Saturday, April 19, 2014

Old School

     So what is old school and how old does it have to be?  One of the reasons I'm attracted to fiberglass is 'cause it's as old school as plastic can be.  Truth be known I've known it wasn't from the time I bought my first.  What I did know was its affordability last year and that it was the material of choice when I was in my teens.  But old school?  To me, back in 1963, it was hi-tech.
     Bamboo was the choice of the old guys.  Was around before my time and was what those old fellas in soft wool fedoras and Orvis vests had in their hands when I checked out the Field and Stream's in Ole's Barber shop.  Yup, there was an Ole who removed the hair of my youth.  Vince was a half block away and was way too cutting edge.  He was the first to take up Beatle haircuts.  For sure Vince wasn't old school.  Can't say I remember why I went to Ole.  Probably was told to.
     'Spose it's an attitude.  Usually new stuff performs better.  Whatever that means.  And graphite reflects the computer age perfectly.  There's a new line of it coming out every year.  And, of course, the new stuff is always an improvement from stuff of last year.  Seems every new line is flaunted as superior to the last.  Then twenty years later, the winnowing done, the truth out, most of that new and improved turns out to have been a mistake.  Like the Chevy Vega and Ford Pinto.  I expect there's a few fly rods out there that fit that bill nicely.
     Back in the nineteenth century there were greenheart rods.  Never seen any but I'm sure it was cutting edge.  Till bamboo came along then it became old school.  Guess there's always old school just like there's always the old army.
     What I'm driving at is the newest of the old school methods, Tenkara from Japan.  Stick, line and hook.  To be sure the stick is long, a dozen feet or more (3.76171437 meters or so. Being japanese it's gotta be precise).  Mainly it's designed for small mountain streams but I figure it could be made to work in a canoe.  No one in the instructional videos seems to be fishing it that way.  Makes it even better for me.  Long stick, short canoe, strange old man cackling insanely.  How perfect.
     Best of all the technique is as old school as pole fishing can be.  Long stick, line tied to the tip, no reel, no guides.  And the rod is telescoping.  Foot and a half long when collapsed.  Combine it with a small box of flies.  Float the canoe in quietly, flip the fly out and hang on.  Maybe.  Don't know how a rig designed for tiny mountain trout would do for a six pound bass.
     Oldest of old school unless you were noodling for catfish.  There is a catch, a fly in the ointment.  All of the rods I've seen are made from graphite, the best from state of the art material and priced accordingly.  So that puts me back on square one.  So what is old school for tenkara fishing?  And I don't have a clue.  Cane pole?  Damn.  I don't want to do no stinkin' cane pole fishing.

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