Borrowing a fly rod is a sacred exchange. It is as old as time: the gift of lending, combined with the gift of trying. This sentiment may seem extreme, or perhaps even alarmingly overstated but for me, it is as I said. Borrowing a fly rod is in-part experiencing the feel of the rod, the magic infused into it from years, sometimes decades of use by someone and thoughtful care taking. It is less like using a rental car, and more like borrowing your grandmother's gorgeous ranch truck- it must be returned- intact at the very least.
Fly rods aren't replaceable, not really. A break can be repaired, like most bones, but a total overhaul is not dissimilar to hard drive wipe, in my opinion. What lives in the "hard-drive" of a fly rod are memories. The memories of hours walking together, hand on cork, sweet loops to rising and spooky fish, conversations, 'that one time, when so and so did that," or, "don't you remember when...", fish in the net, or big ole' misses, and long naps side by side all run the length of the rod. A borrowed rod has the wear of sweaty palms and sometimes bent guides. A borrowed rod is a partnership interrupted by an outsider. When fishing with loops, and floating flies you get to know the rod, the sensitivities, the old faithful, the true blue- performance quirks. It is also just a fly-rod, gathering dust, "so use it" I was told.
Photo by: Kigen
It took me a couple days to agree to fish the borrowed rod, and when the Hardy reel came with it, I was overwhelmed with responsibility and humility. I had to actively avoid the temptation to buckle them in for the drive up the hill. I compromised and put them in the backseat, tucked snugly between extra layer and lunch. I walked carefully, tried my best to be better than my developing skill set, and in the end this borrowed rod, helped me catch my first fish of 2020.
Thank you Logan!
Photo: by Kigen