Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A New Build

I've been hankering for a build that departs a bit from what I've done in the past, and I think I've found just the project.

While I love fiberglass and would happily build with glass blanks only for the rest of my life, sometimes I need a little less flex and weight. Open water and big streamers, which I am fishing more and more, calls for something fairly fast, long, and light. I'm not a big guy by any means; most people say that I have to run around in the shower to get wet. My father refers to me as two watermelon seeds nailed to a 2x4. I'll be the first to admit that I get a little worn out casting my 8wt glass rods all day. So...a new build is born.

I envisioned a real tank, something with the power down low of glass and the ability to load in fairly close with big stuff and an intermediate line but with the guns sufficient to bomb some serious line out regardless of fly, wind, or chop. I think I happened on the perfect blank.

I don't want to give details now, but it's a graphite 6wt that has blown the socks off the rod building community, performs exactly as advertised, is from a fairly small shop and brilliantly USA-made. To really depart from my norm, this blank is FAST, perhaps even truly ultra-fast (though that is an elusive characteristic, far more rare in reality than in catalogs). From what I can tell from spec sheets, reviews and gut-feeling, this rod is going to be a straight-up streamer howitzer. ...exactly what I need for big browns and medium salt. hee-hee

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Old 'Glass Updates

The H-I #1600 refinish is coming along, but waiting on spar finish. I turned a Fenwick-style grip to do the Struble D-27 and 'glass justice and used chrome double-foot snakers down the line. Thread is "Dark Brown", over which I'll apply a few coats of spar.

Modern wraps, guides and spacing brought this old girl into the present era of rods, but there's still no mistaking it for a wise, old, experienced bit of 'glass.

I may decide to overwrap the steel ferrule. At this point, I'm too busy tying to worry about it.

Next in line for at least a little refurb'ing is this St. Croix Challenger 8'6" 8wt.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sutures Sown with a Hook

I think all the most desperate fishermen, even those who don't flick flies, have somewhat sorted lives. If not presently, they have sorted pasts. It's not a matter of pride that I include myself squarely within the fold of these desperate men and women. It may be pain; maybe there are wounds cut by some easily remembered moment, wounds that have yet to heal into scars; perhaps, though, its something more diffuse like a life that just doesn't work like it should. In any case, the desperation is real; the most devoted fly fishermen I know all have a distinctive furrow cutting down their brow, and eyes that reflect their favorite stream without exception.

One cannot help but to draw a few rough conclusions about the people who, as I've said before, do not go to the water but come to it. It can probably be safely said that every human being who has lived even a sliver of life has suffered some damage from it, and no different for those who live it intermittently on the water. The difference between the desperate whole of man and desperate fishers is that I continually perceive when one of those desperate flymen is sending his fly out, he becomes, for a defined moment, not desperate.

I find it no coincidence, yet without explanation, that tippet looks strikingly like suture thread; no more so that the hook on the end of that tippet bears limitless resemblance to a needle. And so, when that yet-unscarred wound pulls further open and reminds the man that he is yet desperate and in dire need of attending to that wound, that same man who is irreparably tied to the stream flees to his hook and suture for relief, for recovery.

With each cast, one more loop and knot is made (quite literally sometimes!) and the desperation from a life that is so often battled with or beaten by is made...less desperate. All the excitement, the thrills, the peace and rest that we find on the water, it all seems to me to be less a distraction and ever more as surgery. Beyond that, I can not offer, propose, or provide understanding. It is simply: life-giving.

It's Spring!