Broken Rods, Unbroken Hope

When I learned that I was going to be able to shack up at the Golden Gate Trailer Park for the winter of 2017/2018, I was stoked to explore a small fishery that I had failed to take advantage of in the eleven years I previously lived in the area.  GGTP is maybe a quarter mile from Corte Madera Creek, a small estuary that quickly turns into a concrete flood channel, and upstream, a small creek that historically had runs of steelhead and probably salmon (neither can be legally targeted today).

What interested me were the videos on YouTube of a local kid catching striped bass from a kayak underneath the 101 bridge. There is also a video of a guy fighting a leopard shark, on the fly, in Corte Madera Creek!

So the first weekend I was here, I checked the tides and set out to cast Clouser minnows under the freeway bridge. My saltwater rod has been hanging on the garage wall, fully assembled since last winter, when it performed backup duties after my 7wt switch rod broke under the pain of 104 hours of swinging for steelhead.

I had to break down the Redington Crosswater 8wt to put it in a case and strap it to my backpack to bicycle to the creek. Now, I bought this rod maybe 4 years ago, and it was my main tool in Florida as I tried to get with the snook and baby tarpon. It caught barracuda, jacks, sea trout, ladyfish, redfish, pufferfish (!) and even a saltwater catfish. I’ve disassembled rods indoors hundreds of times in the last couple of years. This time, when the sections popped apart, the tip whipped around and hit the corner of a wall. Goodnight sweet Redington.

Well, the next closest thing was the 7wt switch rod that Cabelas warrantied last March. So I threw two different reels and 4 lines in my backpack and headed down to the water. I ended up only using the Rio Skagit Max short that I had swung on the Van Duzen, the Mad, the Trinity and the Smith last winter. It took a couple of hours, but I finally got a grab on the green and white Clouser. This fish put me on the reel for the second time in a month (after the fat Eagle River rainbow exiting Colorado), and it was a splendid striped bass of perhaps 20″.

I had hoped for this result, and I was rewarded. Sometimes life just works out, despite your best efforts to the contrary.

RIP Broken Flyrods

Phoenix Lake Bluegill
This rod broke in the bed of my Ford Ranger when I took a curve too quickly and my ice chest slid over and broke the tip.


Humboldt River
This rod broke a year after this pic, when I was casting for bass in a canal next to the Tamiami Trail in Florida. I clipped a road sign next to a boat ramp. Cheers to “The Fly Shop” in Redding, CA… they include a spare tip with every rod. And when I broke it again a year later, they gave me a whole new rod.
Redington Crosswater 8wt
Redington Crosswater 8wt, died indoors, Corte Madera, CA
Cabelas 7wt Switch Rod
This rod broke after 104 hours of throwing a Rio Skagit Max Short with MOW tips. I sanded the upper part and shoved in into the lower part, then taped it up. It lasted one more casting sesh.

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