Came home from the usual run of errand stops on Monday and my wife had strategically placed the cardboard shipping tube and USPS boxes where I would see them as soon as I walked in the door — after all these years, she knows me pretty well and besides, I think she secretly delights in watching me well-up and squeal like a little girl now and then.

I think it is some kind of subliminal test she conducts (perhaps without even fully realizing she is doing it) to affirm my manhood and fitness as a mate — “yup, he broke down over new fishing gear. He’s obviously a hunter/gatherer, interested in providing food for the table and he can be sensitive as well — baby daddy material — and he’s all mine!”

Anyway, my new Pflueger 9-ft, 8-wt fly rod and Okuma large arbor reel along with some Cortland 8 wt sinking tip line had finally arrived from

I say “finally” but it is in the same way as one would shout “Finally!” after winning a huge, undeserved jack pot or something. In actuality. my new rig arrived in about a week from the time I ordered it online. Quick, efficient, and right to the door — not that I mind rooting around the local fly shop for hours at a time, but a week’s wait is a good trade off to jacking up the credit card bill to just under the national debt of Chile.

Needless to say, I spent a very pleasant evening setting up my new rig and getting it ready for it’s maiden voyage. After some careful negotiating with the missus it was determined that we would go to El Dorado Park in Long Beach where she could ride her bicycle and I could hit the small lakes that dot the park.

Next morning I christened the tip of my new rod in coffee (since I don’t drink anymore) and off we went.

The new rig performed admirably and I was able to reach areas that i could not get a fly to before. The cool part was the way it handled the big bass flies with ease, tossing them out past the algae and weeds. The weather had taken a turn toward hot and windless and and the fish had all seemed to hunker down for the day. No one was catching anything anywhere.

Nevertheless, I was quite pleased with how this new rod, reel and line looked, felt and cast. Since it is bigger and stiffer than the rig I normally use, at nine feet, it took a little practice for me to get used to it. I spent a little under an hour casting at the ducks and stuff until I was comfortable with it.

So far, I think I got a great deal and I can’t wait to take it out to the beach, which is what I purchased it for in the first place.

Who says you can’t have Christmas in June!

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