January 31, 2013
Old Fishing Gear Just as Good as the New Stuff
By John Merwin
I review and report on lots of new fishing tackle over the course of a year. Some reels and rods are inevitably much improved, and I love the technical innovations. But I occasionally think that maybe I’m too enamored of new things. So what about the old stuff?
In pondering this, I decided I could be perfectly happy fishing with the same things I was using 20 years ago. In fact, some of the “old stuff” doesn’t seem old at all and still functions perfectly. Here are some examples:
One is Abu Garcia’s round-type baitcast reels, as shown in the photo. These were a great design decades ago and they still are. There have been various model tweaks over the years, but the fundamental design is unchanged. I still have and use both 5000- and 6000-series models, most often when pike or striper fishing.
Similar reasoning applies to much of my fly tackle. I have a Fenwick HMG graphite 9-foot, 5-weight model that I built from a blank in the mid-1970s. Back then, graphite was new and Jim Green, Fenwick’s ace rod designer, was a pioneer in applying it to fly rods.
The rod, of course, still feels very light in the hand and casts superbly. I would have no trouble using it for most of my modern trout fishing.
None of the foregoing means that I’m less enamored of new tackle. I still lust for new rods and reels, just to try them out and see if they are indeed better. What it does mean, though, is that I might not be quite as quick to abandon old-tackle friends for new ones, no matter how much greener the grass looks.