Anyone who has fished with me over the past couple of years will attest that I am a bamboo guy. Plain and simple, I just love everything about it.
So, about a month ago I won a graphite rod in an online contest. A four piece, nine foot, five weight. Yippee….would have been better if it was boo, but I digress….
On Good Friday I took the aforementioned rod out for the first time just to see how it fished. Typical graphite rod. Stiff, light, quick, with no “soul” to it; but it caught the heck outta fish so I gave it a two thumbs up and filed it away.
After church, I drove up to the Clinch for what I figured would be a three hour cruise.
Not wanting my boo to sit in a hot car for three hours, I grabbed the graphite I had won and took off. The river was populated, but not crowded, and I stepped in loaded with my personal fly setup of choice. Five or six casts and the first fish was on. Then another, then another, then another. Then…as could only happen on a great fishing trip. My nice sleek, ultra modern, fast action, multi section plastic rod, shattered. When I say shattered I mean it. One section split and splintered all to crap as I was playing a fish. Finally brought the fish to hand and assessed the situation. I had caught fish, very nice fish indeed, but stupid me didn’t bring a backup. So…here I stood in great water with a rod that was useless.
So, not really expecting to do anything else, I started playing. I took the tip section, which is something like 30”, would let the river load it, and then cast it up river. It wasn’t pretty, but I finally got to where I could effectively cast 25-30’. Caught three fish, all over 14”. And in a moment where the ego is fed a four course meal, there was a guy fishing just down stream who had stopped to watch.
“What are you fishing with?”
The gentleman shook his head and continued fishing.
My phone then rings. My wife tells me that she will be at a friends house till dark so I should just stay and fish till dark. WHAT?!?!?!? The one time that she has given me carte blanche to stay on the river hours longer than I expected and I am standing there trying to fish with a freakin rod tip? Oh the injustice of it all!!!!
Then in a moment of clairity that could only be paralleled by Moses and the burning bush, it came to me.
In my pack I have some water balloons. They make great strike indicators with big bugs on choppy water. I walked over to the bank, and with some streamside engineering managed to get the rod pieces together and bound it tight by using a water balloon, stretching it as tight as I could. It worked like a champ.
Four more hours of fishing. All together I caught better than 20 fish and a rainbow that was bigger than any I have pulled from the clinch. Even bigger than the big ones from Good Friday. After seeing my backing and a tug of war, I got it to the bank and took a picture. I can’t wait to get the shot developed. A beautiful 22-24” rainbow and laying beside it is a no good piece of plastic adorned with a bright green water balloon.
I will send the rod back to be fixed/ replaced, but am more convinced than ever, that catching a fish on an old cane pole is nothing short of perfect.