I have no clue why I am. In fact, I don't
think I am, not in love, just do love the
'lovely reed,' the rod of 'grass', 'boo',
or for the uninitiated, bamboo fly rods.
It goes deep within me and there is where I
get lost. I'm not going to go all flowery on
you here, but somehow there is an aura about
those rods which draws on me, makes me spend
much more time thinking about them than I
really should. And it bugs me.
You would think I might own a few of them if
this was true. Nope, I don't. I have had a
couple over the years, but not many. An H.I.
and a Monty, old ones, a couple of Orvis way
back, a french number and that is about it.
Aren't any of mine here now, sold them for
various reasons over time and didn't shed any
tears doing so.
No, it's not the owning and fondling of them
where the magic lies. Somewhere else. More in
my head than in my hands. I read those stories
of how guys will get all choked up fishing with
a rod their father used, or grandfather used.
I have no association with them as my dad did
not fly fish. I have nothing handed down to
absorb ghosts from.
Perhaps that's the problem. Am I jealous of
those of you who have them? Might be. I,
like I said, really don't know what and
where it is. All I know it is there. Some
of you know that Vince Marinaro and I were
friends and that he was involved with cane
rod making and had his own ideas on tapers.
We were friends and he let me cast some. Did
he ever give me one, or did I have him build
me one? Nope. The truth on that is I didn't
have the guts to even ask, and didn't have
enough to pay for one either. I did for a
few years have a small piece of a ten foot
six weight he built and broke on the South
Branch of the Ausable river in Michigan one
cold and nasty weathered spring Hendrickson
He gave it to me to make a bodkin from. Somehow
it has slipped away from me over the years. That
I do miss. I think it might be that while I was
learning about fly fishing the normal rod was
cane, cheap bamboo, five bucks a rod at Montgomery
and Wards. Sure there were the great rod making
companies grinding out as many rods a day as
possible, but they could not begin to service
the whole country.
Then glass and soon after graphite came on
and all of the cheap cane went bust. To find
one of them today and attempt to fish it may
be marginal due to some of the glues used and
age in general of the rods and wrappings and
varnishes. Mine was the age when one, if they
were to advance, also needed to improve their
equipment. Most of us could not afford the
high priced cane so we went with the production
rods which replaced the cheap canes. All the
time lamenting we were too poor to get the
real good rods.
Now I could I suppose afford one, but I have
all the rods I will ever need now and can't
rationalize any more fly-poles. I guess I am
like the young adolescent in the old house.
'Too tall for keyholes and too short for
transoms.' That's it. I grew up in an awkward
age, a time of glory for the cane makers and
the graphite rod makers, but not me. And so,
now I am here and can afford one. And now,
the names I remember, the great names of cane
rod making, most of them are gone. ~ JC