Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated.

Shazam! You decide to take a little break from the entries and almost a year goes by. Where did the time go? Let's see - rec basketball, work, spring Little League, Summer Ball, the Beach, work, Errol, biking, work, running and literally, just a little fishing. Time for fishing was so limited that I made the most of the time and enjoyed the moments. Rather than capture digital images of my fish porn, I decided to make note of the images the old fashioned way - memory.

I have found that I am less and less into all the technology that surrounds me. I'm to busy trying to remember where my cell phone is or if the camera battery is charged. These many months have allowed me time to just let things happen around me and to take from those experiences whatever may come.

While my fishing was limited, I had some GREAT nights on the Farmington River, alone, under the night sky, illuminated only when moving in the water or tying on a new fly. The sensory rush was amazing and night dry fly fishing become a new obsession - albeit on a time permitting basis.

Early in 2013, I as the recipient of my brother's old Bianchi bike and indoor stand. It was that gift that set me down a new path, one that I jumped into with the same enthusiasm with which I once tackled fishing. I was riding often, in the basement, during the winter months. Spring allowed me to begin to ride on the road and local bike trails. Riding had never been my thing however, now, I was seeing some serious benefits. I was losing weight and eating better. After riding for a bit, I decided to give running another chance. Running, always a favorite of mine, had become an issue due to some knee problems. Riding had strengthened my legs and the first runs were short and easy. I found that I could run pain-free. Fortunately, I was also motivated by a friend who had started running a few months earlier and was on his was to some serious weight lose.

Now, down 34 pounds, with several legitimate 5K road races and the ING Hartford Marathon relay under my belt, I am pounding the roads and trails often. You go through childhood with more energy than you know what to do with, not realizing that the cup actually has a limit. In my 20's I could still get away with not exercising and still " keep up ". After kids, I realized I was just fat and lazy. I had grown very comfortable. With no vices, other than food, I indulged. The weight certainly goes on easier than it comes off. However, I have found that I take a strange pleasure from a good sweat...a bike ride that leaves me winded or a run that ends with me doubled over in recovery.

These last months were a time to get off the sidelines and get back in the game. Fishing has been and will always be an escape that many cannot understand. However, I found that, after exploring many new and old habits alike, that I had been living in a shell of my 5wt, chest pack and waders.

So, while the posts will begin again, they will be much more varied in content. I thought about letting the Weary Angler go silently into that goodnight. Rather, I will keep it alive as was originally envisioned...a venue for all things life with some fishing thrown in for good measure.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Made in the U.S.A

I've always been a strong proponent of buying locally and buying made in America products, well, with the exception of cars, but that's another story. Also, as I've gotten older, I've realized that you really do get what you pay for.

This past week, I have had 2 superior experiences with repair issues from Simms and Hatch.

Christmas 2011 found a pair of Simms Rivertek Boa wading boots under the tree. I could not have been happier as I really love this pair of boots. I wore them often throughout 2012 and the provided the comfort and ease of use that I wanted in new boots. By know means did I wear them an excessive amount but it was often. I went to pull them on this past December, for a little cold weather fishing, and was disappointed to see the stitching had come apart.

I contacted Simms customer service department and explained the problem. The gentleman was very helpful and stated that there was an issue with the stitching in the boots early on in production. He suggested I return the boots for first hand evaluation and he would see what could be done. I sent the boots off and, within days, heard back that Simms would be replacing the boots with a new pair as this was a manufacturing issue. Kudos to Simms for making the entire process seamless, no pun intended. In my mind, service like this justifies the price of the boots. I have now dealt with Simms on wader and boot issues and have been thoroughly pleased with the outcome each time.

Happily, I can report a similar outcome with the repair of a Hatch reel. I purchased a 4 Plus reel early last year and was truly impressed with the overall quality and feel of this reel. One afternoon, after a trip to the river, I was cleaning some gear and making room in the trunk and I dropped the reel my asphalt driveway. Yep, it did not end well for the reel. The frame was bent and the spool would not spin smoothly. I knew I was in for it this time...clearly my bad.

For a couple months, I buried the damaged reel in my office and moved it from spot to spot around my desk, perhaps thinking that wishful thinking might magically repair the reel. Well, the angling fairy never materialized so I contacted Hatch in early December. I dealt with Andrew Dickinson and he suggested I return the reel for evaluation. A couple weeks passed and Andrew phoned with his findings...now, bear in mind that I told Andrew exactly how the reel was damaged - this was clearly my doings.

Not only did Andrew repair the reel, he upgraded to internal drag mechanism and even repainted the paint / enamel on the reel. He clearly went above and beyond the call. Now the kicker...he did not charge me anything for this service. To say the least, I was blown away by his service and attention to detail. Again, service like Andrew's justifies the price of the reels and provides a measure of comfort for the user.

Now, if I could just find the time to get out and use the great products I would be a happy man!