When you have the perfect summer trout rod made to order, choosing the reel it is paired with is an important decision. I considered a classic Hardy St. George, for a vintage fly reel and it’s spring and pawl drag are ideal companions for bamboo. My Sweetgrass pent is classic, made of the finest Tonkin cane, but it is a modern rod in every sense, and that broadened my thinking.
My summer dry fly fishing is in essence very simply described: stalking large wild trout in gin clear water. The rivers are fished heavily, and the trout that grow to trophy size are among the most wary and well fed salmonids you will find in these United States. Catskill hatches are voluminous and varied, and the best of our wild browns and rainbows require stealth and delicacy. To me, these fish, and these rivers deserve the respect of classic tackle.
Despite my fondness for old Hardy reels, I find the venerable Orvis CFO reel to be a near perfect tool for delicate fishing. The Bogdan design included a palming rim to complement the traditional spring and pawl drag, and that is a valuable feature indeed. Sadly, the exquisite lightness of the CFO does not succeed in balancing longer bamboo rods. The old Hardy’s I like do that well, the St. George’s, Perfects and Bougles. Lacking the palming rim, they leave the angler with a choice between balance and the capability for reserve drag, to prevent being spooled.
Perusing the Classic Flyrod Forum recently I came upon an announcement from Vlad Rachenko of VR Design. Having built an international reputation for excellence in the design and manufacture of titanium fly reels, Rachenko has just premiered an aluminum version of his classically styled 3″ diameter trout reel, the Trutta Perfetta. The design was brilliant and simply beautiful, and I decided that the Trutta Perfetta would be the perfect pairing for my new pent.
I literally jumped out of my seat when I heard the knock at the door this afternoon, knowing it was the Fedex driver bearing my reel to the end of its 4,855 mile journey from Kharkiv, Ukraine to Hancock, New York.
The Trutta is indeed Perfetta; perfect for stalking the trout of our Catskill Rivers. With my choice of a brass reel foot and screws, this 3″ trout reel balances my 8′ two piece Sweetgrass rod “in the cork”, and the beauty and workmanship are equals to the elegant work of Mr. Brackett and Mr. Kustich. The advanced design spring and pawl drag feels silky smooth, and the palming rim allows that extra protection when a big fish decides to run. I cannot wait to hear this reel in full song!
Three months of winter remain. Three months before there is a reasonable expectation to find flies in the air and rising trout at the surface. Though conceived and paired for summer angling, this lovely outfit of fly tackle will not wait for July. It will find it’s target come spring, once the high waters recede and delicacy of presentation comes into it’s own.
I was intrigued by the prospect of purchasing a unique fly reel from a talented reel maker in old Europe, a new experience for me. I dealt with Vlad personally via email and found his service to be excellent. He seems a very personable gentleman, and is clearly a wonderful craftsman and gifted designer.