Old gits have always had the upper hand on fly fishing, a fact nowhere truer than in the UK (which — now that I think about it — should be the UQ). Witness the way the angling authorities reacted in the famous Halford vs. Skues case. During decades, the old gits have been slowly but firmly pushed into obsolescence by carbon modulus, saltwater on the fly, euro-nymphing, carp and pike on the fly, scandinavian reel design, aircraft-grade T6061 aluminium (a magnificent piece of marketing bullshit if I ever saw one) and — god forgives — even long reelless japanese rods techniques.
Now it seems that the old gits are back with a vengeance. Bamboo and fiberglass are hype again. Silk lines are the next big thing. The fly-fishing world seems to be on the verge of a conservative revolution, I wouldn’t be too suprised by a dry fly ultra-purism boom (at least everywhere it wouldn’t mean to abandon any hope of actually hooking a fish).
So, avant-garde (should one say arrière-garde ?) of the trend, Hardy issues a special ultra limited 110th anniversary edition of the Bouglé, a reel the Alnwick firm launched in 1903, produced until the WWII, and reinvented (the old gits…) in 1999, recently reaching the Mk VII avatar. I must say it’s a beauty.
Interesting guy, this Louis Bouglé. Cycling athlete, successful gambler, first class fisherman, casting champion, founding member of the Casting Club de France. He asked for a tweaking of Hardy’s Perfect reel in order to make it lighter. Smart, but not cost saving: what was to become the Hardy Bouglé was a real pain in the neck to produce at first. But it was good enough to convince the loaded fly fishermen of the world that it was worth twice the price of a Perfect.
It would be a pity if the irony were lost on us that the name of the most forward-thinking modernist French fishing has known in the early twentieth century, someone foolhardy enough to try to introduce US-style casting in France and fly-casting as a sport, should emblazon traditionalism à la British now.
The present author would rather go the futurist way. I’m one of those still waiting for the flying cars the future was going to give us. For instance, I think I’d gladly put this thing on the pike beast I’m going to build in a while. I love cassette reels. Actually, if you are willing to pay the price of a whole reel just to get a spool, I hope you’re also spending at least twice that much in casting lessons each year.
If you don’t, you may want to sort your priorities. Just saying.
Sound of the day: Elvis Costello. He’s either the smartest rock singer, or the rockest smart singer, I don’t know.