Alejandro is not just an outstanding flycaster but he understood much of current fly casting theory, in Spanish, before we got even remotely close in English – in fact he helped us get there too. A few years after we met, Alejandro started working for a rod building company in Spain called Maxia. I had been looking to manufacture some fly rods myself, and had approached a few companies, one of which was producing some great rods at the time but is now out of business. Quite the omen! This happened over about a ten year period.
Now something you need to know about fly rods, is that nothing much has changed in the last 20-30 years. The resins are better. Maybe the way we lay the fibres has improved. But when it comes down to it, it’s the same damned materials. Get rid of the marketing bullshit (sorry) and the rods that are being produced now could well have been produced, pretty much the same as now, 20 or 30 years ago. In fact, I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble here, but some of the rods being produced 30 years ago, are far superior to many of the rods we have today. Why, you might ask? Personally I think it’s the “lifetime guarantee”. All of a sudden it was better to sell a truck than a sports car.. and just for the record, I drive a truck and fish a sports car!
There is another issue of course. Manufacturers must bring out new products regularly for their “sales cycle.” The latest and greatest rod – that’s guaranteed to sort out all your casting shortcomings… so long as you over-line it by three line weights! I can’t believe I live in the same world sometimes. Maybe they are right; maybe the consumer is ignorant. I know I am sometimes!
When I’m casting at an event, or just playing around with the rod (it’s like Zorro if you don’t know me!), people often come up to me. They don’t say, “wow dude, you can throw!!!” Or “I thought I had seen all the Star Wars movies but this one I must have missed Chewbacca!”. No, they say: “what rod is that?”
So I figure it’s the other way around too. A novice fly caster, who fancies a job as a speed-freak window cleaner, who desperately needs a slash, is flailing away like a Beserker. Some guy comes up to him, “what rod is THAT???!!” It had better not be a Sexyloops Hot Torpedo!!!
At one point I did consider vetting all of our customers, however I realised than instead of the guillotine, I should give new customers a fly casting lesson on Zoom! And so that’s what we do now. Buy a Hot Torpedo and I give a one-hour casting lesson, totally free. While it may not turn him or her the flycasting equivalent of a samurai warrior, it will certainly be a step in the right direction.
Now some of you might be wondering how I came up with the catchy name, “Hot Torpedo” for a fly rod. Well that’s a good question… actually coming up with the name is not the challenge; it’s running with it that makes life more fun!
I live in a niche world within a niche world, trying to communicate with the world at large. The best piece of advice I can give anyone, now that I’ve zapped into being 50, is just be different. Don’t follow anyone else’s footsteps. Go and stomp your own, with waders on. But above all, just be fucking different!
I had better get back to the rods story. I basically made the rod that I want. I want to feel like I’m Zorro when fly fishing. So I made a rod that fitted me in doing this. Personally I think they’re a damned sight better than most rods out there. There are a few models on a par, for sure, here and there. Scott, Loomis, Sage, Winston. These are top brands. I think my favourite all-time rod that isn't a Hot Torpedo is the Loomis IMX series. I see the HT series as an extension of that, a bit more modern but that kind of feel and performance. I realise there is customer-loyalty brand-affiliations going on with customers. That’s weird. I think you should have a rod from all of these companies and one of ours as well! All I would say, is that with our rods, please please please put on a fly line that conforms to AFFTA line standards in order to enjoy it to its best. (Email me for an explanation!)
I know that quite a few readers would like a HT5 weight. We still haven’t finished this yet. I have had various prototypes over the years - Ashly uses one of these are her competition accuracy rod. But it’s nowhere near what I’m looking for feel and performance wise. It hasn’t been a priority to get this done but I’m working on it once again. We have another prototype being built and sent over to me. Prototype number five... or possiblely six... I think is we are up to now. I don’t expect this to be the one either, but I’m hoping it's a lot closer to what I have in mind. And that I think is the key incidentally. I know exactly what I want from the rod, how it should behave, feel and perform... the challenge always is how to get there!
I’ve been very busy and need a few campfires and some fish. But I’m chasing Giant Gourami. And I need to get one in the boat! This fish screws my head. So close today. Went looking for him. Found him. Shot in. Fish looked. I thought it ate. Suitable delay and strike! No fishy. But it stayed there, like stupefied that some insect should zip out the water, and so I gave it to him again. Looked… but this time looked at the leader too, swam around under the fly for a while to piss me off, and then vanished.
The problem with these fish is that it’s such a gamble even after eating. So difficult to land. Powerful, snaggy, they are the wii quite possibly the number one freshwater fish on the planet. Maybe even overall – includong saltwater too – and the Universe. We have them here on Earth, and they are fuckers!
Have a great week! I sincerely hope I get to post some Gourami photos next week :)))
PS today's POD photo is of Chewbacca giving a casting lesson on the roof of the Battleship.