Monday, March 15, 2010

The Great Gear Pile In The Sky

I have a confession to make - Two broken fly rods in 2 years - that in itself is bad enough, but what really adds insult to injured pride is the fact that I've kept the shattered fiberglass pieces. I also keep failed attempts of flies that I've tried to tie (when tying a new pattern, often times, the first go looks like a mess of head cement, feathers, bucktail and thread) in the great ghosts of failed flies box.


I have no idea, but there they sit, propped up in the corner like some sort of pitiful broken dreams and long lost Halcyon days of a glorious past.

One time, I actually grabbed one of the broken rods in the dark at 5 am by mistake and didn't discover the error until I had reached my fishing destination, an hour away from my home, all the while watching snook bust greenbacks on the surface just mere inches from where I was standing. They might as well have been a million miles away as I stood there with a fly box full of perfect sized, tied the night before EP greenback imitations that were sure to draw strikes on every cast.

I can distinctly remember breaking each one - and I wish I could say their last gasp was fighting a trophy redfish or crafty snook, but alas, no such story exists for these piles of fiberglass shards. Both were broken on a bad backcast (hence the name of my blog).

The first rod snapped was an Okuma, and the debate about if I had been using a "quality" rod or not has been closed for good - same thing would have happened if I was using a G.Loomis or a Sage, bottom line....anyway, I was fishing along a seawall on an early spring day on a rising tide, looking for snook amongst the boat docks at Demens Landing in St Petersburg, not the best place to be using a fly rod, each cast requiring the precision of Peyton Manning passing to Reggie Wayne amidst triple coverage, threading the needle between a maze of flag poles, palm trees, sailboat masts and people. I was side arming a cast in an attempt to sling the fly under a dock with good current running past it...a sure snook hangout. The fly careened off the front of the dock, bouncing harmlessly into the water short of the target. The next cast snagged a rock behind me, pulling the line tight and forcing the rod down against the corner of the seawall now turned anvil. SNAP! NOOOOOOO!!!!
And the real icing on the cake was the guy drifting by on his boat deciding to tell me while I'm trying to make sense of my line and shattered gear, that my backcast was too low. I wanted to jump into the water and yank him off of his little skiff.

The second rod, identical to the first one....and this is no knock on Okuma (except, a certain saltwater angler thinks there should be a backcast indicator on these rods much like the back up indicator on a new Lexus). My fishing partner and I were wading a back country lagoon replete with oyster bars and a steep drop off about a foot away from the mangrove prop roots. She was off to my right a bit (I'm right handed), so I adjusted my casting to keep from giving her any new piercings...yep, right into a solitary mangrove branch that seemed to be reaching out for my speeding backcast and on the forecast, SNAP!!! The flying line stalling out short of the target like a failed Air Force proving ground victim with a short piece of mangrove branch and attached leaves crashing into the water, leaving ripples on the smooth waters' surface and ending the nice fishing expedition for the day.

I've since improved my casting and I'm a bit more observant while fishing around the obstacles found where I like to fish.....even though I still hang one in a tree once in a while.....

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