Thursday, March 7, 2013

A New Rod, Part Duo

And the ramble continues. You didn't think I was done yesterday, did you?  Don't cringe, this one is going to be shorter. I think.

I pretty much covered why I have used the same few rods for many years yesterday, so today I'm off and running on what it is that has me thinking about getting a new stick.  On Sunday morning, friend and fellow show tyer, Al, handed me a Hardy Bros. Zenith fly rod as I walked by the casting pond at the Lancaster Fly Fishing Show.  He said in his usual, this is important half whisper, "Dude, you gotta try this thing!  There's nothin' like it."  So I took the rod from him.
I first looked the rod over while Al gave me the particulars on what I was about to cast.  "It's a Hardy Zen-ith!" As in Zen; enlightenment, spiritual, calming.  He continued, while still trying not to speak too loud. Like this was the biggest secret of his adult life, "It's a 9 footer, 4 piece, 5 weight.  IT IS SWEET!"
So I started to cast it, thinking; Okay, Al gets excited pretty easily at most things fly fishing.  But I'll give it shot since his eyes are bulging out, he's drooling, and he appears to be sweating and hyperventilating. 
I cast the rod.  Gently at first, trying to get a feel for the action and balance between the rod and the line.   As I put more into the cast, the better it performed.  Al could see it in my face, "Dude!  Can you believe this thing!"  I couldn't believe it (see yesterday's post about new rods), it was different, in a good way. 

And then I tried, as best as I could given that this "pond" was only ten feet wide, to do some short casts, puddle casts, roll casts and finally, mending line with the rod.  I also cast out to the 15-inch diameter targets floating at about 60-65 feet out, and landed the poly tuft at the end of the short leader, in or near the target, with more control and less effort than I expected.  Then I smiled and handed the rod back to Al, "I need to think about this one."  I may have been in shock.  I went back to the tying table and pondered the ying and the yang of what had just transpired.   

A few hours later, when things in the hall slowed, I went back to the Hardy Bros. booth and picked up the rod to cast it some more.  I wondered if the rod was actually as nice as I had thought that morning. It was not an illusion.  This rod is a wonder of modern technology, and not just another stick in the mud that casts line like a rocket launcher.

Apparently, I am not alone in this.  I Googled this specific rod, and I found out it won the Yellowstone 5-weight Shootout last year, by a wide margin.  Good to know.

So, after casting various makes and models of 9ft 4pc 5wts over the years in my search to replace my 2 piece model that doesn't travel so well thanks to Osama and friends, I think know I have found a great replacement, and then some.   Cha-ching.

Something to keep in mind: Rod preference is very personal and subjective, and always requires an asterisk, as no two casters are alike.   

End of ramble.


Andy Baird said...

Good stuff and ramble-free Mat. All makes sense... is the plan to stick with the faithful reel? Not a huge fan of Hardy's contemporary reels, can't help feeling that dedicated reel manufacturers do it better.

Jaybird said...

Matt one thing to consider is customer service , not that you bust up rods , hell you've been using the same one since the 80s . But I know our friends in Twin Bridges are pretty good about it . Those old 80s IM6 Winston's sell really good on Ebay , not that your selling , but those rods must be in demand for a reason .

Matt Grobert said...

Andy, I'll use that reel until one of us can't fish anymore. It's a well-made, solid reel with no sign of aging except some dings. My 3wt reel is also a Streamline, too bad the company folded.

Jay, My Winston will still be my No. 1 rod. The male ferrules will need to be replaced soon as they are wearing from all the use they get. You are correct, Winston backs everything they make and has great customer service.

Jaybird said...

Ok Matt now you have to tell us what kind of reel it is .

Matt Grobert said...

Jay, I mostly use my StreamLine reels. It's in the last post in the photo on my Winston 8.5ft 5 wt.