and ten years of amassing my collection of flies. Monetarily, the damage was in the thousands, but most damaging to me was that I had no inventory log with acquired items from over 10+ years.

I have fished in various locations and conditions: from the mountains in California, rivers in Colorado, and alpine lakes to the open ocean of Cabo San Lucas, the surf in San Diego, and even the Atlantic Ocean around Puerto Rico. My fly section was as varied as the locations I fished. Bought from Alaska, California, Montana, and Cabo San Lucas; flies tied by close fishing friends and some from friends who had passed on. I had no inventory log of them and no idea of what I had lost. That was indeed the worst feeling.

In Hindsight

Of course, hindsight is 20/20. I was dumb to leave my priceless fly-fishing pack in my car with no inventory log recorded. Everything else that was stolen was unimportant; it was all stuff easily replaced by a few clicks on Amazon or a visit to an outdoor store.

After coming to terms with the situation – that I needed to replace my flies-I truly wished I had created an inventory. I was relying upon memory, and that is never accurate. It would have been beneficial to know where I bought each fly, who gifted it to me, what conditions/locations I fished it in, and how effective it was. How did I feel about that fly? Was it worth keeping in my box? Did I want to spend money replacing it or time tying it myself? None of these questions are quickly answered without an inventory log.

I have since repopulated my fly box and replaced all the flies I can remember. This is far from what I had, and I wonder if I can ever truly replace my original collection. This time, however, I have a log of my flies in their specific size and patterns. I hope I never have to refer to this list, but I have it for the future.

-Patrick Chung, Fulcrum Technologies

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