I am by my own admission a heavy user of fishing tackle. Put it this way, it is not often that once finished with an item that it is afforded a second life via purchase or give-away. But I must say I am not an abuser of tackle either, it just that I choose the items I want carefully then fish them to death using them in a multitude of ways. Generally speaking what happens is the item of tackle becomes worn out over a prolonged period then it fails in some small way. It is then repaired a few times before I arrive at the decision that it has had it.
There is one exception though! One special item of tackle which I have cared for over all others since the day it came into my hands. Sixteen years ago to the day, I turned twenty one and on that day JB gave me a gift that was a fishing rod. Up until this point most of my gear I had been using was borrowed or very cheaply purchased and therefore was rough to say the least. This rod though was another thing. It was light, long and it came in a fancy bag.
It's not often that an item of tackle actually improves massively how you fish. Sure they make you feel extra confident and the like, but truthfully they don't make an epic difference in most cases. This rod however marked that step from rubbish gear to proper gear for me and hand on heart doubled my cast. If it wasn't for the water I was fishing I would have never known either. You see we were always were aiming to fish the very end of a huge lily bed that emanated from the public bank on Coombe pool. The whoosh that fibre glass and over-flexing carbon made would be all you'd hear from us on a Sunday morning as we tried to hit that sweet spot at the end of the pads. Then the first time I took a shot with my new Diawa tornado-Z thirteen foot match rod I literally cast past the end of the lily's and almost twice as far again. I can actually remember looking down at the rod and declaring my love there and then.
I just happened that Coombe pool was in a good phase that year and me and my new rod tore it limb from limb fishing wag and mag at the end of those pads. Every Sunday I would underarm four or more Jaffas of Van Den Eyned out into the lake. Then in between catapulting out gentles I would be casting and striking at the plethora of species that were attracted to the bait. Almost every week we'd fill a net with roach, perch and skimmers. Add to them the few slabs we would pinch and the occasional big perch or roach and we were in heaven.
Coombe shifted phases and I moved on with my faithful rod in tow. From commercials to the broads and right up natural streams high in the welsh mountains I fished them all with this rod. Carp, trout, pike and eels it seemed able to handle them all when they came along. It was me that changed though! My love of fishing grew and changed then other species demanded stronger tackle, then I wanted to catch bigger fish and that meant specialist tackle. All the time though this rod was hidden away back in it's fancy bag waiting for me to pick it up once again.... and I did.
After years ignored I needed float rod to trot for grayling and the super light Tornado came out of retirement. Our relationship was rekindled and with my new passion for fishing pole floats under rod tips for crucians and tench it seemed like it would never end and it didn't. Though now I am careful with this special thing and I find myself not risking it as much as I did in the early days and use it mainly for smaller species. Saying that you cant always choose what you catch, like last year when a rude near twenty pound carp snuffled up my bait intended for crucians. The Tornado proved it was well enough made and still in good enough condition to win that battle.
More recently I've been using it to pry some delicate feeding tench from a rediscovered water and it as always it never lets me down. Bending from butt to tip it seems to just absorb the violent runs whilst reminding that there is so much fun to be had with a light float rod rather than sitting behind buzzers propping up Avon style rods
It only seemed right that sixteen years after receiving it as a present I should find myself sitting fishing with it on my birthday. As I waited for the next soft biting tench to lift my float I sat back and remembered some of the wonderful fish, amazing places I've been and great times I have had with this rod. The memories I recalled were so cherished and made me so happy it actually bought me so much genuine joy that I had to contact JB and thank her again sixteen years later for buying me such a special thing.
And again, thank you JB :)