The HT4 is not actually a fishing rod. It’s a time machine.
I spent endless summers in the west country as a child. They were endless in all the wrong senses of that word; days, or more often weeks, of Devonian drizzle and dankness. Retrospectively, they seemed only bearable on the days that we stopped to look at the tiny moorland streams. I’d lean over the little stone bridges, desperate for a glimpse of a trout, bewitched by the sight and sound of the water tumbling between impossibly pretty pools – the whole world, and my whole attention, reduced to those few square feet of peaty, bouldery water.
Is there a word for that phenomenon, I wonder? You know what I’m talking about – that sudden telescoping of reality into the area immediately around your fly, the collapse of everything else around your immediate sensory field into a barely perceptible blur. It’s been a regular feature of my life for over thirty years now, but it has rarely been as sudden or vivid as it was this week on Dartmoor. With one stroke of my time machine, I was ten years old again – the weather no kinder, the streams no less mesmerising, the trout still as jewel-like.
I hardly needed something as sophisticated as an HT4 to catch this fish, of course. On streams the size of these, the line barely leaves the rod tip; and in any case, such encounters rarely give one much cause to consider anything as mundane as tackle or fly selection. Still, the Hot Torpedo took me there. Whatever its fishing qualities – and there are many, of course – it’s by far the best tool I know for poking holes in the space-time continuum.