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Two Kids and a Broken Fly Rod

June 18, 2017


Earlier in the day I zoned out for a few minutes and reminisced about the past while listening to some 90's Alternative Rock on YouTube. Some of those songs instantly take me back in time, even if for just a few short seconds. The 90's were to me what the 50's were to my parents....the best!


During my zombie-like trance, I thought about some of the good fishing days gone by— stuff like striper fishing with my dad when he was in better health, bass fishing with buddies I now see maybe once or twice a year, and stream-hopping in the Sierras during summer vacation. Damn, I wish I could go back and experience those days again, but like a swift slap across the face, reality strikes.


Those old memories are great, and some of them are downright hilarious!


One of those times that still makes me laugh involved my friend Ryan (if you're reading this, what's up!). I've known him since Kindergarten (right about 30 years now—yikes!) so we've hung out a bazillion times. I can't say we've fished a TON together, but from catching leopard sharks off the pier to playing baseball in the front yard, we've definitely had some good times on and off the water. Ryan also had the distinct honor of standing right next to me when I broke my first rod!


Rewind back to about 1994 or so when he was over at my house one afternoon. We were doing normal "boy stuff" like running around the yard, playing ball, and probably annoying neighbors in the process. I was maybe two years into fly fishing and had just acquired my first quality fly rod. It was an Orvis Rocky Mountain "Flea" which (if memory serves me right) was a 6'6" 4-weight. I've always had a thing for ultra-light rods, and I had wanted one of these badly. Ryan was interested in fly fishing too, so in between causing a ruckus outdoors I went in the house to fetch the Flea and brought it outside to show him.


I loved this stick, and Ryan was equally impressed when I brought it out to him. He trout fished up in Montana a few times a year and had a similar interest in small spinning and fly rods. After we tossed some line around the backyard for a while, I decided to impress my buddy by showing him how strong my new Orvis rod was. If I was much older it definitely would've been one of those "hold my beer and watch this" moments!


With the reel's drag cranked down to the max, I grabbed the line coming off the rod tip and put a healthy bend in the rod.


Then a little more. Then a wee bit more. With the rod now doubled-over in a shockingly-deep U-shape, I felt increasingly bold and tugged the line just a bit harder. The rod had proven impressively strong, but I now had pushed it past the breaking point....literally. KAPOWWWW! My 2-piece rod was now in 2.5-pieces. Oops.


I haven't busted many rods in my life, but when it happens, my reaction isn't what you might envision. No screaming. No crying. No cussing. I just stand there motionless for several seconds staring blankly at what just happened. And that's precisely what I did here. At that time, however, I'm pretty sure Ryan busted out in immediate and uncontrollable laughter. I'm also pretty sure I eventually joined right along with him. Telling mom wasn't going to be so funny, though!





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