A bunch of readers have emailed me and asked why I haven't bought new rod in 20+ years. It seems that some readers think that because I am passionate about all things fly fishing, and truthfully the outdoors as well, that I would be passionate about the equipment I use. Those readers are correct, too. I am passionate about my equipment, and that's why when I find a rod or reel that suits my style, and that feels right in my hand, I stick with it. Not only is the rod I primarily use 20+ years old, the reel I prefer is at least that old and no longer made - a Streamline.
1. Simply put, I like the couple of rods I have been using, and nothing has come along in the last 20+ years that suits my fishing sensibilities. I primarily use a Winston IM6, 8ft 6in 3pc 5 wt, I purchased in 1981 - it is a medium action rod that allows me to cast with little physical and mental effort, which permits me to focus on my fishing. I know the rod is going to do exactly what I ask without thought, and I can hit my target with my fly most every time........almost. And when I hook a fish, I can feel everything the fish is doing. This allows me to get it to hand or my net fairly quickly, and released with a minimum of stress.
2. Over the years I have cast many of each year's latest and greatest rods, and from my perspective, none have broken through the invisible mental barrier that has been established by the rods I currently use. I'm not a "have to have the latest" rod, reel or waders, etc., kind of guy. Just about every rod manufacturer comes up with a new marketing ploy every year to sell more rods to mostly people who do not need a new rod, but who get sucked in by wordsmithing and the latest technical bullshit, or even a super-duper "new" finish.
3. In my opinion, in the last 20 year or so, rod design has focused on reducing weight and casting further - witness that every person at the casting pond this weekend worked the rod they were "testing" for distance only. No one I watched cast it the normal trout average fishing distance - 25 to 35 feet. No one I saw tried to roll cast, puddle cast, or mend line with the rod they were putting through the paces. Sure, I like to see how far a rod will cast, but mostly I like to see how a rod will perform in my hand when doing the things I normally do when fishing. Isn't that the point? Placing your size #16 sulphur emerger on the water 20 inches above a rhythmically feeding rainbow trout from 35 feet away is a thrill I'll never tire of. Especially, when the trout raises up and sips your fly in like it was a natural.
Poetry in Motion!
Poetry in Motion!
That ends my ramble. Your mileage may vary.