I received my wonderful Kusse cane rod
this week - and some of you may have already
read my husbands JC's article or Bulletin
Board posting on it. Before I continue, I
must say the rod is absolutely unique and
perfect. I am thrilled to have it. I will
cherish it. Not just because it is a superb
casting tool, but because it was made by Ron
Kusse especially for me.
But there is more to the story.
A few years ago, Ron Kusse offered to build
a cane rod for me. I turned him down. The
rod was to be a gift from Ron and I frankly
was embarrassed. Not for the reasons you
Having lived through tough times, I was not
able to accept such a gift from someone who
earns his living by building fine rods. Just
not a nice, proper thing to do. It would have
been taking advantage of Ron and our friendship.
The other part of my refusing his very kind
offer may seem even stranger.
When JC and I were growing up, cheap cane rods
were 'normal.' They were sold in hardware stores,
Montgomery Ward and even the Sears and Roebuck
catalogs. It was what there was until the 'modern'
steel telescopic rods came out. They may have
been modern, but they were heavy and terrible.
But it was what there was!
By the time I was an accomplished caster,
fiberglass was a big deal, and some really
nice rods were built from it. There were
some real dogs too, but that's the way progress
weeds out the good from the bad. How can one
tell something is really good if you've never
cast or fished something really bad?
Eventually I did own a couple of modestly priced
cane rods, Orvis and Pezon Michelle - and I really
enjoyed them. The Pezon (PM) more, it was a 3 wt.,
and I fished it a lot. The fiberglass rods were
pretty much retired. As JC tells in his article,
there was also a one-piece six-footer which our
friend Neil built for him, and I adopted it as
The first graphite rod I ever used was in the
mid-70's when the late Don Owen of Orvis sent
me a 5 wt Far and Fine as a gift. I had not
fished - or cast for that matter - any rods
other than cane for a long time. I had written
an article, I believe for the now defunct Anglers
Journal on why I didn't like graphite and
practically swore I would never own one. The
reason? Ah, here's the catch.
For at least that period in my life I felt it
was just plain wrong to fish for living,
breathing trout with anything which was not
or had not been a living thing itself. Graphite
was simply a fake, plastic imitation of cane.
In fact, the early fiberglass rods literally
were imitations of the best of the cane rods.
Graphite rods felt dead. They had no character,
There was another good reason, at least in my
mind, not to have a really good cane rod. I
have no where to fish it. I am not a collector,
nor can I afford to be one. To have a really,
really fine rod and not fish it is a sin. They
are designed, and lovingly built to be fished.
Not stuck in a closet or a rod hack or hung over
Our closest good trout fishing is a three hour
one-way trip. There are some local lakes, but
we don't have a boat and I am not much of a
lake fisher anyway.
Spending as much time as we do on FAOL, we just
don't take much time off to fish - not enough
actually, but that's another story. It may
change; I hope so.
So having a fine cane rod just didn't make logical
sense. JC is the logical one, and even he had
trouble understanding my thinking on this, but
it is how I felt.
If you have read his article,
About Magnum Opus, you know about how this
rod came about. You also know the rod was not
a gift from Ron, but indeed ordered by JC for me.
I'm a pretty private person, but I'll let you
in on a secret. I'm pretty much overwhelmed by
JC's gift of the rod to me. Overwhelmed by the
wonderful craftsmanship our friend Ron put into
this rod for me. It is a thing of real beauty.
Accepting a fine gift graciously is something
which perhaps takes practice, or a better
upbringing than I had. I'm not good at it.
But with what grace I can muster, my sincere
thanks to Ron Kusse for a very special rod,
and to my darling JC, there is no way I can
thank you... ~ DLB
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