Sunday, September 7, 2008

This Old Rod

As I have grown older, I have become more enamored with with old things. Actually I have always had a streak of that in me. I have been a volunteer on a working pioneer farm and have been a history buff for many years. As a boy I loved to listen to the stories of my grandparents and their kin of the old days. I like browsing through old barns, cemeteries, battlefields, and antique stores.

In the last few years, that interest has grown stronger. I guess that is normal, but even if it isn't, I am enjoying it.

Regular readers of this blog may remember "Going Home", the story of going back to the farm where my mother was born, and where I lived on for a short time.
I mentioned in that piece that the pond next to the farm was where I caught my first fish on a fly rod.

My dad still owns that rod, now 52 years old (older than me, thank you for asking). I recently asked for the rod, and dad kindly shipped it to me so that I could try to restore it.

Here is what it looked like when I received it...this is the cork grip:
And the reel seat:

And the rod blank itself...
And the ferrules

The rod I think was originally 8' 6" long, but it was missing the last 6" of the tip, amputated in an unfortunate accident with a trunk lid (no, it wasn't me, thanks for asking). ;-)

For advice and techniques, I went to a great web forum, Fiberglass Flyrodders . I was directed this site by a fellow Trout Unlimited officer, who is passionate about old rods and reels, and who sold me my first fiberglass rod a year ago. The e members gave me great advice and encouragement.

I also picked up a couple of books, and read them both pretty thoroughly. After all, this rod was pretty special to me because of it's historic value to me and my dad and the milestones it had seen in our relationship.

It took a couple months, mainly because I didn't know what I was doing, and because I often procrastinated on steps until I felt fairly confident that I wouldn't louse up the job too badly.

Last week I finally finished the rod.

I stepped onto the sidewalk next to my house and for the first time in probably 40 years, I cast a flyline with it. This time I was older, and a much better flycaster, and an experienced fisherman. The memories and images rushed out as I cast.

For those who cannot relate, it would be like rebuilding your dad's favorite old car, and taking it out for it's first spin in the neighborhood. Well kinda.

Anywho, this is how it ended up looking. The reel is one identical to dad's that I bought on Ebay. I will fish with dad's reel, and keep this one in a box. It came with the original box and owner's manual, and looks cool on my gun safe.

My dream it to take it back to the old pond at the farm, just to see if there is still magic left in it.
Perhaps someday....


Sara Lisch said...

that kind of brought a tear to my eye (as MY last blog probably brought something else up from the gut)

Mark said... know that's my goal with this make someone cry after each post. ;-)

Seriously, I am glad you read it. I imagine most who come by my blog may not be flyfishers, and may not care about the rebuilding of a rod...but I think most of us like to have milestones that remind us of relationships and good times.

BTW, Harv would be jealous of me. I am writing this from the Marriot Sawgrass in Punta Verda, FL, right next to the The Players Stadium course here. We are surrounded by 5 courses. It's beautiful...but I'll be glad to get back to my honey. Flyin back tomorrow.

tdillow said...

AWWWW....lookin forward, can't wait!!!

BTW, that almost brought a tear to my also. That was very endearing! Your such an amazing writer.

LY ;)

Mark said...

Back atcha Babe!

momma p said...

Very cool. Great restoration. Way to turn back time.

Steph said...

Yep. Tears.