Posts Tagged ‘rod


nature’s ever changing canvas…



Wet Rocks & Precision

During the downpours on an Oregon coastal stream, I had occasions to set my rod down and re-rig. When I would look down at the Hatch reel, I would note the contrast of a beautifully machined implement, the brilliance of the fly line and backing against the wet greens, browns, and grays. To my mind, it was rich looking in textures and colors.

The rod, a 10 wt. Winston Boron rod, once belonged to John Hagan…a dear friend and avid fly fisher, shop owner, who passed on not long ago. I was honored to receive the rod from his son, Jack Hagan and this past weekend the rod (and reel) performed flawlessly against big fish, even if I didn’t always match up to the moments. Power vs. power, a beautiful thing to feel and behold.

rod-reel-Hatch Reel-fly fishing-photography-Oregon-SwittersB


rod-reel-Hatch Reel-Hagan rod-fly fishing-SwittersB-Oregon


Fishing: Cork Handles and Hooks

corkHere you see the rod’s cork handle…and  to the far left a small metal loop under the rod…a hook keeper. Yet the fly’s hook has been set into the cork of the handle.

When I was a kid there weren’t any hook keepers on ‘poles’. The hook went into the cork. And, apparently for many it still does. If the barbed hook is backed out of the cork, it does little damaged. If it is pulled out in any other way it does pull out a chunk of the cork handle. Some would call this adding character to the rod. 

Given the price of some fly rods and drift rods these days, I think the hook keeper or some other means of hooking the fly/hook to the rod (reel, guide’s footings) should be used. The cork handle on the rod above is 20+ years old and the hook holder was quite an innovative addition when I bought this rod from Harry Teel.



Photography: That Subtle Prelude to Fall

Yesterday, I was wandering about, with no purposeful intent. Not enough time to go up on the Sandy R. for Steelhead, too early for Silvers, I opted to take a short stroll down a path next to the South Shore Slough (Columbia R. watershed). Camera in hand, I took my time shuffling along looking.

A few rabbits scurried deeper into the brush. Birds chirped away. I was hoping to see a carp in the waters of the slough, but this was late Summer and the water was choked with a mat of weeds and algae save where canoes ply the water.

From this vantage point, and or when walking down to the water’s edge, I can often see carp cruising, holding, sipping. That is early Spring or in the Winter after the cold has done its work on the mat of muck. The East wind will tear through here soon enough and scour out the water’s surface. Visibility will return, and fishing would be possible.

That slightly changed angle of the sun, hints at seasonal change. Something is different. So subtle. The day is warm, but it looks Fallish. I am alone. Not another person through here. Signs of drinking, smoking, camping. All in all, not much garbage. Ducks work the mucky mat on the surface for bugs. I hear cars in the distance, but I feel alone.

Shooting into the late afternoon sun, the reed’s shadows are dark against the silvery mat of algae.

The vegetation is green on various shades of green and brown. Little contrasts with this save a few wildflowers scattered far and wide.

A rare splash of contrast, this wild little Sweet Pea. Grasping for sunlight, a few blooms made their way up and out of a patch of thistles.

I sat near the opening of this large pipe. Little water was flowing through it. The wind was steady and with a gust of wind, the water’s surface would rustle and send a shimmer across the top of the pipe’s ceiling…ever so subtle but I saw it. To sit and wait for the shimmer across the pipe’s ceiling was a good sign that I was in a quiet place and centered.

I walked back toward my rig. My pace was still slow, my awareness fresher and a few shots captured that I was pleased with. I am not fully prepared when out…this was a spontaneous stop, borne out of escaping. So, there is no tripod at hand or any assortment of lens to capture all that was around me. Yet, it was a good time wandering up a trail, near water with no rod in hand. 

Standing on a bridge, I saw this Blue Heron still as could be. I called out with some concocted call thinking maybe the neck and legs would extend. The bird sat motionless, a sentinel or a predator. I predator I think.


Every Day in May Challenge: The Rod, The Wand, Devining

Every Day in May Outdoor Blogger’s Writing Challenge: Rod

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


Fishing With Rod (British Columbia Flyfishing Resource) (It isn’t only flyfishing, but definitely provides good info re BC and beyond destinations. Rod appears to be an emerging, creative force in his own right. Check out his Cutthroat efforts in SE B.C.)


Rods & Poles (An annoying hitch in my composure)

I go through life balancing work, family and pursuits that make me feel good. Of course, flyfishing is one of my primary pursuits of pleasure. I realize that in much of life I am an average student. I do well in a few things but in general I find myself grasping at minutiae to advance my knowledge, but often letting it drift away as too difficult to absorb and questioning why, really. So, I am pretty mellow with regards to flyfishing’s complexities. I try to share (hence this blog) and I try not to let ego or a sense of superiority get in the way. I do not want to be viewed as elitist nor think I am elite. I was raised in a blue collar/farming environment and that is really my core. So, I rarely judge flyfishers. But, I have several biases, that try as I might, I cannot shake. When I confront them, I suddenly have this little pang of guilt. I mark that up to our over sensitized culture of PC and a watered down version of the golden rule and ‘judge not lest…’, etc. So, with those constraints of good manners in mind…why the hell does any fisher, particularly a flyfisher call his rod a pole? All manner of engrained biases emerge here: Opie and Andy Griffith, worms and a big red and white bobber, folding chairs and Power Bait, jigging 15 ozs. of lead and a fish head for halibut in three foot swells, muddin’ and chew.

It is a rod. I don’t know why really. I just know it makes me feel better and more elite to not call the damn thing a pole. I paid enough for it and others, and they shall damn well be called rods. Ha! there I said it.

One other pet peeve: guys that travel the world fishing at $1K to $2K per day and act so demanding and arrogant and can’t fish worth a shit. I would call their rod a pole to annoy them, but they wouldn’t get it anyway. Ok, done ranting. Geeez, now I feel that little pang of guilt. Where’s that NASCAR hat with the flames on the bill?

No, I will just relegate poles to dancers. That works better, I do believe.

Sketch: “Jason’s Nude Pole Dancer”

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