December 18th, 2006

Good Rods and Bad
By James Castwell


Well, okay, there aren't any bad ones. Oh sure, there are some that may seem bad to you, terrible even, but remember, somewhere/someplace somebody made that rod and expected to sell it. How bad could it really be?

I will agree that some fly rods look kind of yucky, wobble in the middle when you wiggle them and really don't cast worth a hoot. There are definitely better rods out there, but to say a rod is bad is probably an overstatement. Some fly rods are just a whole lot better than others.

This topic just came up on the bulletin board last week and two posts, one right below the other, did not agree on a certain rod. Not at all. One liked the rod. The other guy thought it might have been the worst rod he had ever seen. I agreed with both of them. Still do. I think they may both have been correct.

Several years ago, not saying how many, I owned maybe the best fly rod in the whole wide world. At least anyone coming to my house who knew anything about fly fishing would have thought so. Actually it was an Orvis cane rod. The price at the time was pretty high, I spent eighty bucks for it, new. It had the most absolutely gorgeous luster of any rod ever made. It was impregnated. I loved it. Like I said, this was a long time back.

Did I know much about fly rods? Cane rods? Nope, didn't have to. I had a wonderful fly rod and that was that. Mind you, this was after owning a telescoping collapsible steel fly rod, a used Granger and an H&I that I bought at a Montgomery Ward store myself, new for three bucks. So, now I had a good rod. How did it cast? That was not the point. That didn't matter. Not at all. It was my first really good rod.

All sorts of emotions can get involved when that 'new fly rod' thought process takes over one's judgement. Rationalization is a chief culprit along with silliness, ego, false and real pride, self importance and general common sense. To say it really didn't matter how well the rod cast or 'fished' is true. It didn't matter, at least not to me. Would it be my choice to fish with these days. No. Was it a good rod? You darn right it was and still is, where ever it has ended up. I sold it with in a few years. Moved up to a rod that actually did cast better. Some things do change.

My ability to cast did. I learned a few more things and got better at it. I became able to get more out of a fly rod. My fly fishing changed, widened to include different waters and fly sizes and types. I needed more rods. I needed several sizes. I liked the feel of the newer rods on the market. A few years later I bought twin Orvis Madison's, one for me and one for my wife, but that's a separate story. Different (casting) strokes for different folks I guess.

There is one company that makes graphite rods, high priced, extremely well fitted out but many on here would not be caught dead fishing one. Way too soft and wimpy. Tailing loops, can't cast in the wind and will not heave a big fly. Others on here will swear that those rods are the sweetest delivery system ever produced. Both opinions are most likely right. One guys treasure is another's trash.

Another company makes a series of rods that some find nearly impossible to load. Horrid things, way too stiff. But not for the guys who want a very crisp dry fly presentation and the ability to pitch a fly into a hurricane.

So, when your fishing buddy says he really likes a certain company and the rods they make, especially the 'abc' ones and the guru at your fly shop says the 'xyz' rods are the only way to go, they probably are both right. The real question is, which rod is right for you, and right where you are now.

Now, as in how long have you been fly fishing. What kind and size of flies do you use at this time? How much can you really get out of a fly rod? Can you do the double-haul? Do you need to? Any and all of the other questions and perimeters that might effect your needs right now. Remember, those needs will not remain the same. Things change. Your requirements will change. Get used to it. You will change. It is the way of fly fishing. It's what fly fishing is all about. You grow into it. You grow with it. You grow old living it.

And of all the fly rods you ever buy, have bought, or may yet buy, there are still no bad rods. Just some better than others. You got to love them all. The day you quit believing that, you're on your way back to worms. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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