I believe I have fallen into an old person issue: forgetfulness.
I have a rod vault above my camper shell that allows me to store three fully rigged fly rods up to 10 feet long.
I was preparing for a 45-minute drive to White Hole parking lot to join Louis Campbell two days ago.
I checked the rod vault to see what was ready. It was an 18-year old Orvis T3. It was my first expensive rod. I have probably one dozen newer graphite high dollar rods.
My newest is a Sage R8 that is pay for 7 days work at fly shop. I used it in Pennsylvania. It is a dry fly fisher’s dream. It was not rigged. I am fortunate that I had not put it in vault after traveling in wife’s Acura MDX on our trip.
I had popped open the back of rod vault. Unlocked it. I was distracted by a phone call as I tossed my reel case and three rod tubes on back seat.
I then drove off with the back cover of rod vault open. I’ve done that before and someone honked at me a few blocks from the house and I stopped and fixed things. Not this time.
I got to White Hole and got out of truck to see fly line strung out behind the truck for 30 yards. I looked in vault to see the last 3 sections of the rod and an indicator near the tip.
The butt section and reel popped off and fell out somewhere on highway. Gone. It was a good Ross Animas reel, one of the first high dollar reels I bought.
This was a good rod combination I reserved for kids at Dry Run Creek, a solid mid flex 5 weight. It had some cosmetic defects (spots) from being put up in the sock still wet after fishing in the rain. But it was a great rod. Fished hundreds of times with thousands caught all over the country. It’s also a rod I hand to guests. It was perfect for new fly fishers like I was 18 years ago, not hard to cast although not a cannon.
It had a great warranty. It could be returned if smashed, if you had all four pieces. I have only three and a sock and a tube. Orvis won’t touch it now.
I retraced that road three times. I figure someone picked it up and maybe the reel is ok, but probably it’s trashed.
I know this is a clear sign that I’m getting old. I still know my name and where I live. I have not told this to a family member for fear they will put restrictions on me.
I have plenty of top fly rods and won’t be hurting for good weapons on the river.
But I lost an important memory. This rod was partly bought by Louis Campbell. I had been paying for it at the fly shop in Fayetteville in installments. $100 at a time for 5/6 months.
I came in to make a payment and the shop owner said, “A friend paid the balance. It’s yours.” Eventually, Louis Campbell admitted he’d done it with camp money as reward for teaching him to fly fish.
So I told Louis about the demise of that rod. I did not feel so bad when he said, “I don’t remember doing that.”
I told him that made me feel better. Here was another old forgetful dude — older than me — and he’s still getting permission to go fishing by himself, too.