My Fly-Rod Menagerie Part 1 - by Lou Zambello

My Fly-Rod Menagerie Part 1 - by Lou Zambello

I am a fly fisherman. I acquire fly rods. Those two statements go hand in hand like: I am a politician, I run for re-election; or, I am a Red Sox fan, I like to gripe about the team.

My fly rods are clustered in one portion of my office/fly-tying/workout room. I have a large round basket in one corner with rod tubes jammed vertically and haphazardly inside. On a nearby wall, a rod rack holds six of my favorite rods, all rigged, ready to go at a moment’s notice.  A few more rods are usually scattered around that I haven’t yet put away.

When I started fly-fishing some 40 years ago, I bought an L.L. Bean 5-weight as an all-purpose wand for the freshwater trout I was pursuing. I soon added a 7-weight for a bit more backbone when I was bass fishing. I enjoy exploring small streams, so it wasn’t long before I procured a shorter 8 ½- foot, 4-weight Loomis rod. I worked at L.L. Bean at the time and with my employee discount; it made sense to purchase rods through L.L. Bean. Their fly rods are middle-of-the-road, good-value options.

As the years passed, my wife and older children professed an interest in fly-fishing, so I added several reasonably-priced beginner rods. I developed an itch to fly-fish in the salt for all the species that I kept reading about in magazines – stripers, redfish, and bonefish. An eight-weight is a versatile weapon for most salt-water species but sometimes you need a 9-weight under windy conditions with larger fish like the bull redfish that migrate in schools into Pensacola Bay in November.  When my daughter moved to this area, her husband, an avid angler, showed me this fishery.

I was also making the looonnnggg drive to the Buffalo, New York area every year to chase steelhead and I needed stouter rods to turn the steelies before they raced downstream and broke me off. I was a registered guide now and with my pro discounts with major rod manufacturers, the makes in my rod collection now included Sage, Winston, and Orvis. I think all of those companies are top-notch but I might slightly favor my Winston rod over the others.

To be continued…