The boy had little in the way of equipment and yet he managed to have a good time catching fish. His three-piece bamboo pole (not to be confused with a bamboo rod) was bought at a general store in Chesterfield, Indiana, and it came with line (cord, actually) tied with a nondescript knot to the tip. A piece of stiff monofilament was tied to the cord that had an Eagle Claw hook …probably a size 8 or 10. A round bobber was attached to the mono along with a split shot and It cost only a couple of dollars; all that the boy could afford.
It was his prized possession for several years and he used it whenever he could find someone to take him fishing. The pole caught pan fish mainly, but the occasional bass and pike took him to the expectation of bigger fish …if only in his dreams for the time being.
As he grew older, his equipment grew with the addition of gifts of old rods from relatives and family friends; equipped with open-faced bait casting reels, the kind that produced a bird’s nest of tangled line if he didn’t apply the right amount of pressure with his thumb as the spool let the line wind off.
The line was a black braided material that was used for almost any species; it was strong and had to be cut to break. And as with everything else at the time, was relatively cheap.
The boy grew up, was able to afford more and his equipment grew. He turned his preference to fly fishing and trout. It became his passion. Soon he had the “latest and greatest” of everything the magazines and books said he needed. He even took a job in a fly shop, just to be near the “latest and greatest.”
But, as sure as the earth turns, things change and fads – new and old – take center stage. Tenkara arrived on the scene and, as with other fads before, it became the new “must” in the fly fishing world …and of course as it caught on, the price of the one piece rod with the line tied to the tip with a mono leader and fly, went up as well.
As the boy got older and wasn’t as persuaded by advertisement in magazines or displays and claims in fly shops, he dug out the first pole he bought back in Chesterfield, Indiana, took off the bobber, split shot and Eagle Claw hook, replaced it with a larger than usual fly, let it float over a bubble line and caught fish.
Over “two fingers of bourbon” he smiled and chuckled to himself. If he had known at the time he was Tenkara fishing, he might have bought two of the poles. He could have made a profit.