Saturday, April 24, 2010

Three Generations

When I was a young boy there was an act so heinous, so foul, so unthinkable that it would invariably cause my father to prune a hefty switch from one of the back yard fruit trees. As an environmentally conscious parent, a flailing from Dad was always 100% organic. Apple wood was preferred for its smooth acceleration, but cherry came in a close second due to aesthetics. The goal with the latter was to achieve a pleasing color match between the deep red bark and the offender's behind.

What could twist a man never given to strong drink into this unholy Johnny Appleseed gone wrong? Why, the unsupervised fondling or use of Dad's prized possession: A fiberglass Fenwick fly rod (7 ½ feet for a 6-weight) equipped with a classic Pflueger Medalist reel.

Fenwick Glass

Fenwick & Pflueger Medalist

Medalist and Wulff

These days Dad has lost a fair amount of top-end speed, and if I come out of the starting blocks just right I can usually grab the Fenwick and outdistance him somewhere in the 3rd kilometer.

Having gotten my hands on the 'glass this weekend, it occurred to me that I had 3 generations of fly rods in my tying room. Grandpa's old bamboo rig with some type of reel that appears to have been forged during the Bronze Age, Pop's Fenwick, and my plethora of mostly graphite affairs.

I thought it would be fun to capture this using a vintage look.

3 Generations of Sticks

Grandpa's Reel

3 Generations

Grandpa was born in 1911. By all accounts flappers were his center of attention in the 1920s. I've never heard of that fly myself, but he used to mention that they were considerably effective attractor patterns. In the years since, many a loop has been thrown by this collection of sticks. Here's to many more.


  1. Brett,

    Excellent piece .. I have my grandpa's old fenwick glass rod. It will never see the water again. Just out of fear of breaking a piece of my childhood and some fly fishing nostalgia. Thanks for a little trip down memory lane

    Bill B.

  2. Bill - I hear ya. There are a lot of memories and history attached to well-used rods. The bamboo rod in these photos is fairly hammered up, but a couple of grandpa's sticks are still in great shape.

    Scott - thanks for the comment. I didn't use HDR on these. I used Photoshop's channel mixer, some highlight adjustments, and a texture layer to get the effect. It's the first time I've tried this technique, so I appreciate hearing that you enjoy the look.

  3. This rod, and that reel, are the exact gear I used 33 years ago after having received the rod as a wedding gift from my bride. Of course I gave her the same rod, which is now used by our 28-year-old daughter. When I casted that rod after presenting it to our daughter, it brought back some fond memories. So did this post. Thanks.

  4. Great story Peter. I think that outfit was THE rig to have during those years. I'm going to fish the Fenwick a bit this season, just to see exactly what I was missing during "prohibition."