I was rooting ’round my rod collection the other day when I came across a glass rod which had been given to me about 20 years ago. It’s an Abu Lapplandia Zoom 8’6 #6 2 piece which was given to me [along with an Abu Delta reel – now sadly lost] by an old friend.
As this rod was already old when I got it I never really gave serious consideration to using it in anger. Oh sure, I waggled it about a bit and made the odd cast on the lawn but when it was time to load tackle for a trip the Abu has always stayed in the cupboard – until last Saturday.
I don’t know why I made the decision to fish with this rod [in hind-sight it may have been a latent masochistic tendency asserting itself] but Saturday afternoon saw me rigging it up near one of my favourite stretches of river. My first impression was that by modern standards this rod is incredibly heavy, as hinted at by it’s construction. The blank is quite thick and chunky and the ferrules look positively agricultural. The action was not as slow as I had anticipated and it was more than capable of punching out a really good roll cast with very little effort.
The main problem I had was in achieving an accurate and delicate presentation. Anyone who has witnessed my frantic thrashings will know that I am no expert when it comes to casting a fly but I do normally get my fly into the correct county. I really struggled with this rod. I continually over compensated for inaccurate casts and more often than not the fly would land with a displacement of water normally only seen at Sea World in Orlando. I wrestled the beast for almost an hour before it got the hang of what it was supposed to be doing and we proceeded upstream.
The river was very clear and the fish extremely spooky; dark shapes sped off upstream with every footfall. Of course, this had nothing to do with my elephantine tramplings and stumblings – just naturally spooky wild fish; yeah – right!
I needed to calm down so I sat with a cuppa and took a good look around. The Dippers are still in residence but the Kingfisher family seem to have moved on despite the river being stuffed full of fry. Summer is definitely in it’s last throes; pale leaves are already falling in large numbers but they haven’t yet taken on the russet hues of true Autumn – won’t be long though.
It seems I hadn’t scared all of the residents off upstream, there was a good Grayling ‘on the fin’ just a rod’s length from where I sat so I tossed the PTN a few yards upstream of him and smiled as he darted forward to take it. I lifted into him and watched him roll across the current, fat and fit after a summer of gorging on the rivers abundance. And then he’s off and I’m left with that awful slack line feeling. I moved on.
High sticking the riffles and dead drifting the deeper runs I made my way up to the new weir. The take, lift, fight, spit performance repeated itself half a dozen times – I didn’t bring a single fish to the net. Was it me? Was it the rod?
Back at the car I put the beast back into it’s bag and there it has remained. I doubt that I’ll be repeating my experiment with vintage tackle. I’m fairly sure that a liberal application of Ralgex will cure the sore shoulder eventually 🙂