Classic fly reels. Click to view
Inventory! Ug, crunch time; a year end annual labor of counting inventory, cleaning and sniffing out the shop’s nooks and crannies to hopefully achieve a final tally and bottom line figure. Unfortunately time has passed us by and we are still on the “old school” program, manually counting with ten fingers and ten toes. Even though there is much madness to our primitive inventory methods; according to our good friend and accountant for the past 20 plus years, our system works for us. As pain staking as it may seem it is a great opportunity to see, touch, and tally first hand, what sold, is available and or what needs to be tossed into the blow out bargain bens or slashed and burned (donation freebees). An old country fashioned formula that helps give us a sense of direction to better fulfill your needs and maintain our slogan, “the little shop with a fat inventory.”
While backing up some final figures in the attic, I’d like to share with you a rare forgotten find I discovered. Hidden among boxes of fly tying materials and misc. merchandise back stock I stumbled upon a rod tube I had stashed 20 plus years ago. In it was a rod collection of the past that included my fathers 9’ # 8-9 Wt. glass Shakespeare Wonder Series (dating back to 1957-58 when he lived/fished in Alaska and Kodiak), 81/2’ #6-7 Wt. glass Wright-McGill (my first steelhead/shad fly rod dating back to 1970-71), 81/2’ #6 Wt. glass Fenwick, 8 1/2’ 4 Wt. glass Winston, 9’ #6-7 glass J.K. Fisher and a 9’ #6 Wt. graphite J.K. Fisher Classic 100. The lucky find blew me away and forced a serious time out.
Vintage selections-just add water
Wide-eyed and like a kid in a candy store I assembled and marveled at each one; reflecting back upon the era of power, slow load, full hoop strength and flex. Each serving a purpose and designed for specific waters. If my dad’s Shakespeare Wonder Rod could talk of the many Alaskan salmon-steelhead-rainbows it landed during the cold war when Alaska was still a northwest territory and had not yet been admitted to the United States. 1970 was the year I landed my first steelhead on the fly (Trinity River) while fishing my lucky Eagle Claw Wright-McGill. The Winston glass rod was the first fly rod I ever built; purchasing it directly from Tom Morgan back in the early 70’s and when Winston Rod Co. was still located in San Francisco. Putah Creek was only 20 minutes from my house and the Winston complimented its unmolested waters. The Fenwick rod was an all around, when in doubt stick—used to catch Bass, Bluegill, Trout, Shad and even Squawfish; the auxiliary, back up or spare for your friends willing to give fly fishing a try. (Fly fishing wasn’t exactly the most popular happening during the late 60’s-early 70’s with my age group).No bones about it the J.K. Fisher Glass was my steelhead/salmon work horse. The power and progressive flex permitted me to fish a variety of fly lines (floating-sinking-shooting-heads) as well as heavier flies. From 1970 through 82 I applied its delivery and strength on fabled steelhead rivers from Ca. to interior B.C. with full confidence. The J.K. Fisher Graphite was the first graphite rod I owned and built. The power and fast action, when compared to glass, permitted me to fish a variety of techniques and flies and ultimately became a personal all around favorite.
Most 2011 anglers will be moving forward casting new rod designs and composites as well as field trying the latest technology applied to waders/boots/softwears/misc.fishing equipment, tools and gadgets. After my vintage discovery, I’ve vowed to step back in time and revisit the era and waters that lured me to my current lifestyle. When free time and conditions permit I plan on fishing what I had shamelessly stashed and abandoned for all these years. Matched up with vintage favorite reels, lines, flies I plan on fishing these classics on favorite waters. A highlight that also taught me it is truly a blessing and ultimate stoke to experience and appreciate God’s gift of sweet waters, the forests and all the creatures that live within. (See ya out there!)