Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A New Rod? Why Now?

A bunch of readers have emailed me and asked why I haven't bought new rod in 20+ years.  It seems that some readers think that because I am passionate about all things fly fishing, and truthfully the outdoors as well, that I would be passionate about the equipment I use.  Those readers are correct, too.  I am passionate about my equipment, and that's why when I find a rod or reel that suits my style, and that feels right in my hand, I stick with it.  Not only is the rod I primarily use 20+ years old, the reel I prefer is at least that old and no longer made - a Streamline.  

Getting back to the rod question, there are three reasons I have not bought a new rod in years:
1.    Simply put, I like the couple of rods I have been using, and nothing has come along in the last 20+ years that suits my fishing sensibilities.  I primarily use a Winston IM6, 8ft 6in 3pc 5 wt, I purchased in 1981 - it is a medium action rod that allows me to cast with little physical and mental effort, which permits me to focus on my fishing.  I know the rod is going to do exactly what I ask without thought, and I can hit my target with my fly most every time........almost.  And when I hook a fish, I can feel everything the fish is doing.  This allows me to get it to hand or my net fairly quickly, and released with a minimum of stress.
2.    Over the years I have cast many of each year's latest and greatest rods, and from my perspective, none have broken through the invisible mental barrier that has been established by the rods I currently use.  I'm not a "have to have the latest" rod, reel or waders, etc., kind of guy.  Just about every rod manufacturer comes up with a new marketing ploy every year to sell more rods to mostly people who do not need a new rod, but who get sucked in by wordsmithing and the latest technical bullshit, or even a super-duper "new" finish.
3.   In my opinion, in the last 20 year or so, rod design has focused on reducing weight and casting further - witness that every person at the casting pond this weekend worked the rod they were "testing" for distance only.  No one I watched cast it the normal trout average fishing distance  - 25 to 35 feet.  No one I saw tried to roll cast, puddle cast, or mend line with the rod they were putting through the paces.   Sure, I like to see how far a rod will cast, but mostly I like to see how a rod will perform in my hand when doing the things I normally do when fishing.  Isn't that the point?  Placing your size #16 sulphur emerger on the water 20 inches above a rhythmically feeding rainbow trout from 35 feet away is a thrill I'll never tire of.  Especially, when the trout raises up and sips your fly in like it was a natural.

Poetry in Motion!      

That ends my ramble.   Your mileage may vary.           

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