August 7th, 2006

Which Rods to Take
By James Castwell

Usually I write these column's a couple of days ahead so I can try to be on top of some issue that may come up. This one I am writing over a week ahead because of what is going on right now. Packing. We are packing for the two week trip into Canada and Michigan. My wife suggested I try to explain why I am taking the things for us that I am. Trust me, it is not like some years back when all I had to do was grab 'my fly rod' and out the door I went. The years have been kind to us; I have way too many rods, reels, lines and as the comedian George Carlin called it, "Stuff!" Boy do we have stuff. So much that I had to ship two big boxes of it to Michigan ahead of our arrival. Now, that's getting bad. After all, we get two bags each for luggage and one 'carry on,' seems like we should to be able to make that do. Well I didn't.

For instance, take my rods; please. (That's a joke, son) At last count I think there are twelve. I had to cut it down. I (we) need the two eights weights for Atlantic Salmon, a couple of five weights for some husky brookies in Quebec, two three weights for the savage browns of the 'Holy Water' of the Au Sable and possible smaller trouts. Then there is a pet nine foot, six weight rod we have had for years, we just 'never leave home without it.'

I also included a very special English made eight weight and a custom made one too, call it back-up or just that I wanted to fish them a bit, whatever. There are a couple of rods that we will give away for certain events and a couple of extras, not including the 'Broom;' just have to lug that thing along. The one thing I settled on in selecting the rods was this. They must be able to fit into our luggage. That meant, four or five piece for inside of the bag and I put six of the three piece ones into a rod tube that fastens to the top of my fly-fishing bag.

Now if the folks at the airport just don't bust any of them looking for bombs I will have it made. I always use some bright pink straps that go around all of our bags too. Helps to spot them in airport baggage terminals and may keep one closed if a zipper pops or something else happens. My main problem was how to keep it down to a number of rods I could carry on and in the plane and not have to ship any ahead.

I decided not to bring the Ron Kusse cane rod as it was the only one that was two piece and I would have had to carry it on as a 'carry-on' and I needed that for another bag instead. If the 'new' rod had arrived, the five weight quad, I would have brought both of them though. So as you can see, it was packability that was the deciding factor on which rods I packed. Especially since we'd have to go through Customs twice.

Fly vests? We are bringing both, the Stormy Seas' floatation vests and those garish old Orvis Tackle Packs from thirty-five years ago with all the patches on them. Lots of pockets, but, looking pretty ratty these days. Reels? "How do I love thee; let me count the ways!" Easy choice as they don't take up too much space. I held it down to about a dozen, plus spare spools. Didn't want to over do it. Lines. I am proud of myself this time. I did not pack any extras or the line-winder so I could change lines while on vacation.

Oops, forgot, I have four new lines coming this week and a few leaders and tippet spools too. Can't be too careful. Want to make sure I had enough. But now it looks like I will need to pack my line winder just in cast after all.

I have one big, well padded, bag for the assorted stuff. I put some soft goods in there, (vests and jackets) and some breakable things (reels and fly boxes) and then jam even more 'stuff' into it so nothing moves. Seems to work out fine so far. Never have had anything bust or leak. Think I'm just lucky on that score though. With that, I guess I am about packed. Nothing to do but get on the plane. See you at the 'Fish-In's or back here in a couple of weeks.

"Gone Fishing!" ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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