Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Still Life with Fly Rod

I am fortunate to have recently acquired a new hand-made cane rod by the master Joe Balestrieri. It is a modified Paul Young Princess taper, a 7' for a 4 wt with a wet fly tip and a dry fly tip. It has a lovely parabolic action that casts beautifully! I thought a little photo montage was in order with a few of my thoughts on the subject. Enjoy! Joe's rods can be found here: Redwing Fly Rods
Quotations Copyright 2015 Erik Helm 

A bamboo fly rod is unique, like a fine musical instrument. One must smell it, touch it, listen to it, and get to understand what it is in its essence. Only then when one casts in graceful symbiosis with the rod, will one make the most exquisite music.

Cane rods are like a fine wine. They are not intended to be consumed in quantity, but sipped and savored. The line rolls off the tip with the same personality as a wine rolls off the tongue and thus stimulates the taste buds. The shape of the line going out can be compared to the aftertaste of a wine, each having hidden aesthetics.

Plastic rods of the same model all look the same and cast the same. Imagine how boring the world would be if women were the same way.

There is something about a rod made from natural materials of bamboo, walnut, silk, and natural oils. The rod seems to have more depth, as one can look at it and almost see through to its soul. It has a richness and luster lacking in any materials made by man.

Art is not to be found in commodity. It is found in the personality of the maker which is infused into the finished product, of which he or she is proud, and almost doesn't want to let go of. Art comes in small and quiet places. It cannot exist where there is noise.

There is no other joy in angling as satisfying as when we catch a trout on a fly we tied, with a hand made rod, in a place where we had to find by ourselves, with our eyes and feet and mind.

If angling is the contemplative sport, as Mr. Walton would have us understand, that contemplation should not be on the final destination, but upon the path that led us there. Let that path not be the easy one nor the commonplace, but one of inner discovery and learning, for that much the better when the fish is finally brought to hand.

Scotch and bamboo rods should be well aged, and enjoyed together.

Let the fly that graces the end of your line not be an insult to the fish.

Each bamboo rod has a unique resonance, like a cello. It can be felt in the cast as the cello sings to Bach.

Don't fight a bamboo rod. After all, the bamboo is a grass, and all grass is impervious to wind. As the wind sings, the bamboo bends. reflect on a gentle breeze on a warm summer evening offering a coolness with a slowly rising and falling breath, and the rod will be yours to command.

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