Tuesday, July 31, 2012

If Fly Rods Could Talk ...

If fly rods could talk what might they say?

Would they chastise us for casting as poorly as we do, for failing to bring out their potential? Would the consensus be that we - intrepid members of the faithful fraternity of fly flingers - frequently underpower our backcasts, and often overpower the forward stroke? Would our double-hauls earn any compliments, or would our rods suggest that our timing is off - that we might consider an investment in lessons? Would our rods secretly wish to be swept off their feet by the Rajeffs?

What of our bamboo sticks? They might stretch and breathe a collective sigh of relief when they're first pulled from their tubes. No doubt they would scold us for using them so infrequently. They might speak - in rambling tones - of their histories, and suggest that such tales demand the respect of use. "We were throwing loops over rising fish before you were a blush on your Mama's cheek."

I can imagine my impregnated Orvis, who has always been something of a curmudgeon, reminiscing about the good old days when Wes ran the shop, in the stretch before that crook Nixon took office. He would speak wistfully of the Perfects and Lightweights he's known, and frown disapprovingly when we mention that some Hardys are being made in Asia ... as is most everything. "What's wrong with the world?" he'd ask.

Made in England? Not anymore ...
In fly fishing, the new kid on the block always gets the most attention. Would that attention make for hard feelings? Would last year's sticks be jealous of this year's sticks? Would my Orvis Helioses - soon to be supplanted in the catalog and complaining of depression and frequent migraines - need Lexopro for mood and Vicodin for pain? At night, would my Winstons and Thomas and Thomas cry themselves to sleep? Would my Superfines, Conolons, and Fennies - who were "replaced" decades ago - smile knowingly, and remind all those other rods of what is meant by the word "classic."

Would they see the writing on the wall when they click "play" ...

... or would they dismiss it in the hopes it might all just go away?

No doubt, the rods we've broken would beg that we stop chucking tungsten beads and outsized split shot. They'd point to the nicks and scratches in their blanks, and speak - in frail and frustrated voices - of impending disaster if we don't stop behaving like barbarians. The message will be lost on us. We won't hear a word. We'll go on hucking the heavy stuff, right up to the moment when our favorite rods explode dramatically. Surely a manufacturer's defect we'll say, but the rods will know better.

Would those rods that survive history, seasonal shopping, and our ineptitude thank us for our constant companionship? Would they understand just how important they are to us, that - despite our lack of ability and the draw of new gear - the rods in our closet are like the air in our lungs? That they fill us up. That they sustain us.

Would they understand that without them, we're simply less alive?

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