Saturday, January 3, 2009
A wee rant on dumb gear
New fly fishing gear designers; meet Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe inventing the edible celery panfish flyrod. Yours for only $900 bucks.
Perusing the new Cabelas and Orvis catalogues, I am reminded of how much I dislike all the superfluous gear out there which is toted as the ‘must-have’ for the angler. So, without hold, I give you some views on junk. Please read this with a tongue in cheek mood, as this is how it is written. I don’t want to get comments back full of contention. After all, this is the classic angler not the contentious angler;)
You may wish to read my blog post on equipment first; located here.
You know the ones. When I ran a flyshop, these were my top seller, and I pitied all the poor souls that bought them. Why, you ask? No matter what you do, they will never lie completely straight. They are coiled in the package, and will retain those slinky-like coils forever no matter what you do. Go ahead, stretch them between two nails on a hot day, use a useless leather leader straightening tool, have a buddy pull and stretch them, tie them to your dog and throw a ball, it matters not. Those coils will drive you nuts! The only way to prevent this is to buy leaders tied with a stretchy butt material like maxima, or tie your own.
Reels that look like abstract art or an engineer’s high school project and sporting wild colors.
This speaks for itself. Just look at the reels offered in the Cabelas catalogue. They all look like they are trying to outdo each other for the most complicated CNC project award. The classic looking reels are usually the cheap ones. I don’t really hate these things, but they have become so ubiquitous that real consumer choice has lessened.
Reels that sport ultra large arbor designs that take no backing.
Hello…Orvis? A perfect example of this was the first generation Orvis Battenkill large arbor reel. When someone bought one of these, there was much alchemy performed in the back room. I often had to cut the flyline back by one quarter in order to fit it on the spool, and that still only allowed twenty feet of backing. It is a myth that large arbor flyreels always prevent coiling and increase the retrieve ratio. When they are wider than conventional reels this can be true, but in general, a conventional reel with the proper amount of backing achieves the same thing. It is only when deep into the backing that a large arbor design aids retrieval. This is not to say that I dislike large arbor reels, instead, what I dislike is that they are touted as the only way to go. As if anglers such as Zane Gray couldn’t land fish on conventional reels.
Sage bass fly rods.
I cast these for the first time in October, and I must say they perform beautifully. I was able to throw the entire line with ease. They were designed to allow fly anglers to fish in bass tournaments, thus the length is under 8 feet. The rods, which are stiff as a corpse, get their zing from an especially heavy weight forward taper flyline made by Sage. So why does this bother me? Simply because new anglers may purchase these rods to fish for bass thinking that they are superior to conventional nine foot 5-8 weight rods. They are not superior. Perhaps at close range in brushy streams they might excel, but for much of the bass fishing I do, (casting in big rivers with pinpoint accuracy at 80 feet) they have no superiority to my rods. In fact, trying to cast at that distance consistently with these rods one would be in the backing, as the flyline is only 80 feet long. They also remind me of a bait-casting rod. The line is so heavy that it carries out from the rod tip like a spoon taking the mono for a free ride. Another thing I dislike is being limited to this specific line from Sage. What if I want to try something else? Sorry buddy.
Knot tying tools.
With an exception for people with eyesight problems, twitches, or hangovers, I dislike knot tying tools.
One becomes reliant on them and never learns to tie knots the proper way. Enough said.
Dumb gadgets that get in the way.
You know those necklace lanyards made of beads and alligator clips that enjoy so much popularity? One sees pictures of guides out west wearing them while floating the Madison. The reason guides like them is;
1. Everything is handy, so that the guides can locate it after a night of drinking moonshine.
2. It makes them look like they know what they are doing.
3. They are not fishing, just guiding.
Number three holds the clue. The damn things get in the way of everything; your hair, the flyline, tippet material, the spinning reel handle while playing a fish, etc. They even get tangled in your wader suspenders when you desperately have to relieve yourself. Fine for guides, anglers should give them a pass.
Unnecessary and overpriced stuff
Hello… Simms? Simms makes some of the finest waders, boots and jackets on the market. Several years ago they expanded their product line to include pretty much everything. Now anglers can wander around the river as walking advertisements. Much of this expanded selection is horribly overpriced as well, making it the necessary purchase for doctors and lawyers looking for that Brad Pitt look. I even saw a miniature cigar humidor shaped like a little rod tube and sporting the logo of a famous rod company. I guess some people feel that if they pay the top dollar, then they get the best.
$500.00 waders that leak after 6 months.
We can send a man to the moon, but can’t produce breathable waders that are durable. Enough said.
Any product promising that you will catch more fish.
Look in the mirror. The person staring back at you is the only one who can improve your fishing through time on the water, study, reading, thinking, and practice. There are no magic beans, even if fishing companies have gotten rich by selling us those beans.