I ran an unintended experiment today and the result; to a large extent, surprised me.
Last week I was fishing up on the Lackawaxen Creek in Northeastern PA. It was a bright, hot day and although there was a great Hendrickson hatch going on, there wasn't any top water action from the fish. In search of less light, I found my way under a small bridge and there, in the shadow of the bridge structue, was the action I was looking for. The nice Hendrickson hatch and a lot of nose rises; so they were probaby taking the Hendrickson emergers just below the surface.
Well, I hooked into a nice fish and in my excitement, I set the hook vertically, whacked the bridge structure, snapped my rod at the second ferrule and lost the fish. Not a great moment for me. It was my Sage Z-axis rod; 9'0" 5 wt. I've had it for 3 years and it's been a great rod. It's on its way back to Sage now, so I should have a replacement in about 3-4 weeks. So, no long-term damage done.
But, in the short term - today, Marty and I were fishing Mud Run; one of our favorite pieces of water and I needed a 5 wt. rod. I toyed with taking my 9'0" 6 wt.; GLoomis GLX Max 9'0". But, it's a very stiff rod and it didn't feel right for today (it will be perfect for tomorrow on Lost Lake - smallmouths and bluegills, I think - stay tuned). So, instead, I grabbed my very old 8'6" LL Bean Angler 5 wt. rod. It's your basic starter rod. You know - rod, reel, line, backing, leader and tube for $75.00. Marty looked at me like I'd stepped off the dark side of the moon, but I said: 'I know, but I'm going to give it a try."
So, I ran the experiment and the result surprised me.
My casting was probably 90% as good with this rod as it usually is with my Z-axis. Now, I'm not an expert caster by any stretch of the imagination, but I was getting dries out there 70+ ft. today without much effort. So, about the same as I'd usually be doing with the better rod. I also caught my share of fish and the reel, although the concept of adjustable drag is questionable on this model, worked just fine.
This got me thinking. Am I really a better fisherman because I have better gear? I suppose at some level I am; probably where it gets very techincal and where pinpoint accuracy becomes the key to taking picky fish or getting skunked. But, on an average day, I'm not as convinced as I was before I ran this unplanned experiment.
On a temporary basis, what I'm taking away from today's experience is that better gear doesn't really make me a better fisherman, it just helps me to feel like I have a better chance of getting my share of the fish.
Oh, and by the way, when Sage sends me a new 5 wt., the LLBean Angler is going back into the corner; from whence it came. Still, I'm sure that I'll be thinking about the results of this expermient for some time to come. Maybe that rod won't stay in the corner quite as much as it used to(?)
I broke a favorite rod three seasons ago and the replacement rod is now my go to rig. I was fishing king salmon and had two come off my hook in the same morning. After checking the hook point and spotting a monster fish I made a drift right to him. The fish took the fly and I ripped the rod up & back like I wanted it to break. Break it did, it was a Greys Platinum X 9' 6" 7wt. and I loved that rod. I know, I know, what the heck was I doing with a 7wt. trying to hook a big king? There were a few sockeye coming in and I was looking for them. This small pod of kings were on the tail end of the run but were big and bright so I had to cast to them. I've landed a few with the Greys so what the hay, go for it right?
I fished my 9wt. till a very affordable replacement rod arrived. You no doubt have heard me rave about my Quarrow 9' 7wt. I still have the Greys but fish the Quarrow all the time, so experiments sometimes yield unexpected results. Now I have two of the Quarrow's just in case.
I also did a experiment all last week.
I was fishing a local trout stockie stream, and wanted to have more fun while fishing.
First I went down from a 5wt Sage Fli 9' to a 8.5' Orvis Clearwater II 4wt, then down to a 8' 3wt St Croix Avid.
Still fun, but I saw a guy with crappy heavy spin gear catch more trout than me. He was using live minnows.
I got back on track with some micro-buggers and caught lots of fish.
Still, I thought it over and finally purchased a 1wt Superfine.
Now my experiment is over. I'm very satisfied and have a ball catching a dozen or more trout every trip.
For me better means "lighter" and more fun to fish with.
I wouldn't have had as much fun today if I used a 5wt for the 8" trout that I caught.
I love to flyfish. I learn something every time I go out. I tie my flies and watch them closely in the water so I can make adjustments. I make adjustments every time I go fishing. I've almost got it down now, but I'll check things out the next time!!
Now I can enjoy myself while I fish. I can place the fly anyplace I want and I know exactly how the fly is swimming in the water.
The Superfine was pricey, at $575, but I'll get a lot of enjoyment out of that rod.
To answer your question: Better tackle IS more fun to fish with...... and I know I catch a lot more with better tackle.
I think,,,,,, I know we all get caught up in the more money the better the gear the better our fishing will be. The better gear does have some good point, lighter, a Little better, maybe get that extra 10 foot in the cast, drop a fly a little softer. I do belive however that 95% of the time MOST (not all) less expensive gear will catch fish almost as well if you know what you are doing.
Last fall I took my son after brown trout on the Little Red, I was useing a 500.00 sage and Lamson outfit with 75.00 line, he was useing a 99.00 Redington with the line that came on the combo. Halfway through the day I asked him to switch me rods, the idea was to show him how nice a high dollar rod is and to get a degree so he can afford such gear a little easier then his old man can. Anyway we switched rods and fished the rest of the day that way. Other then being a little heavier I was casting 70-80 foot if needed, puting the fly where I wanted and caught fish like I did with my 500.00 outfit. Does this mean I am going to get away from the high priced stuff,,,, ofcourse not, but it does mean I know I dontr have to have that stuff to catch fish nor does it mena that when I add more toys to my gear stash that they have to be top shelf either. I do belive that the TOPSHELF is better left to buying scotch
Pocono: Sorry to hear about the damage to your Sage Z-Axis, that had to hurt! I feel the same way about expensive gear, I don't have to have a $300 Lamson reel to catch most of the fish that I catch, but I'm at a point im my life where I can afford it and it sure feels nice when fishing with it. Heck, when I was in Alaska I had an old Orvis Battenkill reel that I used for salmon fishing, eventially I wore the clicker drag completely out on that reel and continued to fish successfully with it even though I had no drag, I just learned to palm the reel, worked fine for a couple of years then bought a $375 anti-reverse reel to save my knuckles on those fast runs those fish always make.
This got me thinking. Am I really a better fisherman because I have better gear?
I think the better question is: Do I get more enjoyment out of fishing "better" (more expensive) gear?
I mean that's what this whole business is all about right? If you enjoy your fishing more with the more expensive gear, then go for it. I've never been that way with rods...my 2 go-to rods are both over 50 years old. They were modest rods even back then and I didn't pay a lot for them when I bought them. I enjoy the history and the story of these old rods and I enjoy the whole experience that much more when fishing with them. I do own 2 expensive English reels that I just couldn't resist because they are so smooth, have an awesome sound, and look cool on an old rod. Again, they add to the enjoyment of the whole experience.
I will say that I would be perfectly capable of enjoying my fishing even if all I had was a $10 cane pole and a bobber. I'm not sure I understand why another poster stated that he could now enjoy his fishing after the purchase of a $600 1 weight. Personally, if that's what it took for me to have fun fishing, I would re-examine my motivations for fishing in the first place.
How's the fishing, hope you're knocking the fins off of em.
I too enjoy the use of really good gear. I just discovered that sometimes I cant tell the difference between Memorex and the real thing and that is refreshing. It wont stop me from using the big dollar stuff or buying it. I really enjoy looking down at my hand to see a custom built cane rod with a really fine vintage reel on board dangling there.
I don't crave cars, motorcycles, bigger homes, or even great wealth, I measure my success by that pile of good fly tackle. Well maybe I should reconsider that part about great wealth.....................
How's the fishing, hope you're knocking the fins off of em.
Hey Ard, after a very slow start to 2009, things came together pretty well in April. I got in a 3 day camping/fishing trip to my favorite large freestone creek for some browns, 2 trips to a great central VA spring creek (also for browns), a couple trips for native brookies in SNP, one afternoon for largemouth bass, and some trolling for stripers on the Chesapeake Bay. Looking forward to the smallies heating up here pretty soon and I realized that I have yet to hook a rainbow this year, but I think I know a place where I can make that happen.
I havent fished the lackawaxen in twenty five years.Some of the biggest trout on delaware use to hang were the lackawaxen and Delaware meet.Hope that hasnt changed.Going back to the equipment you use .I guess it depends on the person whos using it.