Several months ago I posted a blog titled, Help Me Find This Rod. Given how infrequently I’ve posted on my blog in recent years and how few actually read the Weekly Drivel, doing so was akin to being down by a goal and launching a full court Hail Mary shot at the final bell of US Masters championship round. But it was a last ditch effort and I had nothing to lose. I was fully prepared for disappointment and 5 months passed with no leads (not surprising). During that time I also posted my quest on Fiberglass Fly Rodders, hoping that at least one of the members there might have some valuable insight. Crickets.
In April I received an email from a gentleman who is (as am I) a member of PNW Fly Fishing, a fairly recent newcomer to the world of online fly fishing forums (and a great site, by the way). “Mr. Josh” informed me that he had found a particular rod on Offer Up, an online marketplace of which I was not previously familiar. Knowing nothing about the Eddie Bauer rod in question, Mr. Josh began delving into the bowels of the Internets for any information he might find and his search ultimately led him to my UA blog. Once he discovered that there was someone out there (me) looking for this particular rod, Mr. Josh contacted me via email to let me know about it. Very selfless of him! I thanked him for the heads-up and said I would reach out to the seller, to which Mr. Josh responded, “I’m in (city omitted) where that rod is located. Let me know if I can help get that rod to you.” What an amazing gesture of compassion and generosity!
I contacted the seller on Offer Up. This person was located about 50 miles from where I live and only wanted $50 for the rod, which appeared to be unused. Unfortunately the seller was only willing to accept cash and no shipping. “Well that’s a hell of a policy when trying to sell something online,” I said to myself. I reported back to Mr. Josh, who in turn replied, “I don’t mind picking it up until we can meet up.” Wow, who is this guy, anyway? Ultimately Mr. Josh picked up the rod and shipped it to me and I paid him via digital transfer (you know, how things are actually done these days). I included a generous tip for his service. Thanks to this fine gentleman, my faith in mankind was restored.
When the rod arrived a few days later I was not disappointed. The cork looks new, as does the blank, and it is a dead ringer for my long-lost rod. I could not have been any happier–well, maybe just a little. The only drawbacks, minor as they may be, are that the rod tube is missing the plastic screw cap and the rod sock is not original. I can live with those minor grievances.
When it rains it pours
Not long after, I received a private message from a member at Fiberglass Fly Rodders. This gentleman had the rod I was looking for, but it did not include the original tube or sock. I thanked him for his time and willingness to reach out, but passed on the rod since I had recently acquired the Mr. Josh rod.
After having spent so long searching for this rod, it had become almost habit—muscle memory if you will—to perform an internet search each week. And so, lo and behold, a few weeks later I happened to discover a very promising lead on Craigslist for “Eddie Bauer Pack Rod”. Someone was selling the exact same rod, complete with original tube (and cap) and sock. Even more amazing was that this included a Cortland Crown reel, the very reel that adorned my original Eddie Bauer road decades ago! This had to be fate, and while I didn’t need the rod and reel, the completeness of the package tempted me. The seller was located another 50 miles away, so we emailed back and forth and it was agreed upon that the seller would ship the rod to me for a PayPal transaction. Then, crickets. No reply whatsoever. After a Craigslist ad expires, there is no way to followup with a previous email thread so I figured that deal was dead. But I am persistent, if nothing else, and a few weeks later I decided to see if perhaps the rod was back on Craigslist. It was, so I reached out to the seller again. It took a while but the seller finally came through. This rod and reel are pristine. Never fished. All original accessories.
I need two Eddie Bauer #8238 Pack Rods and Cortland Crown reels like I need another hole in my head, but hey– I can give one to my brother (he had the same rod and reel as I did back when we were lads). Don’t tell him, though—it’ll be a surprise.