Why oh Why? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Why oh Why?

08-17-2004, 03:37 PM
Ok, so Sean has joined the magic club of cane fishermen and women and is about to find out why those who do love it so much. How about some artistic comments on why you love to fish cane for summer steelhead over plastic. Maybe those who line with silk can explain why that adds to the show. Hey maybe giving one experience with cane that sticks out in your memory will do the trick.

For me it is the pure beauty of the cane, pure eye candy in my mind. The colors, the wrap, the varnish blow me away. Having just spent over 40 hours and with a lot more to come varnishing teak on my sloop I have a hate/love relationship with varnish. To see a beautiful varnish job in any form astounds me and I can spend hours starring at the perfection of a job well done. I know nothing of the complex work or about choosing the proper cane for a fine rod but casting one even as as novice as I am I can tell how good it tastes. You know sort of like a good bottle of wine, you don't need to be an expert to know it tastes damn good and has unique ways of testing the taste buds. For the cane rod it is in the cast for me. My cane lays a wonderful slow yet tight loop,all of them are single handed. The more patient I am with the rod the better it casts and distance will just about equal any of my modern Winstons. Having been a serious Heneries Fork fisherman for years I rarely ever use a fast action rod. The cane gives me that feeling of what fly fishing means to me, slow and long like good love making, eh!

Not long ago I dug out my first reel I ever bought, one that is now exactly 40 years old and one I have not used for over 30 years. I put a new soft double tapper on it dug out a cane rod that I have never used but have had for years. It's a South Bend but finer than any I have ever seen with a beautiful cork handle and seat. It takes a 7wt line but I think it would cast an 8 also. Needless to say I felt like going out finding an old pair of rubber green hip boots, a wool plaid shirt , an old felt brim hat and a box of White Owl cigars. Just holding that rod and reel I can smell the cigar smoke from those that fished in 1952 on our NW rivers.

My first fish with it was one I will never forget. A perfect cast into the late afternoon shadows with a wet fly of my own design but siniliar to the 1950's Rocky Mountain wet flies my ex father in law still uses in his home town of Livinston MT, all the old guys out there still fish trout on a swing. Out of the shadow comes an object following where I believe, no, know after all these years of swinging where my wet fly it is located. This object swims just a little faster than the swing and then I see an actual gill plate open and close as a reflection of light on what I know must have been my fly. Less than one second latter it is confirmed. And this is another thing I love so much about the cane, the take down, two pulls that seemed like forever so very slow and full of weight. The feel was just not in the rod but extended down the arm and into my right side ribs. The fight was not outstanding but if I had fished even my BL-5 it would have been totally a poor fight compared to a ok fight with the cane. With the cane each slow and short run of the fish ment that I had time to enjoy the working of the rod, watching it respond down then slowly up again, the colors actually change with the bends in the cane and I was not smoking dope or eating mushrooms this one evening. With cane you have time to enjoy so much more than you have with graphite because and I can't stress enough things slow down enough to enjoy everything about the story being told. Anyway after releasing a very beautiful wild fish maybe 13 maybe 14 pounds I did not think about the fish as much as a fish but more how he and the rod worked as a team, actually the three of us as a whole. With graphite I never think about the rod character and how it responds to a fish if I do it's not a long thought process. With cane the whole from the very cast to the take and fight are remembered as if it was your very first grand fish taken on a fly. And you know it is that way with every steelhead taken on the cane, I remember them all like it was just this morning.

Cane is wonderful, it is the start of everything in summer fishing for me on small and medium sized rivers.

Willie Gunn
08-17-2004, 04:13 PM
I use silk lines and old "perfect" reels but could never get into cane. Far too heavy and slow.

08-17-2004, 04:47 PM
OC ,

You gave me the warm fuzzys. I grew up with an old South Bend. Had it and several others stolen when our house was broken into years ago. Always thought of replacing it , but never did.

08-17-2004, 05:21 PM
Come on OC... nothing can beat ripping up a summer river in the inflatable jet, leaping out before the wake subsides and firing a 5" strip leech on a type VI tip with a 15' rod for summer fishing :Eyecrazy:

08-17-2004, 05:28 PM
What? I finally slap on the Bougle' last year after owning it for five years. Now you want me to go bambo? :o

08-17-2004, 05:52 PM
Why, you ask? In this age of fast, faster, fastest, of bigger, better, longer, further, and whatever other superlatives you care to imagine, bamboo offers a respite, an opportunity to get off the marketing escalator. I fish cane for the same reason I don't own a jet sled or why I don't bring along a Blackberry wireless internet appliance. I could, but I choose not to.

Fly fishing offers me a chance to escape all the marketing hype about the latest and the greatest. Bamboo trumps that by letting me fish with a truly handmade rod based on a taper that may be older than my parents, and crafted from natural, organic materials instead of pertochemical byproducts.

Bamboo's careful, deliberate rhythms force me to slow down, to think about what I'm doing, to pause for a heartbeat or even two before starting my forward stroke. With a fish on, even a little mountain cutthroat, I can often feel the cane flex clear down into the grip - a visceral, urgent connection between two living creatures.

Bamboo is to dancing as graphite is to running.

08-17-2004, 05:58 PM
As long as we get to see you water ski between runs then I will agree with you! :D

It's long slow process but it's worth it.

I'm not putting down graphite as I fish with it 95% of the time but that 5% beats the 95 by 95 miles.

Well I'm off to Goldendale and Camas in search of SS and his god like fishing. May even fish my favorite little run on the Columbia main and that will be with graphite.

08-17-2004, 06:04 PM
That looks like a rise - but I wanted the big one :lildevl: I guess that ol' OC is just too wise for my feeble cast - maybe if I made it with a bamboo rod...

08-17-2004, 07:14 PM
What could be added to OC's original post other than voiceing my appreciation for his writing it.
Kush thats a pretty good come back I bet you didn't even have to think too long to come up with it :lildevl:
Personaly I like cane because its so much easier to cast than plastic single handed rods, especialy in the wind. Granted there is an apprenticship that must be served to acquire the timing but once you serve it you will understand.
You can with most weight rods get a bit more distance with plastic but most applications in fishing that I am aware of seldom require that extra 10 to 15 % distance.
Willie Gunn, I tried a couple of Cane Spey Rods and am totaly mystified by the timing involved I guess if thats all there was I would struggle along and get it working but yeah they are a little heavy and they are sllloooooowwww. Never remember feeling like I was going to impale my self on a hook casting cane overhand but everytime I tried Cane Spey it was in the front of my mind "Ouch"!
OC, my favorite Cane story is best shared around a campfire. You will hear it if you ask it at the right moment somewhat less than the second bottle. :wink:

08-17-2004, 07:21 PM

Ol' SS well go into a catatonic seizure if he sees you landing a steelhead on cane. I'm afraid the shock just might permently damage him. Then agian, if you happen to be using the famous pink fly at the time, he will just congratulate you on your fine choice of fly and wonder when you are going to get a reel fly pole.

North Island
08-18-2004, 12:01 AM
Hey OC,

My father used to beat me with a cane rod. Does that count?

N I :)

08-20-2004, 08:27 AM
North Island

Consider yourself lucky my dad used a fast action two by four when he thought it was needed.

08-20-2004, 06:14 PM
Remind me to tell your dad he disn't swing hard enough :cool: