Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Voices from the Past: The Fishing Rod

This is a very funny anonymous piece published in The Daily Kennebec Journal under the nom de plume of "Old Hunter." It made me laugh out loud, and helps us to understand that the anglers are funny people, no matter the time or place.

The Fishing Rod

By Old Hunter

A fishing rod is not of necessity a rod in length, on the contrary the most popular rods are not over ten feet long, the same as the popular "ton" of coal, which is a ton in name only.

Rods are almost never sold by weight, often have I seen a fine maple rod, two inches thick at the butt and as full of life as a horizontal bar, sell for $2.79, while a four ounce split bamboo brings from $25 up, according to its lineage and your standing with Dunn & Bradstreet.

A real rod was never intended by Nature to be used as a weapon of offence or defense, and shortly after you have passed five eager minutes larrauping an inoffensive water-snake into a comatose state with your new $25 split bamboo, said rod has a pathetic way of looking up at you with just $25 worth of dumb reproach in its agate eyes that is saddening and chastening in the extreme to all true devotees of Ike Walton. Essaying to pry up a flat stone in search of bait has been the down-fall of many a fine rod, so unless you are connected with the sub-treasury, pass this practice up.

Respect the finer feelings of your rod, refrain from derricking large mudturtles, muskrats, and lamprey eel with it, as all these aforementioned critters have a degenerative effect on a well-bred and cultured rod which is little short of ruinous. Bear in mind also that each individual style of rod is adapted to one function, that to us, a four ounce fly rod as a means of propulsion for a quarter-pound bullfrog usually necessitates the immediate purchase of a new fly rod, and that many an industrious angler has lost his sole chance for ultimate redemption while essaying to cast a single fly up-wind with a stiff-backed bait rod.

Beware eels, the average able-bodied eel can give any rod you ever saw more forms of infantile paralysis in less time than it takes a hungry young robin to devour two squirming feet of angle worm (which is a bit less than no time at all), than any other marine dweller on record.

If you should hook your guide In the lobe of the ear with a Parmacheenee Belle while fly casting, do not subject the rod to any unnecessary strain, for if a pull of more than seven pounds is exerted the rod will be strained, and possibly the ear will give slightly (in which case the guide may or may not take the trouble to notify your relatives), but try to avoid straining the rod by all means/

In closing, the best rod In the world is on that you borrow from a friend who owes you money, with this ou may disregard rules of caution, for if it breaks you can easily square yourself with your indebted friend, which you might have difficulty in doing otherwise.

-- Dr. Todd

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