Well I know it’s been a while since I posted anything but it’s been a crazy couple of weeks here, I am still alive and kicking!
A couple of weeks ago I got word that Bret Reiter was gonna be in Colorado Springs for a while as he works for USAA insurance and is here to help with the fire claims due to the unfortunate losses caused by the Waldo Canyon fire. Well my friend Mike McClain who lives in the area sent me an email and said he was gonna meet with Brett and I said I would like to come down and maybe we could have lunch and just chew the fat! You know talk about Bamboo rods and all related things. A lunch is not really enough time to get to know another bamboo person, but we did extend it to more like 3 or 4 hours! I can only speak for myself but I had a great time, it’s always nice when you can put a face to a person whom you have ‘known’ for a long time as is the case with Bret, he and I have been friends via email for many years and it was good to finally meet him. Mike and I have known each other for a year or so, he emailed me asking if I was doing rod building classes and I had to tell him that as I am still working a full time job my ‘spare’ time would not allow me to give a class the time necessary. I have taught a number of people and really do enjoy doing that, but to be fair I would need to dedicate more time to it. I have toyed with the idea of getting back in to it when I retire. (Perhaps the first of the year?) Anyway I redirected him to a friend of mine and he was very pleased with the outcome. We have become a bit more than mere acquaintance, or at least that is my take on it! OK enough of that…
So when I got to Mike’s house Bret and Mike were sitting there talking hand tied leaders, Bret had a wallet full of his own makings and was quick to dig one out and say “here try this out! I want feedback!” It is always cool when you get to try out different things others are working on! Bret had asked me to bring along some of my rods as he had never seen one. Well all I have is the ones I fish with as with my limited time I just manage to keep up with my orders now a days! Bret bought some Garrison type reel seat hardware from me a while back and I told Mike about that and he asked me to bring him a set if I would …so I did along with some of my new agate strippers that I had just finished! So we exchanged ideas and looked over our stuff and talked about all kinds of stuff. Next Mike said “well let me show you guys my shop set up!” and we spent a good half hour or so talking shop stuff. You know everything from planes, forms, ovens, dip tubes, varnish, bamboo culms, staggering, …on and on! Great time! Well we were working our way outside to look at my rods! I just happened to have a reel with me and since all the rods I had were 4 wts we could cast them all and compare. First I brought out a 6′ 4 wt based on a Wayne Cattanach taper. Guys liked it! Next I brought the 6′ 4 wt that I have designed to my specs which is simply a modification of the aforementioned rod. I fish small streams in my area and have spent a lot of time tweaking this rod to do just what I want. The guys really liked this rod and Mike asked me if I would mind sharing the taper with him as he would like to build one… “I don’t mind at all” I said! “What else you got” asked Bret! “Well the only other thing I have is this 7′ 4 wt based on a Garrison 202e” I said and we strung it up! Well I have to tell you if you don’t already know, it’s quite nerve racking to hand your rods to other builders who know what they are looking at! But I think that the guys really liked my fishing rods (nothing special, just what I use all the time!) Bret asked me what I was getting for my rods and when I told him he said, without hesitation “You’re not asking enough for these, they are really nice! “Thank you!” I said! (loss for word… I know… hard to believe!) You know when I retire and start taking more orders prices will go up! A word to the wise…
“Guys! I getting hungry” I said. “What do you guys want to eat?’ Mike asked. “I was thinking Italian” I said and everyone agreed. This is your turf Mike, lead the way. So off we went to Biaggis Italian Restaurant. Well long story short (kinda late for that!) we sat and ate and talked more about all things fishing and bamboo! Mike was gracious enough to pick up the tab! Thank you Mike! Like a good fishing trip this too had to come to an end. We said our goodbyes and all went our separate ways. I was hoping to get back and through Denver before it was too late as I had some things I needed to get done.
Well I fought traffic and an accident all the way back most of the 100 miles I had to travel to get back home but all in all it was well worth it.
Had a great time …just like a good fishing trip… with good friends.
Joe E. Arguello
I have met Bret and fished with him several times. Always a good time.
I wish I could have been the proverbial fly on the wall. It is why my favorite part of Grayrock is Barch’s On the Porch (or under the picnic shelter this last time) ramblings. I love your agates and I’ve seen Bret’s rods so I wish again I could have been there. Thanks for sharing. Mark