Published Jun 29. 2021 - 3 weeks ago
Updated or edited Jul 25. 2021

A lousy old fly rod

Some years back I had to fish with the oldest and worst fly rod I ever owned... and you know what? It wasn't bad at all.

Fishing on Bornholm
Fishing on Bornholm
Kasper Mühlbach

Many years ago during a week-long fishing trip to the Danish island Bornholm, I had to go home before planned. My then boss had some kind of crazy “I’ll show him who’s in power” attack and called me, ordering me home right away. I had to book a plane ticket and fly home the same day The ferry trip would take all night) and meet in the next morning to discuss some absolutely minor detail in a budget I had handed him before I left on my fully legal vacation, which I had announced in good time and cleared with everybody including him and my employees.

Since I was fishing the coast for a week, I had brought all my coastal rods and reels (I didn’t have that many back then), and since I left in a hurry and on a plane, I let the gear stay behind and had one of the others bring them home once the trip was over.
So I had the meeting with my boss, and absolutely nothing worth mentioning happened or had to change in my budget.

Since I was still on vacation, I was free to fish, and called a good friend about going on a trip the very next day.
But with all my rods on an island in the Baltic, I was short on gear, and had to go to the farthest corner in the basement under our house and dig out my very first fly rod, which was the only one I had left behind suitable for a coastal trip.
It was a no name two piece rod, meant to cast a 6-7 weight line. I remembered it as a terrible rod, unable to cast worth *beep* and absolutely bad or mediocre in all ways: poor cork, lousy reel seat and all the wrong eyes and tip top. It had cost me less than 100 US$ including a cheap composite reel and a WF line the wrong weight for the rod.
But it was what I had, and if I wanted to fish that was it. I found an old System 2 reel in a suitable size and spooled on a shooting line and a shooting head, and was ready to go.

So, the next day I was ridiculed by my friend for wearing neoprenes (my breathable waders were also left behind) and fishing a cheap two-piece rod. He was of course using the latest and the greatest, dressed in breathables and looking all posh and dandy.

I went fishing here
I went fishing here
Martin Joergensen
Rods left behind
Rods left behind
Martin Joergensen

I rigged the rod and tied on a tippet and a fly, and dreaded the first cast with this rod, which I clearly remembered couldn’t cast at all.
But you know what?
It was excellent!
It effortlessly laid out exactly as much line as my newer rods, and handled very nicely in every way. I even caught fish, and clearly recall it doing a fine job fighting and landing them. I was slightly surprised, and handed the rod to my friend, who was also more than satisfied with its performance.

But you know what?
It was excellent!

So, what had happened? I remembered the rod as being really bad, and happily upgraded it to a much more expensive Orvis rod. Had the rod matured? Had I found the perfect line for it? Was it pure magic?
No, of course not. You as well as I know very well what had happened: I had simply learned to cast!

So, what can we learn from that?
Well first of all: learn to cast, and you’d be surprised how most gear will perform. Slow rods, fast rods, underlined, overlined, bad leader setup… you can master it!
Secondly: Don’t get a steady job working for a choleric boss. Stable fishing is more important than a stable job and a stable income. I had been self employed before I got the job, and continued being that when I stopped, and I have never regretted it once.

Any rod will do
Any rod will do
Martin Joergensen
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