Monday, May 30, 2011

Beer and a Book - Installment #2

We were on the fence with this month's book selection - The Technology of Fly Rods. It's kind of, well, technical and frankly might not appeal to everyone. The text is rife with terms like fiber tensile properties, Garrison stress curve, fiber/resin prepreg, and so on. In the end, we decided to go with it because even though it's a bit on the techy side, it happens to be pretty dang interesting too. The author, Don Phillips, says  " Do we need to know the technical aspects of fly rods in order to enjoy the sport of fly fishing? Of course not....But, for those of us who want to know more about the sport of fly fishing, this book is for you. And, who knows, a more practical end result might be that you can cast a little better and/or make better choices when selecting a fly rod for purchase."  Right on. 

And Phillips knows what he's talking about. He spent his career as a mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry. He also happens to be an avid fly fisherman. So what we get is a guy involved with the most advanced aerospace technology on the planet who one day said, hmm, maybe some of this same technology can be applied to fly rods. He went on to develop and build the world's first boron fly rod, eventually starting his own company to produce these rods. He is without question one of the pioneers of contemporary rod making, and he has provided the rest of us with a glimpse of his knowledge in this book.


I've bulleted out a few items that we found of particular interest:

*A brief history of fly rods from the days of hand-whittled wood rods to today's synthetic thundersticks.

*That boron is probably the better material for fly rods for a lot of reasons. So why are most modern rods graphite? Phillips has an interesting answer.

*The practical application of all of this technical info when purchasing a fly rod. Phillips gives excellent advice on things to consider when you're selecting a new fly rod. He covers everything from casting to line control to the landing of fish. Armed with this knowledge, you can make a well-informed decision about how to spend your money, a rationale that goes beyond the standard thought process of "I'll be fishing for trout, so I guess I'll get this here eight and half foot 5 wt.".

*The incredible number of factors and variables that go into producing a functional rod taper.

*The enormous impact that components like guides and ferrules have on the overall performance of the rod.

And that doesn't even scratch the surface of this book. Viewed through the prism of mechanical engineering and technology, fly rods are incredibly complex tools that can meet a huge variety of demands on the water. We guarantee that you'll never look at a fly rod quite the same after reading this book. Heck we're kind of afraid to take our rods out of their tubes now.

And after reading The Technology of Fly Rods, you'll be ready for a beer to cool your brain off.  Like the book, this month's beer, Hop Wallop, may not be for everyone.  If you're the kind of guy or gal that likes a strong (and I mean strong) bite of hops in your beers, then this beer is definitely worth a look.  If on the other hand Pale Ales and IPAs make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, then you'll probably want to pass it by.


'Cause this beer is loaded with hops. Think IPA on steroids (in fact it's a double IPA). Plenty of citrus overtones with a spike of bitterness on the back end. Took me awhile to get past the LoonyTunes-esque label, but this has quickly become one of my favorite beers, especially for the blistering summers we have here in Georgia.  Pulling one of these beers out of the cooler after a couple of hours simmering on the carp flats, well, it's indescribably good.  Hop Wallop is one of Victory Brewing Company's brews. We've had several of their beers over the years and haven't run into a bad one yet. Hop Wallop is one of their best in our humble and accurate opinion.

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