• Reeling in the years
    STAFF WRITER | May 05,2013
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    In the corner of my home office there are three fishing poles. One is a modern rod and reel – an Orvis 8½-foot, 4-weight that has yet to feel the bend of a good trout. But there is potential in the fibers of that rod that keeps me eagerly looking forward to the next trip to a river full of brook trout.

    That rod is the hope and promise of what’s to come.

    But, it’s the other two rods that keep me looking at that corner of my office and dreaming of outdoor adventures – both past and future. One is a Daiwa 6-foot, light-action spincast rod. Its reel long since gave up the ghost with mangled inner workings. The rod is nothing special and would mean nothing to a collector.

    To me, it’s a piece of who I am.

    It’s light blue, made of fiberglass in the USA.

    I remember it coming from a big-box type store – probably somewhere around 1977.

    Being blue and made in the United States were selling points to me when I got it.

    I was about 10 years old and I remember being quite taken with the fact the rod at “ceramic guides.” They looked cool and this rod just oozed with fish-catching ability.

    It was my pride and joy. Nobody was allowed to even carry that rod for fear they would jam the rod tip into something and break it.

    And it did catch fish. It accounted for lots of trout, including my first rainbow on a fly.

    I became bored with bank fishing – as most kids do. As I sat there, I watched trout surfacing within feet of the bank near an inlet 100 yards uplake.

    I reeled in and with my dad protesting, snipped off my bait hooks and tied some sort of fuzzy fly to the end of my monofilament and headed off up the lake.

    There, I sat and watched as the trout slowly began to feed again. I let out a bunch of mono and did my best to flip the fly onto the water’s surface. I couldn’t throw the fly more than about 6 feet, however, so I settled for that and waited.

    Magic happened.

    A small trout – probably 6 inches – darted up and sipped the fake bug from the surface.

    The only problem is I had been fiddling with the drag setting while boredom had overtaken me while bait fishing. I had loosened the drag until it was impossible to reel the fish in and the little trout took off, pulling line with almost no resistance.

    Being a youngster I didn’t know what was wrong so I set to pulling the line in by hand until I had a wad of monofilament at my feet and a glistening trout in hand.

    I knew the little rainbow was too small to keep so I let it go. It darted back into the depths of the lake and I started untangling the bird’s nest at my feet.

    As I walked back toward dad, he smiled and shook his head. I puffed out my chest and went back to bait fishing.

    That’s just one of the hundreds of stories that rod carries. The other rod has fewer stories in it – mainly because I don’t remember them.

    It was my first rod.

    The reel is a black plastic Zebco 77.

    The rod is a little over 4 feet long and solid white except for black wrapping at the eyelets.

    Whatever writing might have been on the rod has long since disappeared in the 40-plus years since it was first handed to a wide-eyed kid. I remember one fishing trip in particular – actually, I have flashes of memories but they’re all based on one event.

    We were camping. My family, my cousins and their family, and my grandparents.

    And, of course, we were fishing.

    Whether the trout was hooked and the rod handed to me, or I had much to do with it at all, I remember reeling like mad until a trout was flopping on the shore.

    Beyond that, I remember being told it was the biggest one.

    It was the first fish I had ever caught.

    And I remember people telling me – the earliest such recollection of these words – that they were proud of me.

    Somehow, among all the thousands of events leading up this point in my middle-aged life, this is one that stands out clearly.

    These two old rods – one black and white, one blue – hold open the door to my outdoor soul.

    I hold them in my hands and I’m that 5-year-old boy again, grinning as adults toussel my hair and slap me on the back. And, I’m that gangly,awkward teen, walking back toward my dad with my chest puffed out as two generations connect for just one of the few times.

    Standing in the corner, those rods also keep me connected to the Orvis rod that rests next to them. They are my past and my future. Anybody who doesn’t believe in the power of the outdoors and its impact on kids and families ... come over here. I have a couple of fishing rods I want to show you.

    Contact Darren at darren@darrenmarcy.com.
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