I got into a discussion about fly rods with a fellow angling buddy a few days ago. He purchased a new Sage rod several months back and we got to talking about rod quality, prices and the like, and also how we was liking the new rod now that he’d been out with it several times.
While his catch rate hasn’t improved, he made a comment to me that spawned quite a discussion, and the blog post you’re currently reading.“I’m way more confident on the water with my new rod.”
I found the comment quite interesting, and of course, decided to further investigate the meaning behind it. I knew what he meant when he said it, and I understood the newfound confidence that he was speaking of. I’ve been in his position before, with the same new confidence he was experiencing. And while it’s great to be confident in new gear, it’s a perceived myth that doesn’t actually exist.
He went on to explain that the new rod felt better, casted better and gave him better control, which in turn made him more confident in his ability to trick trout. All of those things are probably true, as one would expect when purchasing a new $850 fly rod. I have no doubt that he upgraded his ability to become a better, more confident angler. What he didn’t upgrade is his mechanical bad habits, which no high-priced rod is going to cure entirely.
That $850 fly rod won’t fix bad casting habits. Flies don’t come out of trees any easier with an $850 fly rod, at least not that I am aware of. Walking up into a run like a bull through a china shop still spooks every fish in the run, even if the rod cost $850 bucks.
I learned early on that my $125 fly rod outfit I was using at the time was just as good as that $850 fly rod I could have purchased instead. My limited knowledge and experience would have made that $850 fly rod perform just like that $125 outfit, because my mechanics were–and in some cases still are–not to the level that warranted an $850 fly rod.
Perceived confidence is a strange thing. Sometimes it can be helpful and lead to positive progression. Other times though, it tends to be a letdown because what we perceive to be the issue we’re trying to solve was never really the problem to begin with.
That’s the high price of perceived confidence I suppose.