last year i had a chance to meet one of todays best bamboo fly rod craftsmen james reid. we fished an afternoon and i tried a couple of his rods the troutspey and the 883 salt special. you can see more about that great day on the water by clicking here.
soon after that day, i had my name on jame's "to do" list and earlier this year he completed an absolutely stunning 8' 5wt. hollow built fly rod with two tips for me. the rod has a beautiful splice joint which gives the two piece rod a better action, but can be a bit tricky to put together (more on that later).
i got the rod in early april but did not fish it until just this past week (sorry james). i didn't fish it for so long for several reasons. first, although i know it is made to be fished and i got it to fish it, that thing is such a work of art i had to get over the initial feeling like i would be taking the mona lisa out into the yard for a painting frisbee toss or something. also being that this is the first rod i have ever owned that had a spliced ferrule i was a bit apprehensive of my ferrule taping abilities (for good reason as it turns out!). lastly, i spent most of this year getting acquainted with my water master raft and going through the process of figuring out where and how i like to keep things accessible and (more importantly) safe on the raft. the last thing i wanted was for the end of my prized bamboo rod's life to come as a slow decent to a river or lake bottom. apparently i have different hopes for its demise than i have for my own.
so i let the rod sit in the corner (which is very unlike me and new rods) until i couldn't stand it anymore and had to take it out for a fish. i had become very comfortable and confident with my water master set up, the need to toss around the mona lisa had long overcome just admiring it by looking at it, all that was left was to tape it up and go fish... easier said than done.
i watched james video on taping a splice joint. looked easy enough and i did it fairly well on the dry run at home. when i got out to the water, however, it was not so simple. between the excitement of fishing, the fall coolness, and most of all having only done it once before, i ended up with perhaps the worse tape job since the invention of the splice joint.
it is amazing what can be done to masterpieces when in the hands of morons.
despite the alien cocoon that seemed to be connecting my rod together, the sections were connected solidly and i was ready to give it a go. i hung an abel classic on it which balanced it well. i used an airflo super-dri elite trout line and a nine foot hand tied leader.
if looking at the rod brought a tear to my eye, i was absolutely bawling uncontrollably after the first cast. i don't think i can even explain the feeling i got. it was in a word magnificent!
the leader was turning over the bugger i was using a bit more forcefully than i aesthetically liked so i added a couple more feet of tippet to the leader and it was absolute perfection!
who knew chucking a wooly bugger at rising stocked hatchery trout could be such an experience!
casting a rod like this, you can absolutely feel every minute that james spent building it. i know i am gushing but man this rod has soul.
my first, but far from last, fish on my j.m. reid 8052 standard trout. a little guy.
i spent the rest of the afternoon hunting down trout who dared give up their location by breaking the waters surface...
and j.m. reid bent.
per the article referenced in my last blog... no more hero shots for me. i never liked, and still don't like, taking pictures anyway so it won't be hard.
from now on i'll keep them wet... it is the least i can do for the creatures that bring me so much pleasure.
nearing days end under a northwest fall sky.
a slightly goofy looking, but extremely happy, old guy. thanks james for the ridiculously sweet rod. my brother, you are the ambassador of good times.
as james always says, "cheers".
brought to you by the good folks at Nervous Water Fly Fishers, Inc.
3434 Waialae Avenue Honolulu, Hawaii 96816