Like most of us, when my wife, Deanna, first started fly fishing
she used what most of us used. Second hand or inexpensive gear.
That was a long time ago and as time has marched on, so has the
quality of her equipment. From the used cane rods through the
fiberglass era, into the graphite revolution and as the circle reunites,
back to cane. This time it is new cane however.
For several years her attitude was, "if the rod was never alive,
I won't fish it." She wasn't being a snob, she just liked the feeling of a
fly rod that had been crafted from a living thing. Finances back then did
not allow for any great indulgences in the high-end of the spectrum though.
There was the gift of a one piece, six-foot, three weight bamboo back then
which soon became her favorite. Those were the times of fishing the Main
Stream and the South Branch of the Au Sable. Leonard's, Payne's, Young's,
Orvis's were rods fairly common in those days. More frequent were Montague
and H.I. for cane but the most common fly rods were fiberglass.
Early on she was at the right place at the right time and joined a small
bunch of folks interested in fly fishing. They called the new group Trout Unlimited.
She signed up and was the thirteenth member, and the first lady too. In later years
she also became the first licensed fishing guide in the state of Montana. Both of these
she still holds close as an honor to have been so fortunate.
Deanna met Ron Kusse several years ago at a 'Fish-In' out east. She
also met her first quad fly rod. A quad is a four strip rod rather than the
conventional six strip of today's market. There are several reasons they are
harder to produce and even more difficult to produce an especially fine example.
The power placement if different in them and the way it transmits the casters
stroke is as well. The two parallel sides of the rod during the cast are responsible
for that difference.
Her easy and open natural casting style impressed Mr. Kusse. Impressed
him so much that eventually he produced a bamboo fly rod for her. And not just
any rod. In many crafts, there are occasionally superior articles that come about.
Such was the case with her rod. 'Magnum-Opus' Ron calls them. They are the top
of his line; darn tough, especially on a quad rod.
His wish was to be able to present the rod to her himself at the recent 'Fish-In'
in Michigan but it was not to be. One of her dreams in those early years was to be
able to own a Leonard rod. Ron Kusse was the Vise President of Leonard at the
time and until they closed. He continues to produce rods now but under his own
name. In the view of many, his are the highest quality cane rods produced today.
I was honored to step into his place and present the rod in his behalf. It took
a while but the Ladyfisher finally got her rod. A Ron Kusse seven foot three inch,
five weight, two piece, two mirrored tip, Magnum-Opus Quad.
Way to go LF; way to go.
~ James Castwell