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Ronan's report

Sunday 20th July, 2008

The ZXL thread on the board right now is interesting. It started when skeg asked about the Sage ZXL, and as these discussions usually do, it covers a lot of ground. There's the usual class war thing and lots of talk about why premium rods should cost so fecking much in the UK. This is a real issue, for me and to everyone else who has looked at the price of those things in a British catalogue.. I mean, the high end rods are a LOT more expensive in the UK than they are everywhere else.

The fashion aspect is always with us though. The sight of a pricey fly rod brings out the Bolshevik in some folks. A few rod companies even make a sales campaign out of it. Like real fly fishermen don't need a chi-chi rod to catch fish. The price of a premium rod is only a problem if you can't sleep at night thinking about all those upperclass snobs driving around in a Range Rover full of Hardy's - and you want one too. It just ain't fair. If you can't afford the high style you feel you deserve it must be really tough to have to fish with a TFO. Not that a TFO is a poor rod by any means - they're great, but it doesn't have the je ne sais quoi of a nice new ZXL, does it? What is it - performance, a real difference in 'feel' and build quality? Or is it just sheer snob value?

One approach, if you just can't live without that new Loomis, is to suck it up and cut back on the kids' shoe money. But some guys just can't justify the cost of something so selfish and frivolous as a pricey fly rod. There's no way anyone's going to square that circle for you. And it doesn't matter if you can bust a hundred feet with your Korean knock-off TCR lookalike. Some guy is always going to show up with his new Winston, beaming like he just won the lottery and crowing about how it's better than sex. “Best rod I've ever used,” he says. “It's improved my casting by 100%! And just look at the jewellery on that reel seat! Pure quality, huh?"

There are a couple of possible responses in a situation like this. One is to feel good for the guy and his fancy new stick, say ”On ya, mate,” give it an appreciative wiggle, and tell him it's a gorgeous rod and he'll slay them with it.

Another is to say, “A Winston? Oh man, how much did you pay for that thing! What? You must be out of your fecking mind! I can by three of these TFO's for that and I'll catch just as many fish as you, and cast further. And there's a no blame replacement guarantee! You really got hosed, man.” Shutting him down feels good, but the only thing that will make it feel better for you is if he then smashes the damn thing in a car door, right in front of you.

What you have to ask yourself though, is just who's being the snob here?


Sorry about the late FP guys - my fault entirely! Cheers, Paul

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