Hi everyone, I recently found this board and have been really impressed by, and appreciative of, all the information. Here’s a little bit of my back story:
I have been away from fly fishing for about 20 years. Back in the day, I used to do a fair bit of fly fishing (primarily for trout), tied flies, and made some rods for personal use. I attribute my drift away from fly fishing to a move to the desert southwest (away from easily accessible fly fishing waters in northern California), to work, and to raising a family. Each year, as life happened, fly fishing slipped further and further off the radar. Recently, however, my interest in fly fishing has been renewed.
As to how I got here: Over the years, I have developed a bit of an affinity for “old stuff;” not just any “old stuff,” but “old stuff” that is well made and functional, that performs on par or better than new stuff, and that is a good value. While I am not devoid of nostalgia and sentiment, I tend toward the practical. I don't collect anything for the sake of collecting and I am happy to use good new stuff where performance and value favor it. I have 100+ year old hand planes in the garage along with modern Veritas hand planes, and vintage straight-razors that are in the shaving line-up along with modern razors. However, back in the days when fly fishing was one of two things always on my mind (pretty much pre-internet), my knowledge was limited to what I saw in fly shops and magazines; reels such as Martins and Pfluegers and fiberglass rods were not on the radar. In any event, my mindset back then was a little different, and I likely would have coveted the new and shiny anyway.
Having had my interest in fly fishing renewed, I started looking for a couple older reels to pair with rods I had on hand. As my first fly reel, a Daiwa SF 706 (which I still have), instilled a fondness for click pawl reels, my search veered in that direction. In researching various reels I kept finding myself back on this site.
I am sure you can guess what happened next: some older reels started arriving. Favorites of the bunch so far are the SA Concept 1 456s (big surprise! It is basically the Daiwa SF 706), Daiwa 730, and Martin MC56.
Of course, once reels significantly outnumbered rods, balance had to be restored to the universe. To that end, I finally got around to finishing a 7½ foot 4 weight IM6 graphite rod that had been sitting in the rod wrapper for nearly 20 years. I also started reading about vintage fiberglass rods on this site. This led me to dip my toe into vintage rod waters. A Narmco Conolon F88 recently arrived and I have two more vintage glass rods on the way - an Actionrod 1580 and a Cortland PRF-2000 (my first fly rod, which I still have, was a Cortland GRF 1000).
All my prior experience is with graphite, although I do prefer a more moderate action rod. I want to love that Conolon, but the jury is out. On one hand, it is in pretty good shape and in fishable condition. It casts a WF6 (the heaviest line I currently have) fairly well and I like the action, but it would likely do better with something heavier. On the other hand, it is VERY tip heavy and unbalanced with the reels I have on hand (the WF6 is on a Ross Cimarron). Not very comfortable or enjoyable to cast. I need to find a boat anchor of a reel or some other way to counterbalance the tip weight or it will spend much more time on the wall than on the water. I am hopeful the other two, which are shorter, will be more enjoyable to cast with the reels I have on hand.
Anyway, huge thanks to this board for the information and for being a part in rekindling my interest in all things fly fishing.