If you’re a fly fisherman the chances are you’ve been there at some time or another… that momentary loss of concentration, that brief distraction or act of madness that leads to a broken rod tip! Often car doors are involved but trees and bushes can dish out their own special kind of havoc.
Despite their feather like weight fly rods are very strong when stress is applied throughout their length. When playing a large fish for example, the load is transferred away from the fragile tip and down towards the stronger butt section. The whole structure works in harmony acting like a large energy absorbing spring, buffering the tippet and fly from sudden loads.
Modern fly rods are superb pieces of engineering designed to enable the angler to carefully present a fly to a big fish, then do battle with it and finally coerce it towards a waiting net. A fantastic combination of delicate control and power. Of course they are very strong when used properly but not so when the fly fisherman has a brain explosion. In my case car doors and trees were not required. No dramatic story involving monster trout or fighting off wild animals… no, my error came straight from the ‘newby’ book of fly fishing mistakes.
A glorious sunny afternoon and I had been working my way up a familiar stream. I’d already landed a few feisty rainbows and a well conditioned brown. A good rainbow had just hammered a large dry fly and spat the hook during an energetic leap… so far so good. As I approached a productive series of pools I decided it was time to add a bit of floatant to the fly line.
Not wanting to waste a second I tucked the trusty Scott A3 under my armpit, pulled a floatant primed foam pad from the pocket of my fishing vest and proceeded to draw the 5 weight fly line through it. I pulled line vertically down from the tip but didn’t notice that coils of loose line had become tangled in the undergrowth, preventing line from running freely through the rings. The next thing I heard was an agonising crack.
I’d inadvertently pulled the rod tip over so it was pointing directly down towards the reel, focussing all the load on the tip section… a break was inevitable. Thank goodness for Scott’s lifetime warranty!
At least the rod went out in style, having tamed a handful of feisty rainbows and a fine young brown. Thanks to the craftsmen at Scott I can look forward to using the A3 again soon… my favourite for fishing skinny water for trout at close range. The aftm 5 weight Scott A3 is great for making buttery smooth, accurate casts into tight spots. It also has regularly delivered the goods for me when absolute stealth is required on some of New Zealand’s crystal clear lakes – YouTube: Hard Fighting Wild Trout in New Zealand>
While not a ‘top end’ Scott rod the construction of the A3 remains very good and it feels like a quality piece of equipment made by a company that truely understand fly fishing and what it takes to make great rods. One of the reasons I’ve stuck with Scott and invested in their higher end ‘S4’ and ‘Radian’ rods, for my 6 and 8 weight options!
The broken A3 has now been dropped off with the retailer, who will send it back to the New Zealand distributer, who in turn will send it to Scott in the United States. The whole process could take up to six weeks… I’m hoping it can be turned around a bit quicker!