by Steve Schmidt
As a specialty fly-fishing shop there are distinct advantages to having our roots firmly cemented as a brick and mortar business with on-line sales capabilities compared to those who have just an internet presence; we have the pleasure and experience of working with customers in person, whether its casting on our lawn or fishing our local waters. When it comes to choosing fly rods this is critical, especially today given the myriad of very good options. Having the opportunity on a daily basis to work with customers casting rods comparing one rod to others before making a purchase is an ideal situation for all parties. For those who don’t have that luxury, the knowledge and experience we have gained through this process over 25 years will go a long way towards helping customers purchase just the right rod.
Selecting a fly rod is a personal decision that we respect, especially with fly rods being one of the more critical pieces of fly-fishing equipment you acquire during your fly-fishing life. With print media and the internet one can find many discerning opinions about what are the best fly rods, however mo
st don’t take into consideration or have the experience to consider what is the best fly rod for you? It’s not what our fly rod preferences are that matter; it’s what rod do you feel is right for you. It’s much easier to get to that point if you can cast rods, a little more challenging when you can’t.
If you don’t have the chance to cast a fly rod our acquired experience and knowledge is invaluable when it comes to helping you narrow your selection down. Although internet sites, including our own, have a lot of info on their products, interviews, along with some personal experience, what they don’t have is the hands-on part of the process, a part of the equations we’ve been doing with success longer than most. To make up for this many sites entice you with a free fly line in hopes of getting you to make a purchase. We’ll give you much more than that over time; years of experience, and our heart and soul.
For me personally, I don’t read much marketing print on fly rods. I do read some of the internet shoot outs on fly rods and other products and always find them interesting and offering some useful information, but for the most part their rants don’t break their findings down to where you can make a good decision. After all you’re making a decisi
on based upon their preferences, not yours.
Fly rods are sooo good these days. A good one truly adds to your fly-fishing experience; light, sensitive in the hand, and simply enjoyable to cast. The variety of new fly lines also has helped make any fly rod perform better, but that is another subject and matter for later. 20-25 years ago there were some good fly rods around, but not in the numbers or consistency that we enjoy today. You would have thought that after all these years that rod makers would be maxing out their abilities when it comes to new offerings. As evidence of the new Sage ONE rod or the introduction of boron into some of Winston’s fly rods, fly rods today are still being redefined.
Although there is some consistency in fly rods that individuals choose, those choices are sometimes for different reasons; feel, weight, grip, casting ability, fishing preferences, water types, or simply brand loyalty. Once you address these important considerations consistently most pull the trigger on a fly rod based upon how they feel. For me it’s often quite obvious when a rod fits a customer and it really doesn’t matter what ones ability is; there is an ease of casting, consistency in the loops and certain level of comfort that one arrives at when one casts a rod that suits them. Given the choices today, you should never have to get use to a rod.
Having just returned from my 4th year fly-fishing the challenging and diverse waters ofArgentina, I have been on the search for two rods that would perform better than the rods I currently own. The bulk of my trout rods are quite slow and in Argentina these rods make my life a challenge, so I’ve been trying to find a couple of faster rods that will perform better in the wind, often times throwing bigger bugs, and having to handle some rather hefty trout. After 3 years I finally found what I was looking for. In the process I cast lots of rods and fished even more before I pulled the trigger. I don’t own a lot of rods, which baffles many considering I’ve run Western Rivers now for 25 years. I love my fly rods; each one makes me want to go fishing. When you’re looking for a new rod whether it’s your first or one you need to fill a niche I and my staff want you to feel the same way about your rods, especially since a good fly rod today truly helps make your fly-fishing experiences more enjoyable.
This is a great time to be purchasing a fly rod. Not that there has ever been a bad time. Still one of my favorites is the first Winston I purchased back in the late 70’s. Back then, however there weren’t a lot of good choices and at $400 compared today’s prices and options it was very expensive. Today given what is out there it is pretty easy to find one that will make your days on the water more enjoyable. If you’re in the market for a and have the opportunity to visit Western Rivers, stop in grab a cup off coffee, we’ll figure a few things out then lets hit the lawn or a near by park and cast some rods. If you don’t have the good fortune of having a shop in your area, give us a call, we’ll go to great lengths to make sure we get the right rod in your hand.