Gateway drugs

Gateway drugs

Martyn White | Thursday, 8 February 2024

Tokyo was hit with a cold snap and an unusual amount of snow this week, and out where I live it was worse. So instead of going down the river and trying to sight fish in a blizzard, I arranged to meet Canadian John and Hawaiian Dave for some drinks and food in Hooters, but the real reason was that Dave and I had got John a fly rod set for some kind of late Christmas/early birthday gift.

John's been spin fishing for about 18 months now, but had been hesitant to make the jump to fly. So we decided to give him a bit of a push, and honestly he'll probably start catching more of the local species once he gets his casting up to a reasonable standard. There's also the added advantage for us that it's better to fly fish with someone who's fly fishing than it is to fly fish with someone who's spinning. Anyway, we got him one of those Maxcatch outfits as Dave had seen a couple that some of the Malaysian guys were using on his Thailand trip and he said the were surprisingly good. I have to agree. They're obviously not up there with the likes of Hot Torpedo, Wiston & Scott et al. But are amazing compared to what the beginner's outfits used to be like, I'm sure many of you remember at least seeing those plastic reel and super cheap foam handled rod jobs in the tackle shops. And are even more amazing considering the price. We paid a little over a hundred US for the rod & reel loaded with line-so it's not a big deal if he doesn't take to it.

We went for a seven weight as it will cover carp, seabass, black bass, bream, mullet and maruta fairly well. The rod is light and has a nice recovery, not too fast and not wobbly. When it arrived, I had a cast with it before Dave and I thought is was reminiscent of some of those $300ish mid range rods from the likes of Redington, just with better finishings! When Dave tried it he immediately decided it was actually a St. Croix, he has a 9'#7 St. Croix and after a few minutes casting it was adamant that it was the same rod with a different label. Of course we don't know this for sure, but with so many rods being made in China it wouldn't be surprisning if these came out of the same factory and Maxcatch is just cutting out the the intermediate costs. The reel is nice too, aluminium with a matte black finish and nice, big, easy to turn drag knob. The drag seems smooth but we'll see how it gets on with a big river carp before passing judgement. I would say it's a bit on the small side for its stated 7/8 size, but that's partly because reels have got bigger over the past 20 years. I'm pretty sure it's about the same as my old Mk1 Redington Rise 7/8. I'm not saying I'd buy one for myself, but for anyone interested in trying fly fishing, or for someone who has a kid that wants to try I think these are great. 

So John's been watching the masterclass videos on here

And will be getting a couple of casting lessons over the coming weeks to shorten the learning curve. He did a lot of practising with his spinning gear when he started, so I imagine he'll carry that through to his fly casting. Which is good, so many don't. I'm looking forward to his first fly caught fish, it'll probably be a carp unless the maruta arrive in the river before, then it'll probably be one of them. Once that happens and the addiction takes hold, we'll need to get him on to tying his own flies so he can really fritter away his retirement money and kids' college funds...