A few weeks ago I was cleaning some old junk out of the basement at my mom's place, and amid the clutter was a pile of rods wedged in the corner. Most them were beaten to death, missing guides, and not worth saving. But in the cluster were four I just had to keep, because they all represent milestones in my fishing history. There was my first spinning rod (1), an Olympic 2000 that, if memory serves correctly, my dad cut down for 7-year-old me. It only has three guides. Then there's my first fly rod (2), an Eagle Claw Feather Light. I got the rod in 6th grade, and used it until my sophomore year of high school. That Christmas Santa brought me a G. Loomis 5-weight.