Monday, November 17, 2014

It is just a stupid fishing pole



It really is just a stupid fishing pole. It is an inanimate object. If it were gone, it means nothing.

So, this story begins in 1993 when a buddy gives me a 10’ G. Loomis 7 weight IM6 fly rod, with a hand-painted inscription on it commemorating my Ordination into the Office of the Holy Ministry. It was a rather expensive gift from a dear friend. Whenever I would use it, I would remember my friend.


 It was a great stick, excellent feel and action. I cannot even figure how many Atlantic Salmon, Steelhead, Brown trout, Chinook, and Cohos have been caught on this rod. Many were caught while used as intended, as a fly rod. It was also used with a spinning reel and finesse fished - rigged that way, it was easier for those who do not know how to fly-cast. I believe it caught many times the number caught using it as a fly rod. This was how it was most often rigged, especially when I took other people fishing for Steelhead and Salmon, as it was so easy to use this way.


Both my sons caught their first salmon with this stick as I hooked them and then passed the rod over to them - Nathan was 8 when he caught his, and Timothy was 6. They have caught many more on it as well.


 Well, in an unfortunate accident this summer, the female ferrule on the top end was broken off. It was quite an emotional loss. I found no way to repair it as I looked at a couple of different shops - at least not in a manner that anybody would promise it would still have the same feel and touch when fished. 


 Then someone suggested I go to G. Loomis online and talk to them. I found out I could send it to them for repairs and paid for them. It was stated that repairs run about $75 minimally. Or, I could choose the Xpeditor plan which gets you a brand spanking new rod. When I explained the damage to the customer service rep, he suggested the Xpeditor plan, for $100 they'd ship me a new stick replacing mine, and then I'd return mine to them in the tube they sent to me.


 While I did not like the idea of losing the sentimental value, for when I told them the make and model number, they looked up my stick they stated they could not replace it, for it is no longer in production. BUT, they would send me the 2014 equivalent, a G.Loomis PRO4x Single Hand Model 120-4.

OK, so the package arrives, and it is a 4 piece 10' rod. As part of this plan, I am supposed to send mine rod back to them in the same box. My rod is a 10’ two-piece rod. It is not coming close to fitting in the packing tube they sent to me.


So, I called them and explained that it would not fit and why. The service rep said, "What I'm going to need you to do is to break it into 4 pieces so that it will fit into the shipping container."

I sat silent for a moment. I asked, "Seriously? You want me to break it into 4 pieces?"

"Yes sir, break it into 4 pieces."


After a bit more of a conversation, I hung up the phone and went to go get the rod to break it. As I grabbed it, I literally began to cry. I put the rod down and pulled up a few pictures from fishing trips and the waterworks flowed. 


 Was this over the rod? Not at all! Nathan's away at college... Tim is in his senior year of HS and looking at colleges... For 12 years we would go over to the Algoma/Kewaunee area and fish the salmon run. For 8 years, we would get there on a Sunday afternoon, get our hotel room, fish hard and come home Tuesday night. There were a couple years in which fall sports made it difficult, so maybe the days changed, but we still would get in a couple days of fishing the salmon run. Last year, Tim couldn't go, so I picked up Nathan at UW-Madison and we took the trip over to the Racine area, but it was a weekend trip with us going to church someplace and me having the day off. Tim and I then found a day and went without Nathan. And this fall, we did not take any sort of Salmon trip, because I was laid up after surgery. (This past fall never did feel right.)


So, I sat looking at pictures, glancing at that fishing pole, and realizing that this looks like the end of an era. I tried to claim that the last few years were simply flukes. But it truly is the end of a tradition and the loss of a certain amount of innocence.


Maybe breaking this rod and sending it on will help me to prepare for the empty nest that is soon coming my way. But I do not want to (break it or prepare for the "empty nest"). I want those days back! I want my boys to be "boys" again. I do not want the glory days of my youth, I want their youthful days when... 


And yet, I am so very, very, proud of what they have become.


 Hmmm, who'd have thought that a stupid, old, fishing pole would bring such things on?

I look forward to the new memories that develop with this new rod. But even more importantly, I am hoping that many of them will be with the wonderful sons God has given to me. I pray that we will never lose that special bond we have developed as father-son.


Peace of the Lord be with you.

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