I think I am working in the wrong industry. My background is in manufacturing and business development but I have finally come to realise that I should have taken an altogether easier path and built a career in sales instead. Not any old ‘sales’ you understand. No, I should have been flogging fishing gear all my life. How did I arrive at this conclusion so late in life you may well ask? The epiphany occurred when I counted the number of rods and reels I possess. Surely the easiest job in the world is selling fishing tackle to anglers.
This all started when I ‘found’ a rod I did not even know I owned. It is only a cheap double hander which was probably bought on a whim many moons ago but it got me thinking. Amongst my angling peers I am not that unusual in terms of the amount of angling gear I own, indeed I could legitimately argue that I spend less than many anglers on rods and reels.
So what is the extent of my ‘problem’? Confession time – I own 33 fishing rods and a ridiculous 55 reels. Spinners, spoons, minnows and the like number in the hundreds and flies in the thousands. Now can you see why I am suspicious that my tackle collection is out of hand? And that is why I’m convinced I should have worked as a purveyor of rods and reels.
Some of you reading this are no doubt agast at my wastefulness, but before you judge me too harshly I would invite you to perform a similar exercise in basic arithmetic with your own collection of rods. If you had asked me before I did the count how many rods I owned I would have been confident it was somewhere between 10 and 20. Out of sight, out of mind should have been my mantra! There was that telescopic 17 foot dapping rod which I have not used in 30 years for example, hiding away in a press as it was. Or the 12 foot match rod which I used to tame smallish carp when I worked in England. With not much call for carp gear here in Mayo that rod gathers dust in a quiet corner, the glories of my first carp on it now a long distant memory.
I counted every rod I own, including some old greenheart and cane rods which are fit only to be displayed on the walls. Also counted were any rods which are currently out of service but that I plan to repair and use again. There are other small crumbs of comfort; I fish in both freshwater and salt so that alone demands a range of rods to cater for widely diverse branches of angling. I could probably justify a dozen rods on that basis.
The reels on the other hand are pure, unashamed folly. I just love fishing reels and that is the long and the short of it. Fly reels, fixed spools, baitcasters and multipliers fill drawers and storage boxes or hang out in tightly knit communities in specially designed cases. I have what could probably be described and a ‘reel hospital’ where life or death surgery is performed on damaged or elderly line winding contraptions.
The question I am now asking of myself is does owning all this gear make my fishing any more enjoyable? Or is this quantity of rods and reels simply too much. Have I just continued to fall for the salesman’s patter? Looking back to my youth I fished with the best gear I could afford but usually only had around 8 rods in total. Do the additional 25 really make my angling that better better? In all honesty I doubt if all these rods make me a better fisherman or add hugely to the pleasures of fishing. I admit there is a nice feeling when handling top of the range gear and the appreciation of the workmanship is certainly very real. The number of rods/reels though does not in itself make the sport more enjoyable.
Pedlars of piscatorial hardware don’t actually sell us graphite rods or shiny reels. Oh no! They sell us dreams my friends, dreams of bigger fish, of catching them from hallowed waters or in exotic locations. They understand what makes an angler tick, what gets us excited, what (dare I say it) floats our fishing boat. I could have been that man, I could have sold you suckers some dreams! Instead I made widgets in factories and gave a fair old chunk of my hard earned cash to the purveyors of the fishing dreams.
I’m too old to change now, too set in my ways and happy with my little life as it is. As the owner of 33 rods though I remain sure and certain I would have been a bloody good salesman back in the day. By the way, have you seen that new fly reel by Hardy………………………….