New Gear - Locked & Loaded

Have you ever been sick, only to get better and realize how sick you really were? Using that analogy, I can say that this was the case with my old gear, which I have fished hard for the better part of 12+ years. And when I say hard, I mean it. I don't baby my stuff - I'll ride it like a rented mule, and then ride it some more for good measure.

I know, I know - most cool,  serious anglers have a stable of rods and reels that they use. Good for them - I celebrate the fact that I'm not like those other kids. My angling philosophy is unorthodox and my style is my own - plus, being a tail-water hound, I can usually get away with the one-size-fits-all mentality.

Tangents aside, it was time. Actually, it was time a few years ago, but the last several trips to the river had convinced me that I was due for something new. Recent experiences include:
  • My old reel fell apart while fishing. Comical, but not a good thing. Plus it took an eternity for me to get it all back together again, mainly because I'm an idiot.
  • Periodically, the top half of my rod would fly off while casting - again, funny as hell to see happen, but not very productive. The 'loose' tip also severely affected the rod's action, which subsequently hosed up my cast (as if it wasn't hosed enough on it's own merit), which in turn resulted in....
  • Casting fatigue, which was becoming more pronounced this past year, and....
  • Increased line breaks from hammering my cast because the rod action wasn't quite up to snuff.
  • Plus, the grip is more weathered, worn and cracked than Mickey Rourke's face in HD.
It's served me well over the years, and has seen action on untold rivers, across 7 western states and British Columbia. It almost got to go to Alaska one year, but due to work conflicts, we had to miss that. I've had amazing days on the water, and some not so amazing - yes sir, a ton of mileage and a lot of great memories. And unlike other past experiences, no baggage.

But, it was time for a new rod - one that would share the next decade with me on the water, in humiliating fashion. I knew what I wanted, I just needed to find one that I liked. So I compared and shopped and when I had it narrowed down, I settled on a nice TFO Finesse 5w. And what's a new rod without a new reel? Perhaps a Lamson Litespeed 2? Yeah, baby! That's what I'm talking about - 'smooth like buttah', to paraphrase an East Coast friend of mine.

Getting my gear home, I took it for some test runs in the front yard, and I'll admit, it took a lot of casting (with a much lighter touch) to get used to the new feel and action - but once I dialed that in, it was pure heaven. It's obvious now how hard I was working these past few years on my old stuff - the difference is like night and day.

So now I'm set - I've got a new supply of split-shot, re-stocked my leaders and tippet, and will be tying up a new supply of flies (since I lost so many last time). To say I'm anxious to get back on the water is an understatement - I'm seething with bad intentions, mostly to retrieve my Man Badge, but also, to break-in my new toys. 

"By the pricking of my thumbs..."


Linda said...

We are all happy for you Ron!

Colorado Angler said...

Ah yes - sarcasm is it? Hmmmm...I see there are other evil forces in the world, besides myself. This changes things....

Unknown said...

Don't let them drag you down man! I have been on the water 80+ days a year for almost 20 years now and I still only have 3 rods! My very first 5 wt. Orvis (that I haven't used in 15 years), my 5 wt. Winston and my 2 wt. Scott rod (that I built custom about 12 years ago).

Only ever owned 2 good reels that have both been in employment for 10+ years (my Ross and my JRyall).

I say, "if you buy good equipment and take care of it there's no need to be the macho 'penis bragger' that has more rods than he can ever use in a year".

Keep it real son! Let your fish do the talking.

Colorado Angler said...

HAAAAA! "Penis Braggers'! HA!

Nicely put, Jeff!

I guess if I fished a lot of different waters it would make sense to have a ton of gear - since I mainly stick with tailwaters, a medium action 5w works great.

How's your 2 wt fish? Lately I've been mulling the idea of building a custom rod. Perhaps over this winter...

Unknown said...

I love my 2 wt! It's by far my favorite and there is really not much it can't do. Sure it's not the best in heavy wind, or with heavy nymphs, but people give you a bunch of stuff about 2 wt's not being able to "handle" fish out west.

I have landed a 19 lb. King Salmon on my 2 wt. with 5x in under 20 minutes (we were fishing for big rainbows hanging out behind the kings and I accidentally hooked one), and numerous other large fish without at all "playing" them to death.

The truth is, if you use it right you can put just as much pressure on big fish with a 2 wt. as any other rod, and because they are softer they protect the tippet much better.

Plus, catching anything in the 6" to 18" range is awesome on a 2 wt... and, if you like sight nymphing or delicate dry fly fishing that is the rod for you.

Have I convinced you yet?
Just make sure you get one that's over 8'6". When they get too short they get pretty squirrelly.