I grew up fishing with my father, great grandfather, and occasionally my great uncle. It was primarily done on the lakes in the midlands and upstate of South Carolina. It was a very typical rite of passage for a southern boy.
When it was just my father and I, the main targets were largemouth bass. We both enjoyed the action of tossing lures all day. However, when my great grandfather was with us it was a different experience. Being born in 1896, and living thru both world wars, and the Great Depression, the idea of throwing back keeper sized fish was foreign to him. Grandma preferred crappie, or bream. However, catfish or bass would do. I spent many nights in a boat anchored near a creek channel or tied to a bridge snagging shad with a line of trebles to burn off the excess energy of my pre-teen youth.
Fast forward to my late teens, and along with the freedom a drivers license affords, mountain streams were discovered. This changed everything. It started slowly. With a spinning rod, a stocking schedule, and a few maps, a new world had just opened up. Being an adventurous soul, I eventually discovered that WILD trout live in damned beautiful places. It was also obvious that I had to learn to fly fish. This old book, ”A River Runs Thru It”, was about to become a movie, and catapult the fly fishing industry into the mainstream. So went the next couple of decades of my life.
As the years went by, I found the smaller headwater streams, with their rugged beauty and solitude was where I wanted to be. From time to time I would wonder if my “short” 7’9” Sage was the best tool for the job. I would now argue, it is not. The four piece 5’ Tenryu Integral that I purchased from Chris has restored the missing thrill of my adventures.
As all fishermen are liars, take this next bit as you may. I have been shocked by the size and quantity of fish that I am finding in places that I have fished dozens of times previously with a fly rod. I have never gotten caught up in how many fish I catch. For me an outing is about so much more than that. Curiosity is what pushes me up the next set of falls. Just being able to catch one fish in a stretch of stream to verify that yes, they do indeed still live here, is often all it takes. For me, a quality, short, portable spinning outfit is the perfect tool for this task. It has allowed me to verify suspicions that in the past have remained just that, suspicions. Thanks Chris, for taking the chance that those of us out there, do indeed exist.
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The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.