I am lucky enough to remember when fly fishing
was just that, fishing with a long skinny rod,
a fly rod, with flies. Oh sure, I worried about
many things back then as I do now. Which fly,
where the fish might be, how to get a fly in
front of him, how not to fall in, all of the
usual stuff I suppose. Some things I didn't
worry about though, which line to use, which
rod to use, which leader to use, what (if any)
tippet to use and which knots to use.
I only had one rod, one reel, one fly line
(level silk), one leader (that was any good
at all) and pretty much the same for tippet
material. Knots were few and simple. I did
not have any comparison of my fly rod to the
ones throughout the fly fishing world either.
Like was it too fast, too slow or too anything.
I did buy a steel fly rod once and eventually
its close cousin, the steel fly rod that was
square so it wouldn't twist. But, the only rod
I ever used with any seriousness was my cane
(cheap at that) fly rod. It never, never, never
occurred to me to handle, cast, treat, baby,
worship, fondle, (well, there was an Orvis
once, but that is another matter) or venerate
in any way my fly rods. They were just fly rods.
Just fly line casting rods. Rods to fish with.
Then came fiberglass and soon, graphite. Oh
my, how things changed. Good grief, guys now
actually buy rods because they like the color.
The finish. The brand. The image. The reputation.
The prestige. The store it came from. Back then
my fly shop was Montgomery Ward, Western Auto
and Sears and Roebuck. At least for a few years
As I said, I had no 'warm and fuzzy' feeling
for any of my cane fly rods (yes, I soon had
more than just one) (they broke you know!) When
they did I got new ones; big deal. I did not
fawn over them, I fished them. I cast them and
landed fish with them. But, now something has
And I think it is something inside me. I attach
nostalgia to cane rods. Nostalgia for times and
events that never even actually happened. Maybe
it's like watching the cowboy movies. Come on,
you know it was not like that back in 1860 but,
the cowboys didn't even look like that, but I
like to think they might have.
A bit like that with cane rods too. Not just the
old ones I get my hands on, you know the ones I
mean, the ones that sing a siren song of the
years that they lived for the recreation or
the years they spent propped in a closet, but
even brand new rods as well. I do fawn over
them. I smile at them, gently stroke them, peer
down the length for some reason. They make me
feel good to see, to handle, to think about.
They do give me a 'warm and fuzzy' feeling. I
do grant them prestige and veneration. Just to
have and hold; I confess, I like them best. They
make me feel good.
Graphite rods don't. ~ James Castwell