The Drug

The thing that’s so bad about gear lust is that even though you know it’s bad, you just can’t help yourself. My pal Alistair recently sowed the seed of reel-lust in my little fisherbrain. Up to then I’d been perfectly content with my Shakespeare Condex fly reels, which at 20 quid a pop are considerably cheaper than most fly lines. In a conversation that centred largly on nice, expensive fishing tackle, it became clear that he has a one-up on me in the reel department, fishing as he does with a glorious, shiny Vossler DC-series job. I think we both appreciated the mild irony of my combination of a Sage XP with a 20 quid Shakespeare reel. To be honest it’s the kind of irony I get a bit of a kick out of, but since the conversation I’ve been gradually degenerating into pitiful gear lust. Combine this with a new found lust for an expensive fly line and it’s all going down hill.

Things got even worse this weekend when I was in one of the big fishing tackle shops in Glasgow. I hadn’t been to any fishing shops for a good while, so I slowly worked my way through the fly tying department picking up bits and bobs that I obviously didn’t need. Then at the end of one of the isles was the clear-out row of Sage XP’s. And right on the end was an absolute beauty, a 7’6″ for a 4 weight. Holding it in the hand it felt ALIVE. She (she was clearly a she) was definitely wispering things to me. Things about how crisp she would be casting a little beetle under the overhanging willow tree on my favouite stretch of my favourite urban river. About how smoothly she would put out a nice dull-green-coloured (important) double taper line into the rudest breeze. This conversation went on and on as I felt myself being overtaken by the rigours of full blown gear lust. Perspective! I shouted, have some flaming Perspective! Even if she was a she and even if you could talk to her there’s no way she would stoop to being cast on an Urban River. She was an XP, and XP’s are for the rich boys aren’t they? Rich boys don’t fish on dirty urban rivers. She would not be satisfied, not with shopping trollies and burnt out cars. She would cheat and find a man who fished on a real river.

I’m telling you, there’s a big part of me that hates this kind of pathetic lust for gear. The lust for reels is possibly the worst of all: you never need a great reel, not in my kind of fishing and not like you need a great rod. Yet you really admire a nice one, you spin the spool and listen closely. I think a beautiful reel is more beautiful than a beautiful rod. Just look at this, and this. Reel-lust is gear lust of the purest kind.

You always manage to convince yourself that if only you can plump up the cash for this ‘one reel’, or ‘one rod’ or ‘one Ferrari’, that life will feel complete and that you will reach the next Zen plain of true contentment. But just like an addictive drug the old gear lust comes a-wondering back into your conciousness. It’s not something you’re born with, you aquire it. Exactly like you aquire a taste for cocaine. Just look at my reel-lust. One minute I was fine with a placky job which squeaked and occasionally jammed. Then the allure of a shiny German metal-man invades my life. It’s bad and it’s wrong but it’s not easy to stop.

Must. Control. Myself…


  1. Anonymous’s avatar

    No kidding. How many times have I gone into GAC with you saying you’re not getting anything… only to find myself waiting in the car whilst you buy quadzillion different items. Just keep it simple pal, simple flies, simple tackle, most success.
    As you may be able to tell, tis a boring day at the office today.

  2. Mike’s avatar

    Fair enough point. I definitely struggle with overcomplicating at times. But things are certainly getting better. Simple flies, simple leaders.

    But seriously, did you LOOK at that reel? It’s absolutely savage. I’ll be expecting one for crimbo, thanks.

  3. Anonymous’s avatar

    I get flies from this one guy, they are good flies and cheap too… you should give him a shout!
    Rogan josh indeed u sick, dirty swine.

  4. Mike’s avatar

    Yes they certainly are cheap for you at least. Cheap in time, cheap in money. Certainly not cheap for the tyer though are they? eh? eh??

  5. Trout Underground’s avatar

    It’s not the gear lust so much as the talking to equipment (and having it talk back) that’s kinda creepy… 😎

  6. Alistair’s avatar

    When discussing with a pal what we would spend a large lottery winning on…
    “I would probably acquire an expensive drug habit” he mused,
    “I’ve already got one of those” I replied “I fly fish for trout”

  7. Mike’s avatar

    No joke Alistair.

    Is your reel the DC2? What’s it like in terms of fitting lines on? Do you have a number 4 line on it? DT or WF?

  8. Mike’s avatar

    And Tom, come on mate, don’t tell me you’ve never shared a quiet natter with one of those nice fibreglass rods of yours..?!

  9. Alistair’s avatar

    Hey Mike, I use the Vosseler DC2 with wide arbour. There is not a lot of room on their so I use a DT4 line cut in half with some backing. If I were you I would get the standard spool for your sage rod meaning you can get the full fly line with backing !

    OR you coudl always get a Lamson radius.
    Whatever you decide, mind its all just bling bling 🙂

  10. Alistair’s avatar

    Sigh, what the heck is your email addy anyway?

    Tom Chandler over at Trout Underground in his business disguise decided to pass me the “Blog Tag” poison chalice where I get to share five things that you probably don’t know about me. I have decided to tag yourself.

    I await your post with interest!

    Here is mine

    Yours Aye


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