Having been involved in the fly-fishing ‘Industry’ for quite awhile now, I have seen, wiggled, cast, and fiddled with literally hundreds of split-cane rods. It is a weekly occurrence to have a customer come into the shop with an old stained rod sock and pull out a cane rod for evaluation. Many want to fish a legacy, as it used to belong to Grandpa, or they found it at a rummage sale for a song and now want it matched to a reel and line. Of the rods I have handled, 99% are rather awful. The reason why is simple.
So I raise a glass of fine claret in salute to Joe Balestrieri the artist and craftsman, the rod he built for me, the joy of fishing with it, the feeling of a delightful coming together or symbiosis of aesthetics, power, and restraint: a tool worthy of the fish we pursue in beautiful places, and a rod that elevates the fly-fishing experience from the near mundane to the moving feelings of high-art.