I’ve been getting the itch to build a rod lately. I’m growing tiresome of the 15+ year old 5 wt. I have been using as my duty rod. My natural inclination is to ask someone I know to help me out. Enter Larry from Fly Fishing Crazy. We chatted about the blanks that I would purchase for my first build. For me to get acquainted with the process, I decided on building an 8wt. It didn’t take long after the decision was made before Larry brought up Project Healing Waters and the rods that T.L. Johnson has made to also support the effort. Did I mention that it was in his truck the whole time?
Project Healing Waters is an organization dedicated to the assistance of disabled vets through fly fishing. Unlike a lot of organizations out there, I can actually sum it up in that one sentence. Crazy, right? I have a few military friends and I know how active duty can change a person. My brother is one such soldier, sent to Iraq to fight. Coming back, he seemed a lot different and his social interactions with other civilians were gone. We took a lot of trips that summer and fishing really changed something in him. He said that it allowed him to concentrate on something other than the past, to focus on a new endeavor. A lot of these returning soldiers need that same kind of help. Injured or uninjured. PHW provides that support through tying and casting classes as well as fishing trips.
My Mission: To test the 4wt. T.L. Johnson Army #001 and return it safely to Larry.
Synopsis: I loved the 4wt. You could feel the rod load and release, giving you a smooth and accurate cast with a great presentation. The loading came in really handy when mending line. The rod easily threw around 5-6′ of line almost effortlessly. Too effortlessly for me. I would throw out a 6′ mend when I wanted 6″. Something I got used to in a short period of time. I’m used to nearly roll casting to get a 2′ mend in my old rod. The rod really did everything I wanted and the line followed it’s instruction like a soldier and his general. There were only two drawbacks to the rod (Larry told me to be honest). If you overload the rod it under performs. Which by all means exists in every rod out there, and the way this rod is made, you can feel that overload point and how much leeway it gives you is fantastic. Issue #2: There is a slight delay of about 1/4 to 1/2 second in the hookset time. The rod loads a bit if you try to quickly set the hook, making longer distances more difficult to set, but remember that this is a 4wt. You shouldn’t be trying to lay out 70′ of line. The playing of fish was fantastic as well, I could have easily fought a fish with an 8x tippet. The flex of the rod was great, and it holds a lot of power in the lower third. All in all, this rod was great! It really reminds me of a woman. If you try to push her to do something, she won’t. If you don’t ask, she does it on her own and then some.
Now… Should I finish the mission and return the rod? Oof… tough choice.
More on the Poudre trip shortly…
To edit this post, I did not mention that when you purchase a rod 20% and $20 of the purchase price go to Project Healing Waters. Order them here! You know that Christmas is coming…