Al Campbell, Field Editor

September 20th, 2004

Ten Bucks or Ten Days
Al Campbell

"Ten bucks or ten days." That was the fine that was charged to Clint Eastwood in the Joe Kidd movie. He chose the days rather than to pay the fine. How would you do it? If you think about it, you might pay the fine and get it over with; but Joe was a different kind of guy for sure.

We find ourselves in the same predicament all the time, but rarely realize it is the same predicament. We learn to tie our own flies rather than pay the money for new flies. Sure, there is some accommodation in creating your own patterns, but most of us choose to tie our own to save a buck; or at least that is what we think. However, very few of us ever saves a buck or two tying our own flies. It just doesn't happen. In fact, we usually pay a lot more. The same holds true with rods and other stuff.

First of all, there is the thought that I can have flies nobody else has. I can create flies that the fish like and nobody else has them unless I share them. Most of you have seen a few of my flies, and some fish them all the time. I don't hold them away from others, but rather share them with everyone. It's the least I can do considering all that I have gained from all of you.

Then there is the guy who decides to make his own fly rods, just to save a buck or two. Yep, you can save a buck or two doing that. In fact, you can usually save a few bucks, especially after you get the experience. However, there are a few other concerns too. A factory rod usually has a warranty that your rod doesn't have. And, if you are making rods for others, you might want to consider that warranty because there are some who break rods all the time, and you will probably make a rod for at least a couple of them. Keep in mind that it only takes one or two to make it a losing proposition.

Then there are your own rods. Let's say you just make rods for yourself. You could create some dandy rods that will make people just say wow. I can understand that. I do it for myself all the time. And, fortunately, I rarely break rods, so it is a good proposition. However, if I do break a rod, even if the blank has a warranty and they honor it, I will probably lose money on the remake. It just works that way. I live with the knowledge that I have rods nobody else has, and that they cost more than most other rods. If I break one, it's my own trouble, and I doubt I have really saved anything on the rods I have.

There are other things too. Some folks like furled leaders, to the varying degree. They like homemade nets and wading staffs. They make their own rod tubes, with or without the reel attached. The list goes on and on. I have seen homemade reels and wader carriers; some that were gorgeous. Some of it is for cost savings, some is for creativity and some is for the knowledge that they could just do it. We all have our reasons for what we do.

The one thing I have never really seen is a genuine cost saving. The one item might cost a bit less, but there are other things that cost more. Paul Dieter has several homemade items that I'm sure saved him a few bucks, but he also has some stuff that cost him a bunch. We all do, and it is hard to deny it if we think about it for a while. We all do stuff that is supposed to save us bucks but costs us more in the long run. I guess it is just a fact of nature.

So, what about fishing are you doing to save a buck? Are you tying your own flies or making your own rods? Is it really saving a buck or are you just fooled? "Ten bucks or ten days." It is your choice, but be sure you really know why you make your choice. Who is really being fooled? ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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