Most of the fly fishing gear I’ve acquired over the years has been from the upper end of the $$$ spectrum. My most recent purchase was the two-hander with all of the necessary gear to go with it. When you tally up that purchase it was pushing $1400. It would have been much more but I scored on the reel.
I’m wondering though if using expensive fly fishing gear is a kin to driving a 1966 Pontiac GTO to pick up groceries. The end result is that you fill the fridge with milk, eggs, and cheese. You could have done that riding the bus. I betcha though…the ’66 GTO added a little something to the experience.
One of the usual suspects I fish with doesn’t own a rod or reel that costs much more than a C-note or two. I think the smile on his face says it all. It ain’t all about what kind of stick you’re waving.
Nice fish | Photo by T. Satake
Same goes for my wife. Her rod, reel, backing, and line cost less than one of my high end sticks. She once out fished me [actually I got worked]. She put on a clinic. That day she kept giving me crap about how incredibly sweet her $200 rod was. Wait…didn’t I teach you how to fly fish. I must just be a great teacher.
So what am I gaining with the $650+ rod and $500+ reel? Performance…that’s right! That’s not just canned marketing hype. Whenever I run into someone who tries to tell me that the tools don’t matter…I politely hand over my stick and let them toss a few loops. 10 times out of 10 they change their tune real quick. Nice huh?
I’ve cast a few rods over the years and can tell you that there is a difference between top shelf and bottom shelf. I’m wondering though if middle shelf is good enough. Damn, my wife is going to read this and there goes my chance at picking up a Burkheimer 8139.
Don’t get excited honey, let me explain. Circumstances over the past few years have forced me to become more prudent about how I spend those dollars I work so hard for. I still want all of the stuff on the top shelf…it’s just a little harder to afford. What took me X amount of time to accumulate the funds to make a purchase now takes me 12 times as long. Not only that, the prices seem to be going up and up each year. F!@#ing inflation.
So recently I’ve been looking into mid-range gear. Rods that cost less than $500 and reels that go for around $300. Still a lot but I’m hoping the performance is still there. Here is some gear that has caught my eye.
Scott E2 in a 10 foot 6 weight [E21006] will run you $495. Their warranty service however leaves something to be desired according to the crew at MoldyChum.
Beulah rods [single, switch, or two-hander] will run you less than $450. Word is that Bob Meiser helped develop the Beulah Switch series. That speaks volumes considering Meiser is the godfather of switch. The 10’6″ 4/5 [$380] would be a great rod for the smaller Southcentral streams.
You hear nothing but good things about Nautilus reels. I know the Neil Creek Chronicles sports a Nautilus and if it’s good enough for the Chief Svengali, it’s good enough for yours truly. The Feather Weight series looks like a real winner topping out at $345 for the Plus size model. Hey…extra cushion for the push’n costs a little something extra.
So I guess I’m going to have to spend some time at the fly shop conducting some research. Either that or I’m going to have to get a second job.