This past weekend, the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance hosted their Cast and Compare event on the Fox River, giving their members the chance to see what's hot on the market and what's coming down the pipe later this year.
With Dave and Doug from Sage and Redington there to help fine tune your casting, or make an educated recommendation on rod and reel choices, as well as Jeremy from DuPage Fly Fishing Co., there were plenty of options to cast. There were speycasting lessons, and even kayaks to check out.
In a rush out the door, I figured I'd grab a few rods to bring along. I only have at best, middle of the road graphite rods, but take a lot of pride in my glass collection, as they've all come out of my kitchen (I mean shop). With the blanks available on the market these days, building is simple and a great way to stay connected to fly fishing in the winter. It's not a big collection, but I recently completed a 7'6" Katbuto 4 weight, started my collection with a 7' Lamiglass 3 weight, and added a Blue Halo (Gen 1) 8' 5 weight along the way. Each built with the help of Eric Heckman from Coren's Rod and Reel, and with a lot of pride.
The Kabuto seemed to be a hit, and I was thrilled when a people liked it enough to request a build of their own. I've always loved to start building rods for other people, but other than a favor here and there, and a rod for my pop, I prefer to keep them in house. So it's a great feeling when someone appreciates the work you've done.
It was an all around great day and I had a blast casting some great new rods, some old school original glass and fell in love with the newer Sage reels. All around a great day, met some really cool new people, found some rods I may have to consider in the future, and have already started putting my pennies away in hopes of getting a new Sage reel this winter.