Well, despite a few late storms, drought conditions are such that spring has been in the air for weeks now, and that naturally gets me thinking about the opener for trout season and about my getting my tackle ready. I recently took a look into the nook under the stairs where I store my rods. Good grief, they seemed to have been multiplying in the darkness! Iím not someone who is into gear, so I surprised myself when I tallied them and discovered I have more than 20 rods. How did this happen?
One of the causes has been the normal process of improving oneís skills and enlarging oneís range of targets. I still have the fiberglass stick from Sears with which I learned to fly fish, and another is the high-end 9-foot 5-weight graphite rod that I upgraded to 30 years ago and that is still my first choice when fishing for trout. This purchase had been followed quickly by a low-end graphite 8-weight for bass, upgraded to a midprice 8-weight as my salary grew, and then upgraded a third time to a longer, high-end rod that would also serve for steelhead and light saltwater species such as bonefish. I then picked up a heavier saltwater rod for bigger fish, along with a five-piece trout rod for backpacking. That totals eight rods, which Iíd say is not really out of the ordinary for a lot of fly fishers, and the upgrades also created downgrades that serve as backups and loaners ó always useful to have.
But then my purchases veered from utility toward impulsive, ďfun to haveĒ rods. Three are short and made of fiberglass and intended for creeks. Although I love their slow action, Iím still not convinced that my first 9-foot graphite isnít superior for small streams. I also have a 10-foot-plus one-piece trout rod (try stowing that in a car!) that I have yet to fish, but that I think will be great for dapping from the canoe. I have also yet to learn to cast well, much less to fish, my long, two-handed 5-weight, and Iím still discovering the idiosyncrasies of technique that a tenkara rod requires.
Other rods of mine came from diverse sources that included garage sales, gifts from friends, several hand-me-downs, and purchases that seemed to make sense at the time. But certainly, when the whole stash is viewed through the lens of a utilitarian, it can be argued that I have too many fly rods. Maybe even way too many.
I canít dispute that assertion. But although cull I should, I know I wonít (at least not more than a handful). Most of my rods come with memories or have memories still to be created through them. This is important, because for all the fish we bring to hand, memories are what we retain. These rods thus arenít just angling tools. They are a way to hook and creel life. Iíd like as many options as reasonable for doing so.
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