24 May 2011
A new rod
Some entries ago I wrote that over the past winter I had a new fly-rod made for me by Bruce and Walker. It's the first and will probably be the only time in life that I've been lucky enough to be able to have a fly-rod made for me and incorporating some of my own specs. The rod's been specifically designed to handle most Irish sea-trout (and occasional salmon) fishing, and therefore had to throw a DT7 lightly as well as have the oomph to handle a WF8 intermediate. I also asked for a through-action and a sensitive tip; a matt finish; English snakes, hayfork tip-ring; a good-quality cork handle, an anodized reel-seat and a short extension butt. The rod's 10.5 feet long and in 4 sections, with spigot ferrules. It should fit - will fit - into the bottom of a clamshell travelling case, so that will keep airline costs down.
I took delivery of the rod earlier this month and I must admit I'm delighted. Early trials, during which I landed brown trout to around 3lb., promised well: I seemed to have plenty of control, and could cast tighter or wider loops with relative ease. The rod also has a pretty good recovery and is gentle on smaller fish. It should serve admirably as an Irish sea-trout fly-rod, and will no doubt be pressed into service in Scotland and elsewhere, i.e. on waters where the sea-trout typically run larger than in many parts of Ireland.
Other rods I've used with great pleasure over the years are various Loop models (I liked their Multi range, in particular), a Zpey 10-footer (which I still use - a great rod to use as a light double-hander) and a Hardy Marksman Drifter 10-foot 6-weight, which last is, I find, a super rod and really excellent for occasional dry-fly work on the river as well as lighter fishing from a boat.
For sea-trout fishing in general I find Falkus's advice generally sound: 'don't buy a cheap rod; don't buy a short rod'. I also find that control is far more important than distance. It's also practical to be able to cast accurately over both shoulders and/or with a switch or single Spey cast, so that you can deal with contrary winds and obstructions behind. That said, it's also occasionally necessary to throw a longish line, particularly in estuaries, so a rod that does the hard work for you is a great advantage. There shouldn't be any need to press - which is why the new rod promises so well.