July 13th, 1998
WORLD'S WORST FLY ROD
Odd how a fly-rod can take on a life of it's own; I think this
one is going to be famous. No, I'm not talking about the wonderful bamboo 'Makers
Rod,' that rod deserves glory and fame. No custom work of the rod builders art here.
Nor is there any high-modulus graphite involved. In fact, no graphite at all. And no
fiberglass either. In reality, there is not a single piece of anything worthwhile. It's just
a broom, a common everyday, household broom.
Several years passed by and I had no great need to
produce another. Until we started the fly casting school here ten years ago.
The fateful deed had to be repeated; and so it took life once again. For the
engineers of you I will give a brief construction description. It commenced
it's life as an "Angler" broom by O'Cedar. Nice yellow wooden handle,
plastic bristles cut on a bias, good balance.
I think I heard about someone who put a reel seat and some
guides on a broom many years ago, I am not sure, but I may have. The expression,
'it casts like a broom,' has been around for perhaps centuries though. So, while I
can not, and will not take any credit for producing such a device, I will accept
blame. My original broom-rod was produced about 1965. It served my needs
well as a devise with which to help teach the double-haul. The idea being that
since the broom-rod won't load, it won't cast. Therefore, the only method of
casting had to involve the use of the double-haul. About the mid '70s the
broom-rod and I parted company; someone swiped it!
I drilled a hole straight into the top and inserted the leg
of a stripping guide, then bound down the other leg with some wire.
The two snake guides are attached with wire as well. All
wire was then covered with glue.
The stripping guide had to have more wire due to it's size
and the strain of casting.
Some hack-saw work relieved a bit of the plastic
handle allowing me to use a couple of conduit clamps to anchor the
reel to the shaft of the rod. I used the tape normally used to cover
the handle of a tennis racquet ahead of the reel.
A weight forward, twelve, floating fly line seems
to be about the closest I can get to a 'balanced rig.' A very cheap
reel completes the 'outfit.'
The reality of the creation is this: Several of the best
fly casters in the world have cast the thing, most with the same degree of
enjoyment. Who could pass up an opportunity to try it? (Including one
friend who spent two hours on a stocked pond trying to be the "First
Person to Catch a Trout on a Broom.") Most of the students from our
school have found it very instructive, helpful in learning the double haul,
and a whole lot of fun as well. It was pressed into service at the Trout
Bum's Bar-B-Q in Michigan as the casting distance device. And was
enjoyed again on the Sunday after the event by a small cadre of willing
It has made friends for us and for itself where ever
we take it. It will probably outlive me and surely has a greater following.
By the way; it has been stolen three times over the years, but always (so
far) has been returned. Seems like the thing to do is to 'swipe' Castwell's
Till next week, remember ...