Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Voices from the Past: Scarf Joint Fly Rods (1838)

The following excerpt is from the article "Fly-Fishing" published in the American Turf Register for June 1838. It argues the best fly rods are those made with a "scare" joint -- a scarf joint in today's lexicon. There are some who still subscribe to this theory, and a few makers, like Bob Clay, are manufacturing modern bamboo scarf rods.

The best rods for trout-fishing are those that play with a regular spring, and which are neither too stiff towards the butt nor too supple at the top; and the most convenient length is from twelve to fifteen feet. The latter length is preferable for a tourist who may visit . streams of various width; as with a fifteen feet rod he can fish a narrow water as well as one that is comparatively broad, and cast with such a rod, if he be an artist, twenty-four yards of line, with about as much certainty as he can eighteen or twenty with a rod three feet shorter. In fishing a wide stream, the command of five or six yards more water is of great advantage to the angler, and the power of casting so much more line will frequently enable him to fish a likely place without the necessity of wading. Bag-rods which are joined by means of sockets are to be preferred to such as are joined by means of screws, as the latter, in consequence of being more stiff at the joints, do not bend in so regular a curve. The top piece of a fly-rod ought never to be joined to the next lower length by a socket, but ought to be neatly fitted to it by a 'scare' and tied on when at the water-side with a piece of well-waxed twine—an operation which an angler who has the use of his fingers will perform in two minutes.

-- Dr. Todd

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