Scarborough Fly & Bait Casting Association
23 Willowhurst Crescent, Scarborough  Ontario M1R 3R7
Phone & Fax - 416/755-5663
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 THE REEL THING                                                                             March 2002

          Winter is rapidly winding down and it has been a memorable one, but not for the usual reasons, but the exact opposite.  Although it made our home heating bills a lot easier to take, it did little to instill enthusiasm in hard-water fishing for the majority of our club membership.  Other than the hard-core few who rarely miss an outing, it was difficult to interest anyone, other than that segment of loyal adherents to the pastime.   The perfectly correct warnings about the dangerous ice conditions in Lake Simcoe during much of January and February deterred any interest that the remainder of our crew might have had in joining us for an outing in Haliburton where the ice conditions were ideal for our purposes right from opening day, January 1st.

          Although we had to work somewhat harder than usual to get a trout or two to take home for dinner the rewards were there for those of us who persevered.  Heh, the rewards include far more than simply the fishing and catching!  Beautiful countryside, challenging skidoo trails, wonderful shore dinners cooked over the coals from our day-long fires at lake edge, the pleasures of companionship with others who appreciate the same ideals of pursuing and conquering the challenges that often arise in a day spent in rough country with rough weather and occasionally, cantankerous  machinery  to test one’s patience.

          Having just written the previous paragraph, I realise there could be enough negatives in it to further prevent another sport from having a go at the hard-water next winter.  Let me just finish this little soliloquy stating that a sense of accomplishment is always achieved in a day of ice fishing, practiced our way, that cannot easily be matched in any other form of angling.  Oh well, you’ve got nine months to think about it while you’re swatting mosquitoes and thrashing the streams and lakes this summer.

          Our shop crew have been going great guns, rods being glued, flies fashioned and so on.  One interesting thing happened in our cane rod-building group that I have never come across before in my 55 years of building bamboo rods.  One of our chaps who shall remain anonymous began work last fall on what has developed into our most popular fly fishing wand, the two piece ‘Ganny’ model.  By Christmas, he had the butt section, cut, fluted, fitted and ready for gluing.  Opting instead, he decided to begin work on the tip section and the completed butt, wrapped with crochet cotton, was put aside on the shelf in the shop, awaiting completion of the tip section when both could be glued during the same evening.

Unfortunately, when work began in the shop once more a few weeks after Christmas, the gentleman was not able to attend as regularly as he had previously and the work on the remaining section lagged somewhat, nevertheless the butt was glued and placed aside once again.  However, a week ago the second section was declared ‘tout finis’ and we were to glue it up last Tuesday evening.

When the newly finished and wrapped cane was placed on the gluing board for a final check, we realised something was not quite right.  The first, already glued butt section was taken down off the shelf and placed alongside the tip section.  Horror… that’s too strong a word……shock, immediately replaced our smiles and enthusiasm at the prospects of completing his first-ever rod building project.

The two sections were identical…….both were butt sections for his Ganny rod!

Somehow or another, with the time lapse over Christmas, he had mistakenly begun work on another butt instead of the tip.  Now he has the dilemma of either building two new tip sections and owning two Ganny wands, or building just one and owning a fly rod with two butt sections.  It’s too bad the mistake hadn’t occurred in reverse.  Possessing a fly rod with a spare tip section is quite common and practical……but two butt sections!   My oh my!

Anyhow we are all commiserating with him - while he has taken off for Myrtle Beach to play a little golf and drown his sorrows in Mint Juleps! I’m certain the description of this exercise in frustration and patience will probably be repeated somewhere in the next fishing book that I write.  One final note; I should add that his craftsmanship on the sticks was excellent!

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome William (Wil) Jin into our fraternity of anglers, casters, fly tyers and rod builders.  Wil appears to be a quick learner and has already mastered the mechanics of producing a tight loop.  His enthusiasm is contagious and appreciated by all of us.

Tomorrow will be the seventeenth consecutive appearance of our club’s casters in the Canadian National Sportsman’s Show and it is expected that once again we will be reaping the lion’s share of the awards. Representing the Scarborough Fly & Bait Casting Association this year will be club champions, Paul Kennedy and Sheila, along with Ray Cockburn, Paul Quarrington, his daughter, Flannery and new members Sharon McIntyre, Paul Becker, Scott Owen, Brian Shannon.

For those who can’t wait for the customary May 1st trout opening on all the streams, you should be made aware that virtually all the streams flowing into Georgian Bay and the Great Lakes are rapidly filling with rainbow trout in their lower reaches, most of which are already legally open.

Along with the entire casting fraternity, I lost a very dear friend in Allyn Ehrhardt who passed away a few days ago at home in Columbus, Ohio.  When I got back into casting in 1974 after a sixteen year hiatus while my kids were growing up, one of the first men whom I met in the North American Championships was Allyn.  The previous year, he had established a new (phenomenal at the time) record in Salmon Fly Distance of 244 feet.  When I had quit casting in 1958, distances of more than 200’ in that game were seldom recorded.  When I asked Al how he had been able to achieve such a remarkable distance, he simply replied, and I will never forget it,

“I had little to do with it actually.  The wind just happened to blow like Hell on my back-cast, then turn completely around and blow just as hard on the front-cast.” 

The remark was typical of Allyn Ehrhardt, one of the finest gentlemen in the game and one who was always willing to assist one of us when we encountered difficulties with our own games.  He will be sorely missed by all of us.

Tight Loops,