Friday, December 13, 2013

Rod Shopping in the Ether

     Outside the window most everything is white.  Not the street of course.  There lies the tan stripe dropped by passing cars and trucks.  Yeah, I'm in the city sitting at a desk once owned by one of Lois' aunts.  It's where I sit these days to write.  Used to be up in what I consider my work and storage room. Tied lures and flies up there beneath the charcoal drawing Allan drew for one of his freshman classes.  A few years back I framed it in log edged oak.  The frame is a fittin' and rustic touch to a memory of the Canadian bush (where not a stick of oak can be found).  In the corner sat my rods next to small cabinets that held reels, tackle and tax forms.
     Not so at the moment.  Till they move into their new house my room is now shared by Matt and Luke.  Their Allan's boys.  They keep me young by wearing me out every day.  Not sure how that works but that's what I've been told.  For the moment I'll accept that as the truth.
     Seein' as how it's winter, top that with me not being an ice fisherman and you can see that my time on the water is limited to walking through snow each morning in the hope of living forever.  Doubt that'll happen but I'm not giving up.
     Sometime in each day I sneak off to ebay where I scope out what's new and available in the vintage fly rod world.  Doing so is kind of a teaser for me.  Do I need another rod?  Guffaw.  Truth is I don't turn up enough time to use the ones I've got.  But I still keep looking.
     Don't know why but the name Heddon draws me.  Like I've said earlier, it's fiberglass, not bamboo, that attracts.  Grew up with it.  And even in my canoe days I bought glass now and then.  My favorite rod was a seven foot, two piece, medium-heavy spinning rod made for Cabela's.  For pike it was perfect and could really buggy-whip a homemade spinner.  Might still be using it today if I hadn't snapped a foot of the tip off.
     When I owned the rod the idea of buying vintage fiberglass hadn't entered my pea brain as yet.  Didn't own or know how to use a computer.  Didn't want to.  Couldn't see the use for one.  Didn't know about ebay.  Didn't care.  Even if I had a computer and knew about ebay, I was still too young to see the value of old stuff.  Now that I'm old stuff myself I realize those '50s and '60s poles, 'specially the better ones, hold up better than flesh, be it horse or human.
     Now, Heddon isn't top of the line.  That perch is reserved for Phillipson.  And it's not number two, Fenwick holds sway there.  But still, Heddon is quality.  And the heart of the rod, its blank, is pretty much the same from top of the line to near bottom.  Price was, and is, ruled by the pretty parts, cork, decoration, line guides and name.  Mark IV sounds more upscale than Mark I but my research tells me there's not all that much difference.  Top that off with a winning bid that should sit between twenty and thirty-five bucks and you've got yourself a serviceable, quality rod for an unbeatable price in today's world.
     For now my few good rods will be staying at home when I head south.  Don't know if salt water would do anything to their metal parts but suspect it would.  The two that are packed in my traveling tube cost less than the tube.  'Course one was a gift from an old friend.  Sad to say the rod's in a lot better shape than my friend.  But seeing as how he's a died in the wool salt water man, I don't think he'd mind if I used the stick in the Gulf.

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