The proper tool.
A debate on the speypages site led me to think about the difference between the right tool for the job, and an alternative tool that may also work.
What the heck am I talking about?
The debate involved the use of a two-handed or ‘spey’ rod to fish for smallmouth bass. I made the point that although the two handed rod is a lot of fun to fish with, and capable of being used to catch smallmouth, it is not the best tool for the job. Instead, a single-handed rod is superior due to the extremely precise accuracy of the casts needed to fish a fly in the heavy structure smallmouth often live in. This involves threading a popper between two limbs of a tree 6” apart, casting sidearm to place a fly 6’ behind and beyond a overhanging branch next to shore, etc. Popper fishing also demands that the rod be in motion in order to give the correct action to the popper, and that repeated long accurate casts are made to a single cluster of targets. This ‘target shooting’ is not what two handed rods are designed to do. Single-handed rods are also capable of everything two-handed rods are capable of when swinging streamers through riffles and pools. Obviously water differs between the smallmouth rivers here in the Midwest and those of the Pacific North West, but the fish and their in-stream habitat demands do not.
But then, in the ‘everything spey, skagit, and switch rod’ world, angler are applying two handed rods to everything from small trout streams to casting for bonefish.
My point is not that the application of a two handed rod will not work for these situations, but that the two handed rod is not the BEST tool for these specific jobs. It certainly is for swinging flies for salmon and steelhead, which is what it was invented for.
Sometimes in order to be able to comprehend the hidden logic in an obscure debate, one needs to bring in analogies. (Analogy warning)
If I want to pound a nail into a board, and I have by my side a hammer, a piece of paper, a screwdriver, a rock, and a salami, which is the best tool for the job?
Obviously the hammer would be the rational approach, but what about the screwdriver and rock? Wouldn’t they work? The answer is that yes they would, but never as well as the hammer. The hammer would make quick accurate and clean work of pounding in the nail, while the screwdriver will take much longer and be much more difficult. The rock works, but also scrapes and gouges the board. The paper and salami are right out. Some people might argue that their head would work to pound in the nail, but I will stop short of comment here.
I am going out to take a walk. Should I bring my walking stick, or the spey rod...
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The right tool for the job.
Posted by Erik Helm at 11:01 AM
Labels: fly fishing, Smallmouth Bass, Spey
I am a middle aged hyper-creative writer, angler, and hopeless romantic.
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My head WILL pound in a nail. Well Said.