Mike Heritage FFF MCI UK

Fly casting and talking fly casting bollox

Retro

I started fishing in 1971, on my honeymoon. I had just paid for our wedding and we couldn’t afford to go away. I spotted a for sale advert in a local paper, fishing tackle £5. I bought it. A sit on tackle box, a fixed spool reel, floats, split shot and a solid glass rod. We married in August and we spent the next two weeks sitting on various parts of the royal military canal, Heather sunbathing and me catching the occassional gudgeon. I don’t recall when exactly fishing became an obsession, but it did. I am prone to obsessions. Anyway, of course I needed ‘proper gear’ and a rod was first on the list. After some homework I decided to buy a kit from Walkers of Hythe, A spit cane ‘Avon’, so I built my first rod. I still have it somewhere in the loft. I don’t remember why I bought split cane, fibre glass was around, the new super duper material for fishing rods. I fished with the Avon for some time, maybe a couple of years but I kept seeing people with their glass rods so I had to get one. I chose a fibre tube blank and built my second rod. I started beach fishing, I built a Glass beach rod bought from Going Bros in Southend as a kit. I bought a glass ABU something or other that had the fastest taper on the market at the time (I was obsessed by distance). Sometime in the mid/late seventies I was so obsessed by fishing that the close season was unbearable and I decided to give trout fishing a go to fill it. I bought another fibre tube blank and built a fly rod. I might tell you a story about that rod sometime. Fly fishing was just a filler in of the coarse close season. All during this period I was an avid reader of Angling Magazine which covered all aspects of fishing, coarse, sea and game. A brilliant magazine (I have the entire collection, even the pre Angling Creel magazine) edited by Brian Harris. There were reviews of the new wonder material, carbon fibre, but it was very expensive so I had no interest in buying a carbon rod, glass was fine with me, until, one day, I was fishing with Dave Collyer, who wrote the fly tying articles in Angling Magazine and he said he wanted to sell one of his carbon rods. Yes, of course I bought it. And every rod, for whatever purpose, has been carbon fibre ever since. For coming up to forty years I have only bought carbon rods.

Suddenly we seem to be going retro and Fibre Glass is the new kid in the block! I have cast a few of these things and, yes, they cast, but feel soft, noodley, tip heavy, horrible things, yuk, yuk, yuk. Why some people are raving about the bloody things is beyond my understanding. Or, it was until a couple of weeks ago when I cast another one. If I had been blindfolded and asked what I thought the rod was I think Glass Fibre would not have entered my head, there was nothing yucky about it.

When carbon was new there were some terrible rods being sold and it took years before it became difficult to find horrible rods (I used to look for them at shows but haven’t found one for years). Perhaps it will be the same with the new glass rods, there will be a lot of dross to wade through before they become consistantly good, like the one I cast. Time will tell if this is just going to be a marketing fad or we have a serious contender to carbon.

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