The Rod. Bet you can’t buy just one. My original rod was a metal telescoping fly rod my Uncle gave me in the late 50’s. I never really used that, but by the early 60’s I had a Sears & Roebuck setup…a Ted Williams model rod and reel. A fiberglass rod, it had a sliding sleeve on the cork handle that allowed it to be a fly rod or a spinning rod. I still have it. The set up lasted me for many years. It was a magic wand, a devining rod more often than not.
“Some Sorcerers do boast they have a Rod, Gather’d with Vowes and Sacrifice, And (borne about) will strangely nod To hidden Treasure where it lies; Mankind is (sure) that Rod divine, For to the Wealthiest (ever) they incline.” Sam Sheppard
In my early twenties I ventured away to drift gear (level winds and spinning rods) and spent a majority of the time fishing the terminal gear. But, then providence struck in Sisters, Oregon. I walked into the Fly Fisher’s Place on the first day it opened. Harry and Dee Teel greeted my family, dirty and disheveled after a long camping trip. I looked about the shop and noticed the beautiful fly rods and reels. Most were way out of my price range and I said as much. I was use to inexpensive Lamiglas and Eagle Claw rods.
Harry took me aside and showed me a rod and reel that was tucked away. A loss leader of sorts, a rod that was a prototype from Japan. His kindness and easy style paved the way for me to buy the setup (rod, reel and line plus some leader materials, flies and a box) for $300.00 I used that set up for 13 years. It (I) caught a ton of fish on that prototype, 5 wt. rod. All was good and the beat rolled on.
Then one day I stopped by a fly shop and they were having a casting clinic and just coincidentally they had some Sage and St. Croix rods strung up. I played around with an Sage XP and a St. Croix Ultra Legend. Things changed that day. I still am not really certain it was for the best. The faster Sage and St. Croix rods were amazing to cast. My slower action prototype rod seemed flabby and tired.
I sprung for both because of a rare windfall. The old, oddly blue colored, prototype rod became a backup to the newly purchased Sage XP 5 wt. and the St. Croix Ultra 3 wt. Both have caught a bunch of fish too. But, I have a sentimental attachment to the slower prototype rod.
Along the way three sons decided to try fly fishing. Orvis, TFO’s, St. Croix, Fetha Styx, Loomis, Echo and Sage rods came into the family rod vault. All have caught fish, all are acceptable rods and some for the price are an excellent value. More costly is not necessarily better. The industry has done better to provide rods at a much cheaper price that the ordinary fly fisher can afford.
That old, prototype rod does deserve to come out of the rod tube for a tour now and then. I’m not a rod snob, but I do have one thing about poles and rods. It is probably the one underlying hitch in my giddy up that perhaps reveals: the rods and poles thing.
Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Challenge Topic: Line