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May 1st, 2000

We All Win
By James Castwell

That's right, we all win. Once again the good old American 'Free-enterprise' system is hard at work. Sure, some things we're offered are made 'off-shore,' but for the most part, the value vs the dollar amount is in our favor. Today's my birthday, I'm sixty-five and kind of looking at fly-fishing from both directions. Where I have been and where I have yet to go. We've come a long way baby.

Competition, as usual, is generating higher value, more innovations and better quality. We win. And there are some changes in the fly-fishing world, some a bit subtle, others not. For instance, there are now several manufacturers of hooks. Those new to the sport may not notice this, but not many years ago there was basically one, Mustad. These new kids on the block these days had to try to improve on their hooks. Hard job, but they at least made them a tad different. Now guess what? Look for new and exciting things, at least to us fly-tiers, from Mustad in the VERY near future. I have been told FAOL will be used to launch the new items, stay tuned for that one.

Fly rods. Holy-cow, how many brands are there now? Who knows, but I am sure you can find exactly the type of rod you want and at a price that's appropriate for you. Years ago it was not that way. There was nowhere the number of manufacturers and the line of rods was limited. Most getting into the sport simply went to International Harvester, Sears and Roebuck or Montgomery Ward and bought a 'fly-rod.' Often they had no idea of what it was, it was a fly rod and that was that. So it took an HDH line, what the heck was that? The clerk had no idea.

Take fly lines, thanks to Scientific Anglers and Cortland we can fish all day without having to stop at noon, sting our line from tree to tree, dry it off, clean it, wax and burnish it and then hope it would float for the afternoon and evening fishing. Oh yes, those were the state of the art of the day. Silk. Woven silk. They looked like the outside of some of today's garden hoses, same pattern.

Others may have been more fortunate, the old buzzard who ran the local bait and hardware store may have found time to either tie flies or fly-fish, if you were lucky he had some experience in both. He was someone to cultivate. And all of us old-timers did just that. Often he was cantankerous and crusty, but we put up with him, What choice did we have anyway. Now the fly shops are in malls. Super malls even. The cost of equipment has gone up, but so has the selection, quality and information to go with it.

I wish I had a nickel for every fly line that was bought by guys over that past years that was the wrong size for the only rod they had. I could help out our national debt. I guess that would go for all of the eight weight rods (they were not numbered back then) that were purchased for pan sized trout.

So the next time you, and us for that mater, start squealing about the good old days and how cheap things were, remember just how far we have come.

Now if we can bring back the 'fraternity' and fellowship the sport had (and I think it is coming on fast from what we see here on FAOL) we will have it all. In fact, some of that 'fraternity' will be nurtured in Pennsylvania next week at the Fish-In. I plan on getting my share, hope you can join us. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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