"This is your
father's lightsaber. It is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more
civilized time. For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic.
Before the dark times, before the Empire."
Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi to
Luke Skywalker. Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope
I'm not sure what
Obi-Wan Kenobi does for fun. However, I suspect that when he isn't battling Sith Lords, he spends his vacations fly fishing.
Fly fishing is a meditative yet active endeavor that would be certain to appeal to a Jedi master, and since Obi-Wan has access
to faster than light space travel, he's got a lot of interesting water (and fish) to choose from.
The mark of a Jedi
Knight is his lightsaber. Although a lightsaber is old school in that it's a sword, it is definitely a bit more high-tech
than your average katana. It's a unique mixture of traditional and radical. The Jedi's affinity with such a weapon is why
I'm pretty sure that Obi-Wan would choose a rod made by Wayne Maca of Beaverhead Rods for his fly fishing endeavors.
Like a lightsaber,
a Wayne Maca rod is something of an anomaly. Wayne uses crafting techniques and materials that are decidedly unique and cutting
edge. He runs sound waves through all his bamboo culms and measures the acoustic resistance of the bamboo to assess its characteristics.
He takes hollow building to the extreme, forming his rods in a monocoque construction that is as hollow as a rifle barrel.
He uses a ferrule constructed from carbon fiber, for light weight and consistent flex. Wayne is so hard core about high tech
that he even measures his rod lengths in centimeters rather than inches! All kidding aside, pretty much every aspect of the
rod has been designed to achieve light weight and strength.
In spite of all
the high-tech stuff incorporated into a Maca rod, they are very much traditional cane rods in many respects. The bamboo
is beautiful, with perfectly matched strips. They have simple and elegant cosmetics, with wraps and varnish that evidence
careful hand-crafted attention. The cork grips and reel seats are functional and attractive. The rod-sock smells of wood smoke
from the wood burning stove in Wayne's Montana shop.
|Wayne Maca 6 weight
I took delivery of my Wayne Maca rod in late spring. It is a 250 cm (8'
2.5") 2 piece six-weight with a single tip. Like all my rods, it was commissioned with a certain location in mind. My
Maca rod is my Wind River Range rod. The Wind Rivers are a terrific but challenging place to fish. Often in the Wind Rivers,
I fish small, meandering streams, sight-casting dry flies to skittish trout in shallow water. In the same day, I can also
be fishing big, windy, high-mountain lakes, launching big streamers or scuds as far as possible out into the depths. It's
a difficult challenge for a rod to perform well in both situations.
I had talked with Wayne a bit before I commissioned the rod, and based upon
his assurances about how his rods work, I decided that he should make my Wind River rod.
My next Wind River trip wasn't scheduled for several months, so I took the
new rod on a week long trip to Colorado's Flat Tops Wilderness. The Flat Tops have the same varied fishing
conditions of big lakes and small streams that are found in the Wind River Range, and I figured that this trip would be a
good test of the rod's performance.
As it turned out, the Maca rod did not disappoint me. It is a very versatile
fishing tool. The rod's action surprised me quite a bit. It has almost a dual personality; with a very different feel when
casting for distance compared with casting up close.
The fishing in the Flat Tops was very different depending on where we were.
I fished a couple of big mountain lakes. I would wade out as far as possible, standing on submerged boulders, and cast as
far as I could, using a weighted bead-head or scud pattern and strike indicator.
When distance casting, the rod had a decidedly full flex, loading deep into
the butt section, particularly when double hauling. On long casts, it feels a lot like the parabolic tapers that I've used,
and you can definitely feel the entire rod working to get the line out. It casts long distances with ease, and although it's
clearly strong, it has a deceptively "soft" flexing feel. I was able to get consistently long casts with it, even when balanced
precariously on an underwater rock in a late afternoon headwind.
I'm not really sure if I would characterize it as a "fast" action or a "slow"
action. It's an odd combination of both, that works exceptionally well, particularly if you are patient on your back cast
and let the rod really load before you fire it forward. I was able to get consistently long, accurate casts, which is good
considering I'm not really all that adept at distance casting.
|Fighting a lake-bred cut throat with my Maca 6-weight
Up close, however, the rod really doesn't exhibit any of these "parabolic"
tendencies at all. It has a decidedly "tippy" feel to it, and fishes much like other fast action dry fly rods I've used. For
short casts, mends, and turning the line over, there is lots of tip strength which makes for very efficient casting and line
control. These characteristics were put to good use on some small meadow streams, with fast moving currents. I had a lot of
success fishing the undercuts with hopper-dropper rigs that required accurate placement and a lot of fast mends. The rod's
length made mending easier than with some of my shorter, small stream rods.
The highlight of the trip was fishing a very small stream at the outlet
of a lake. It was narrow, with high, deeply overhung rocky banks interspaced with woods and meadows. There were lots of trout
in those shallow waters, and I was able to sight-cast to specific fish feeding in the current. The Maca rod was terrific,
allowing excellent control even when fishing just a couple of feet of fly line in combination with a very long leader and
tippet. I caught some of the best fish on the trip here, and I stayed out in that spot so long that I ended up finding my
way back to camp by the light of my headlamp.
Overall, I'm pretty impressed with my Wayne Maca rod. As I'd hoped, it is
able to cope with a very wide variety of fishing conditions. It's a lot of fun to fish, both up close and at distance. It's
light and well balanced, which makes it easy to cast all day long. It's an elegant combination of traditional and modern characteristics.
I'm looking forward to lots more days of fishing my Maca rod, channeling my inner Jedi while I cast. Even though I'm just
back from the Flat Tops, I'm already looking forward to my trip to the Wind River Range. Maybe I'll bump into Obi-Wan while
|Wind River Water
I finally got my Maca rod to the Wind Rivers, where I spent 8 days fishing.
It caught 6 inch brookies on small streams, and big, thick cutthroats out of lakes, cast short and long, calm and windy.
It may well be the best all-around rod ever.
|Wind River Trout