I have written in past columns that the worst thing a guy can do is learn
to cast better. When he learns to cast better, he needs a new fly rod. For
the most part that is true. As we get more control and experience in casting
we find the rod we first bought no longer is the 'X-Caliber' we once thought
it was. Actually the rod was probably just fine for our early efforts. It didn't
cost a lot and breakage was not a major concern, it was of mid-type action
and able to cast almost anything we tried to fling at our quarries. Our wife
only got somewhat angry at the cost and all in all we got into fly fishing
without too much noise and raising of dust.
So, now you have learned a few things about casting. And you need a new rod,
a 'better' one. One that has more power, more 'get it out there', a rod for the
new waters you have found and expect to find. Your old rod is too 'slow,'
too soft and wimpy. It won't drive a tack into a hurricane and can't produce
a wedge shaped front loop if Castwell himself owned it.
About this time in your fly-fishing life you have heard about 'over-lining' a fly
rod. Supposed to do wonderful things. Longer casts, bigger flies, better
presentations, all that good stuff. Well, forget it. There are darn few times
when it makes any sense and this is surely not one of them. We are going
to get you a used rod now and do it on the cheap!
How about I fix you up with a rod that will be quick in your hands, feel like
an old friend on the first cast, have the stiffness and control to pin-point a
dry fly for you into a good breeze and for the price I will throw in a new fly line?
Ok, here is what you need to do. Take the fly rod you now have, you know,
the 'old' one down to your nearest fly-shop. Take your reel with the line on it
with you too. Lets say the rod is a 5/6 weight and you have been using a 6 weight
line on it. Ask the guys inside if they have a 5 weight line on a reel you can try
out behind the shop. If they do not have, find a different fly-shop, fast.
String up your old rod using your reel and line and make a few casts, short
medium and long; get the 'feel' of the rig. Now, switch reels. String it up with
the lighter fly line from their reel and start casting right away while you can still
remember the 'feel' of the 6weight line you had on it. Notice how things change
at all distances. The rod will be a very dry fly rod at short ones, nice at medium
and solid and powerful at longer casts. Not bad, and all that for the price of a
new 'lighter' fly line. Will it be a great combination? Probably not, but it sure
is worth looking into. You might even try more than one type of line while
you're at it. Maybe a double-taper or such.
The guy from the fly shop will probably try to convince you that a new rod is
in order. If you buy one, he can take his wife to dinner. If you only buy a new
fly line, you can take your wife to dinner. Tough choice.
~ James Castwell