Wanted – Working Crystal Ball

Five years ago a fishing buddy and I bought identical pairs of Bite Primal Flats Wading Boots. They proved to be exceptional. So much so, that when they recently began showing their age after much frequent and hard use, my buddy began looking for another pair. He found they were no longer in business and asked me what I planned to replace mine with. I told him that I was already covered – when I found out how well my original pair worked, I had immediately bought a second pair and put them back as insurance against this day. How I wish I had done the same with some of the rod building items I’ve used over the years.

The Fuji LSH/USH spinning rod handles remain my favorite. Had I been thinking ahead I’d have bought  many dozens of them when they were still in production. I still find one occasionally, but they’re getting rare as hen’s teeth. Same with the old Mildrum “Hi-Rollers.” They’re still my preference for the really big rods. I think I have one left, but there’s not much you can do with just one. The G. Loomis IGFA glass offshore trolling rods were the best I’ve ever used. And so, too, were their “Hybrid” stand-up rod blanks.  I should have bought more when I could have.

When Bullard Int. foundered in 1987, Diamond II epoxy disappeared.  Fast forward to 2005. I asked Gene if  he could bring back the original product. He said the man that made it for him had died and the company was long gone. So Gene sourced an off the shelf product to sell under the original namesake, but lamented that it did not come close to the original. Epoxy doesn’t go bad – anybody could have laid in a large stock while it was still available, but didn’t. I do still have an original, unopened bottle of CPX color preserver, however.

I never used any of the Clemens Apogee rod blanks. These had a solid glass tip fused to a tubular lower section. They retain a cult following. I’ll bet the cult wishes they had stocked up on a few more of these back in the day. Same with the guys who would still give their last nickel for a Fenwick Boron X rod blank.

How many builders wish they had stockpiled a bit more quality cork back when it wasn’t quite so hard to find, and much less expensive. Or perhaps a few sets of the old Aetna Foulproof guides which may still not have an equal on ultra-light rods. We like to think that the products we love and use will always be available. Deep down we know they won’t be, but time slips by so quickly.

Of course, there’s always the possiblity of stocking up on something only to have a new technology make that stockpile obsolete. It would be nice if crystal balls actually worked like they do in fairly tales.

Tom Kirkman