May 24, 2012 —
In the past two weeks, one thing and another has prevented me from going trout hunting. First, doctors and dentist appointments, then an afternoon spent with Misako Ishimura, which gave Barb and me each the opportunity to say good-bye to Mark Romero by dropping a handful of his ashes into Stewart Brook. Thus, Mark’s remains were started on a slow journey down the Catskill waters that he loved. He was a long time member of Theodore Gordon Flyfishers and served for many years on their conservation committee.
After that, it was important to mow the lawn before it turned into a hayfield. Then came torrential rains, that turned our local streams into dirty brown torrents. If our current pleasant weather holds for a few more days, water levels should soon be back to normal for this time of year.
Unfortunately, after Dr. James J. Turro finished examining the pictures of my ailing right knee, he sternly suggested rest combined with a large bag of frozen peas, which was to be applied to the knee. He also told me, “no wading around in trout streams for the next two weeks.” Rats! Doctor Jim is not a fly fisher, or he would have realized that those days are, as R. Palmer Baker once called them, “the sweet of the year.”
I am certain that the little lady that I live with will do her best to enforce the doctor’s orders. Hmm, I know of a few pools where while sitting on the bank there will be enough room behind me to allow for a back cast. Then again, some days Barbara Ann elects not to go fishing. If I am very careful and lean on my wading staff, surely a few careful steps into the flow can be managed. Should I come home limping worse than when I left the cabin, my failure to obey “doctor’s orders” would immediately be discovered. In which case, I would have to face the wrath of Barbara Ann. In this situation discretion would be the better part of valor.
I recently read an article describing how high tech has helped the venerable House of Hardy, that fine old British tackle maker, build a better fly rod. Graphite fly rods are made of ribbons of graphite carbon fiber bound together with various resins. Working with the 3M Company, Hardy now impregnates the resin with silica spheres as small as 100 nanometers, in effect lubricating the carbon fibers with miniscule bearings.
The result, according to Hardy, is said to be a spectacular combination of strength and flexibility, which will enable a fly line to be cast easily and with great delicacy. Hardy is experimenting with nano particles as small as two nanometers in its next series of fly rods. This use of high technology is quite amazing. However, I doubt it will convince me to sell my bamboo fly rods. Bamboo does not have to be impregnated with teeny, tiny, silica spheres. A bamboo fly rod is the epitome of an organic tool.
At a recent gathering of bamboo rod makers, I cast an eight-foot, three-piece rod, that cast a three, four, five, and six weight line perfectly. If someone had merely told me that such a rod existed, I would not have believed it. The maker of the rod, Rick Robbins, calls this model “The Holy Grail.” The only problem is he has a waiting list as long as an alligator’s tail for this rod. If only I was a younger man.