The Rod ‘O Rama is a fly fishing staple – an afternoon where pretty much every fly rod you own ends up leaning against something in the back yard, lines strung, loops formed, actions evaluated.

Fly rods

A stack of fly rods leaning against the rail - the inevitable result of a Rod 'O Rama

Naturally, a good Rod ‘O Rama involves more than one person, and in extreme circumstances, disagreements over rod action or desirability may be settled with dueling pistols.

Mostly, a simple “you’re a clueless bastard” is enough.

During a really epic Rod ‘O Rama, you can dig out rods you haven’t seen in years (I don’t want to own any rods I haven’t fished in years, but have to admit I do), and – in rare instances – you may unearth fly rods you forgot you owned.

In this case, I found two rods I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen before, though I finally solved the mystery on one.

It was a Raine bamboo rod tube containing a butt and mid, but – puzzlingly – no tips.

It was a model I’d never owned, but realized later he’d grabbed it out of his shop by accident when we went fishing last fall, borrowed my spare rod that day, and then forgot to retrieve the tube from my truck.

I’m wondering what a reasonable ransom looks like.

The Theme of The Day: 6 WTs

A Rod ‘O Rama theme is useful, and in this instance, Older Bro was loooking for a 6wt, which means he got to cast everything from an decades-old Orvis Superfine 6wt to sweet 14 year-old Sage DS – right up to Raine’s saltwater 6wt and the high-tech Orvis Hydros that replaced my much-missed Zero Gravity.

Initially, you try to limit the madness to one type of rod, but eventually the words “if you like that, you’ll love my XXXX” are heard, and suddenly, you’re casting four and five weights too.

Before it’s over, you’ve got everything from a 60 year-old Phillipson to a two-month-old graphite leaning against the rail – every one of which is loaded with some kind of memory.

You find yourself ankle-deep in the snow still covering the yard, false casting a fly rod, adjusting the loop size, and the memory of a rainy day on a lake washes over you.

You may or may not remember how cold and wet you were, but you do remember dropping the rod in the shallow water because you were holding a 17″ rainbow, and that its strawberry lateral line lit up the rainy, monochromatic, steel-grey environment you’d come to accept as normal.

Later, I found myself casting a 7.5’ 5wt Fenwick glass rod – the factory equivalent to my first fly rod, one I built in the mid-70s from a blank.

While the original rod met its end in a Santa Clara garage, the replacement feels similar enough that casting it reminded me of the bluegills and crappie I caught from a muddy, weedy lake better than 30 years ago.

Putting Them Away… Sorta

Ultimately, Older Bro’ found a rod he liked, and since I had a similar rod, sent him home with it.

Yet, when I put all the rod tubes away, I noticed a few – like the Fenwick – ended up a little closer to the front of the pile.

It’s not spring yet – there’s still snow on the ground and the alpine trails are months away from opening – but we’re seeing the signs.

The blue jays who nest under the front eaves came back today, and temperatures could run into the upper 50s all week.

So while I can’t fish the small streams yet (not legally), I can set aside a few rods that haven’t been fished in a while, and imagine creating new memories with them over the coming season.

See you when the streams open, Tom Chandler.