Casting 4 A Cure is a tremendous organization comprised of folks who love kids and fly fishing. The passion for one benefits the love for the other as fly fishing serves as a vehicle to raise much-needed funding for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation.
Rett Syndrome is a cruel neurodevelopmental disorder which begins to show its affects in infancy or early childhood. It is seen almost exclusively in females, although it can occur rarely in boys. The disorder severely disrupts gross and fine motor skills as well as robbing the girls of their ability to speak and communicate with the outside world. Seizures and breathing problems can also be prevailing symptoms. It affects every aspect of a family’s life, as our girls are dependent upon us for almost everything, from helping feed them to helping them get around, bathing, and most other daily tasks that most of us take for granted.
Currently there is a very special Ebay auction taking place over the next 10 days. View the auction HERE – it includes some really great stuff. All proceeds will go directly to Casting 4 a Cure, and the auction includes the following items:
• Scandalous Sticks Custom Fiberglass “Pygmy” Fly Rod
The Pygmy is a very special little fiberglass rod. It is a 5 foot 6 inch 4wt that has more personality than some people. It is not uncommon to toss a 60-foot cast with a 12 foot leader and a dry fly. Being designed for the dry fly genre it’s NEVER had a rough presentation. The Pygmy has the ability to fight BIG fish into the 30-inch range with ease. This beautiful custom-built rod is truly a one of a kind, with a custom blonde Israeli olive wood reel seat and a “Casting 4 A Cure” label. This would be a great rod for kids to learn to cast with, but once you see it you’ll want to keep it for yourself! Price $450 Read my review of the rod HERE
• Clear Creek aluminum rod tube and sock
Anodized brass screw-on cap with protected internal threads. Clear Creek tubes feature thicker .05” aluminum for super-protection and padded top prevents damage to contents. Rod sock is 60/40 poly-cotton, features flap and tie closure. Retail $47
• Redington Drift 3/4 Fly Reel
Titanium. Designed to meet the specific needs of the trout fisherman, the new Click and Pawl Drift Series is fully machined from 6061-T6 aluminum. These reels are custom anodized. (pre-spooled with backing and line) Retail $99.95
• Rio Mainstream Trout WF4F
Designed to optimize rod performance at normal casting ranges. The MainStream floating lines have a supple self-lubricating coating that remains memory-free in cold water. Retail $39.95
• Fishpond Laurel Run Fly Box
In designing the Laurel Run, we challenged the notion that fly boxes must be made of plastic or metal. Crush-resistant, molded construction; Zippered case; Colorful fishpond Jacquard accent webbing doubles as hand strap; Climbing cord loop for lanyard;High-density foam for easy identification of flies; Floats. 4 x 6 inches. Retail $25.00
• Olive the Woolly Bugger books
This series of three children’s fly fishing books is signed by the author, Kirk Werner. Includes Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream, and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride. Also included is an embroidered Olive baseball style cap. Retail $38.85 ($12.95 each)
• Tomorrow’s Fly Fishers DVD by Fanny Krieger
This DVD is an introduction to fly fishing for young people and beginners of all ages. It unravels the mystery of fly fishing into a simple, easy to under-stand and fun adventure. Fanny is a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor. If you know the Krieger name, that says it all! Retail $29.95
Fly Rod Review: Pygmy Glass 5’6″ 4 Weight
I may have just found the perfect fly rod for kids. It’s called the Pygmy, and the name is indicative of its diminutive size.
At 5’6″ in length one may think that it’s too short to be effective at casting a fly line. I’ll admit I was skeptical myself, until I strung up the little fiberglass beauty and spent some time lawn casting with it. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily I was able to throw tight loops out to around 40 feet without altering my casting strike much at all. All of my single handed fly rods are 9′ and longer: all are fast action rods made with late generation graphite so I’m no expert on fiberglass rods. That may make me the perfect type of person to review a glass rod – after all, I have no certain affinity (bias) for them. My perception, be it right or wrong, about fiberglass rods is that they’re limp noodles that require a very slow casting stroke. My first fly rod was glass, and I seem to recall it bending all the way to the cork grip. Well, the Pygmy is not your father’s glass rod. As it’s builder, Stephen Vance says, “The pygmy is a glass rod with graphite roots.” Mr. Vance is the owner of Scandalous Sticks custom fly rods in Boise, Idaho.
The reason I didn’t water cast the Pygmy is because unfortunately this rod is not mine to keep. I’m donating it to an auction for Casting 4 A Cure and I didn’t want to take it out to a body of water and risk catching a fish with it!
To be perfectly accurate, the rod I tested is 5’7″ due to a fighting butt that adds an inch. That fighting butt may be more than just decoartive as fish in the range of 30 inches have been landed on the Pygmy, according to the Scandalous Sticks website. A fish that size is going to require a reel with a decent drag – you probably don’t want to palm agiant brown trout. For casting practice I tested the Pygmy using two different reels: My own Ross Evolution 1.5 and a Redington Drift 3/4 (also donated for the auction by the good folks at Redington). The Ross is a perfect match for my 9 foot 4 weight rods but felt a little big for the Pygmy. At 3.7 ounces the Redington was a nice fit. The balance point was about 3 inches behind the leading edge of the cork grip, so perhaps a bit further back than what textbook guidelines suggest. However, with such a short rod a reel would need to be nearly weightless in order to balance where a typical longer rod does. This didn’t bother me one bit: the entire outfit is so light in the hands that the matter of a balance point was the furthest thing from my mind. As for aesthetics, the titanium Redington looks real sweet when attached to the nickel silver up-locking reel seat.
Being fiberglass, the rod does flex and the tip feels sensitive. I can see that presenting a dry fly with finesse would be easy and playing large fish would certainly be a thrill with this little beauty. But one must remember that while the rod is unusually small and feels delicate, it IS a 4 wt rod and up to tasks greater than the size of the rod might suggest.
The whole package is very classy to look at; the construction flawless: The 2-piece blank is a honey mustard yellow, with brown and black thread wraps; guides are stainless steel chrome; the reel seat is blonde Israeli olive wood; the grip is high grade Portuguese cork. Each Pygmy is signed by Steve Vance and assigned a production number: this particular rod is numbered 0021.
Advantages of the Pygmy over a longer rod are many, given that it can still stand toe to toe with longer sticks in practical fishing situations:
- Stringing up the rod is a snap because even a smaller person can thread the line through the tip guide without having to stand on a milk crate or lay the rod horizontal.
- The Pygmy is very manageable when walking through doorways (or down a brush-lined trail).
- When the wind blows, and it nearly always does when fly fishing, the short rod would be much less negatively affected than a “normal” length rod.
- The Pygmy wouldn’t take up much room in a boat or float tube.
The above-mentioned points suggest that this would be a perfect rod for kids for the very fact that it is a very manageable size. The action would be good for teaching kids to let the rod load before commencing with their forward stroke, but it’s not so slow that a child’s impatience will cause problems. The pygmy will also roll cast just fine to moderate distances, again making it a good option for younger anglers. However, once you get the Pygmy in your hands the last thing you’ll want to do is give it to your kid!
Since there are only 5 more Pygmy blanks available, one would be prudent to contact Scandalous Sticks and place their order today (they sell for $400). That may seem like a lot for a kid’s rod, but remember – you’re really buying this for yourself. Whether you choose to let your young angling partner use it is entirely up to you!
Stay tuned for more information about the Casting 4 A Cure auction that will feature this Pygmy, the Redington Drift reel and Rio Mainstream WF-4F flyline, and a host of other great stuff.