Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB
Fly Fishing The Millers - With over 30 years of fly fishing this river I will claim more knowledge and fish caught than anyone. There are over 40 miles of river and I will take you to the best sections and if you want to sections that never see another angler. Don't be fooled by those who say the Millers is a Spring and Fall river. I'll show you how to have great Summer action. The "EB of the Westfield" - Wild and beautiful is the only way to describe this river. There's a lot of water here but I know where to go to catch trout. After a trip you will too!! Solitude and trout IS the EB. The Swift - 20 trout days are not uncommon on this river if you know what to do and use. I'll show the way and you catch the trout. RATES - Full Day (6 hours) = $150.00 for one, $225 for two (lunch included). Half Day (three hours) $90.00 for one, $155.00 for two. Beginners Class - 3 hours ffor $90.00, all use of rods lines, reels included.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fiberglass And Graphite: A Short History And A Good Morning On The Swift.

My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things-trout as well as eternal salvation-come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy. NORMAN MACLEAN -A River Runs Through It



I met a young guy on the Swift last year who said that he was interested in buying one of those NEW fiberglass rods that are being offered. I mentioned how more companies seem to be getting BACK into the fiberglass business and he seemed puzzled. That's because he wasn't even born when graphite swept fiberglass aside over 40 years ago. It was a new material to him. Here's a brief history and a personal opinion.

Bamboo ruled the fishing rod business until just after World War ll. Bamboo came in all grades and sizes. Some were junk and some were treasures but they all had a certain limitation - 8 ft was the maximum length for a easy casting trout fly rod and that rod topped out with a 6 wt.(sometimes a 5 wt) fly line. The "odd" length of 7 1/2 ft was an American invention to make the lightest long rod possible. It stopped there.

Then came fiberglass and the mass producers of bamboo rods were doomed. Fiberglass was cheap, very strong and lighter than bamboo in most cases. Now, some fiberglass rods were also junk but some companies really ran with this material and made very good rods. Fenwick was one of them. Up until the late 1960's glass rod makers used metal ferrules just like the bamboo boys. Then Fenwick invented the SLIP ON ferrule (feralite) and that was a real game changer. In my opinion it was the most significant improvement in the manufacturing of rods EVER!!! Less weight and no dead spots!! But fiberglass still had it's design limits. increased length = increased weight was the main one. The best fiberglass rods for fly fishing for trout topped out at 7 1/2 ft.

My first quality fly rod was a 7 ft Fenwick FF70 for a 5 wt line. I caught a ton of trout with it under ALL conditions and actually thought that I may never need another rod (HAHA). Then came GRAPHITE!

There are certain times in ones life where one experiences something that is far greater than anything experienced before. My first cast of a graphite rod did that. It was 8 1/2 ft 5 wt that was the same weight as the above mentioned Fenwick. IT WAS SOOO LIGHT!! It loaded like a dream and shot line like a cannon. An added feature of that rod length was that now I could cast above tall bank side grass and shrubs, an act not done successfully with a shorter rod. In short order we were introduced to 9 ft and 10 ft rods and 4 wts and 3 wts. That's when things got crazy and that's for another post.

How does fiberglass stack up to graphite? It doesn't and that's my humble opinion. Fiberglass rod makers still run up against the 8 ft barrier (even with rod design improvements) but will charge you more than 10 times what I paid for that Fenwick 40 years ago and that Fenwick still casts the same as newer models. I still occasionally take out that Fenwick for a few casts on the Swift but it's retired and replaced by better things.

Ken

A very good Friday morning on the Swift getting Brooks and Bows on size 20 to 24 larvae patterns in less than 5 inches of water. I'll write about it later.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have that same Fenwick model that you mentioned. I think I'll try it out again soon.

Paul

BobT said...

I still have my Fenwick 8ft 5wgt-bought at Spag's circa 1980. I do use it to this day. It is a nice fly rod that suits my casting stroke-its landed more trout on the Swift for me than any other.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Bot T.

I also got mine at Spag's back in 1973. A starving college student who scraped together 30 bucks because I had to have it! That investment changed my life!!

Ken

BobT said...

I think I paid about $60 damn inflation back then....I miss Spags- it was an original-magic marker prices, the maze of aisles and huge bins of baseball gloves, footballs and basketballs it was such a cool place.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

BobT,

Spags was the BEST! They had every rod that you needed until fly fishers decided that they needed everything even if they didn't.

Ken

Falsecast said...

Oh man Ken, you exceeded yourself with this post. I feel thoroughly informed on a subject I know very little about. You know I like you and your blog, but I think posts like this are really informative. Please keep them up, fishing reports are great, but it's nice to learn something new as well. I learn a ton about fly tying which I don't do.

quick question:
I have a bunch or rods like most of us and am considering a guilty purchase. I don't know whether to go bamboo, or one of these newer fiberglass rods, some sort 3 wt (I don't fish smaller than 4wt) or what. My question is what direction would you suggest for a guilty purchase? Is bamboo overrated, I've only fished one a few times on a borrowed rod?

Spags was awesome! As as kid it was special day to drive out there to buy everything and a ton of plastic worms and Davedevils. It had it's own industrial smell...

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Falsecast,

Next to getting married and having children buying a top end rod is your most difficult life decision (haha). Bamboo, fiberglass or graphite????

First,take fiberglass off the list for the reasons mentioned on my post. - length limits and weight and not to mention todays outrageous pricing for a material that is fairly cheap.

Graphite is the best rod building material out there (as long as you want it, as light as you want it) BUT bamboo has soul and personality. Graphite and fiberglass are nothing to look at but bamboo is beautiful! It has it's length limits but if you like fishing the Swift with a 7ft or 7 1/2 rod (a good length for that river) then that casting stroke of a good bamboo rod is worth it. I have two and I still take them on a yearly spin. I should fish them more.

Where to find one? Google up the Swift River Rod company in New Salem Ma. Ron Taupier builds and restores bamboo and has some "classic" rods that were built by some great bamboo makers and totally restored. I saw a guy on the Millers two weeks ago with one of his Edwards "Quad Rods" (four sided instead of six sided) It was beautiful! He also builds rods from blanks. His prices are reasonable.

Buy bamboo if you can!

Ken

Falsecast said...

Thanks Ken - I agree with you and the stress of the decision. I was leaning Bamboo too, but what about an 8 1/2 ft? Two of my favorite rods are T&T's, a 7 1/2 ft and an 8 1/2. I am considering a bamboo from them too. Might wait for the FF show in Marlboro to connect, but thanks for the info! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Falsecast,

If you're going to stay with graphite why not go 9 or 10 wt where that material really out performs everything else?

You should own at least one bamboo rod in your life.

Ken