E-bay, Bamboo Fishing Rods, and the Lure of Social Capital



The last thing I am focused on when I am fishing around ebay is a replenishing of hope in humanity.  I’m usually looking for something  really great that they don’t make anymore or a “pre-loved” high quality item that I could not afford to buy new.  Ebay is a popular fishing hole for people who are in love with withering pastimes…book lovers, fly fishers, record collectors, Atari buffs…so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by Arnie Superchi’s inadvertent hook up to a rich pool of social capitol in the form of 72 year-old Jennie Parramoure while trying to teach himself how to restore/build a bamboo fly rod.
Arnie pulled the trigger on his first 9 foot antique bamboo rod and realized pretty quickly after it arrived on his doorstep that there were going to be some questions about how to proceed with the transformation.  Naturally, as many of us do when panic sets it, Arnie reverted to the Ebay lifeline (officially referenced as “ the-person-who-sold-us-the-damn-thing”).  Now, when you do this, you are fully aware that the person may not respond as it is possible that they are an “Ebay Dumper” (officially known as the” I’m- so- glad- I’m –free- of- that -damn -thing Ebay-er )  who is relishing in his newly found freedom.  What you don’t expect is for someone to spend 8 months corresponding, consulting, and encouraging you every step of the way as the two of you unknowingly write a 36 page how-to manual on bamboo fishing rod restoration.
What began as a casual inquiry resulted in an amazingly comprehensive and detailed documentation of the bamboo fishing rod rebuilding process.  In the course of Arnie Superchi and Jeannie Parramoure’s correspondence the following topics were addressed;  stripping 101, resetting a ferrule, finding the spline, taping 101, wrapping the rod, straightening a seat, cleaning old guides, cork and reel seats, varnishing, cleaning and shining rods, inscription pens, component storage, and restoration of classic rods.  Included in the discourse are practical and emphatic reminders for which Jennie seems to use all caps for added drama: 

“you will soon find that you will be going through razor blades like s**t thru a goose!!!DO NOT BUY THE PACKAGE AT THE LUMBER YARD OR LOWE’S OR HOME DEPOT THAT HAS THE 100 BLADES FOR $5.00!!!!!!!!  They are not sharp,,,they are coated with oil!!!!!!!!OIL IS A REAL BAD THING,,,REMEMBER—YOUR GOING TO BE CUTTING YOUR FINE THREAD WITH THESE SAME RAZORS…NO OIL,,,OIL WILL SHOW UP IN THE FINISHED PRODUCT AS DARK STAIN, WILL HAVE TO DO IT OVER,,,DON’T WANT TO  DO IT OVER, THERE IS ENOUGH WORK DOING IT ONCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (hahahahahahahahah (but not so funny, I’ve done it 100 times)”

When Arnie runs into a little trouble in the dipping process, Jennie troubleshoots the process with him and moves right into action getting Arnie’s confidence back on track:
“sounds like the varnish was too thick the 1st dipping…..and if you got another rod stripped…dip that puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!!WHAT YA WAITING FOR?????????”

If you are anything like me, I just “CAN’T HELP!!!!!!!!!” but want to get in on this!!!!!  I mean, how could Arnie NOT!!!!!! fall in love will this process?
The practice of rebuilding the rod is, as I read on, extremely technical.  But that’s not what I am left with at the end of the unlikely compendium.  Rather than feeling the pressure of small tolerances like those involved in complex craft, I am eager to enroll in this seemingly playful pastime.  Truth is, what I am really drawn to in this scenario has nothing to do with spending hours/days painstakingly removing toxic, 30 year old varnish from a piece of bamboo the approximate diameter of a toothpick.  In fact, it is the lure of social capitol that has my attention.  While I am fully convinced that I would fancy the experience of sporting my 6 foot bamboo rod in a stream, the value of that experience is also heavily dependent on the presence of others, sometimes in the physical sense and other times in the small pieces of information that I will use that day to troubleshoot the catching of trout.  After all, the greatest body of useable knowledge any fly fisher has is that which she has amassed via the networks and communities of other fly fishers.

For your reference:

What does “social capital” mean?
The central premise of social capital is that social networks have value. Social capital refers to the collective value of all “social networks” [who people know] and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other [“norms of reciprocity”].

How does social capital work?
The term social capital emphasizes not just warm and cuddly feelings, but a wide variety of quite specific benefits that flow from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks. Social capital creates value for the people who are connected and – at least sometimes – for bystanders as well.

taken from Bettertogether.org is an initiative of the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement in America 
at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.



A cause for patience….


The elegant contrast of elevation in the spring is one feature of the ice- to-water transition that has the power to elicit patience in an eager fly fisher. If you take it in while running, you are made even more “patient” by the residual physiological state that repels the idea of dumping your legs into fast moving water where they will certainly struggle to keep you upright.

Data Wading…not for me.



Smart waders.  Hmmm.  Seems like the idea has arisen out of a legitimate scientific need to collect large sets of data efficiently in an effort to better assess and address the health of fisheries.  But after my first read, I think I will opt to keep my waders dumb.  Don’t get me wrong…I am not an anti-tech purist. When the fishing is good (or I have ventured farther than I had planned), I certainly appreciate the convenience of pulling out my cell phone to give notice of a later home e.t.a. (spouses appreciate this, as well).  But, sometimes, I just want to be away from the world on the stream…rather than streaming unbridled data  into the virtual world.

Click on the photo above or the link below to read BBC story about Smart Waders


NHF&G Free Scoop on Striper Seeking…by kayak…and car.


My nephew and I had a successful saltwater fly fishing outing by way of kayak last year.  Hoping to do it again this year… Check out the below talk on the subject sponsored by fish and game.  Pretty lucky to have education like this offered to the NH fishing community at no cost… except for the gas to get to the capitol city.  But, then again, if you are a true northeastern flyfisher, you are probably accustomed to dumping large amounts of money into the tank with little to show for it at the end of the day other than a pinkish glow, well exercised legs, a collection of gnarled midges that must be retired, and an illuminated “maintenance required” light indicating that it’s time for another oil change..  Hey, it’s better than fishing in Texas!


CONCORD, N.H. – Learn how you can fish from your kayak for everything from northern pike and walleye on the Connecticut River to striped bass and black sea bass on the Piscataqua River! The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s spring outdoor adventure series continues with a talk by licensed fishing guide Tim Moore, who will present a wealth of tips and strategies for successful kayak fishing. The talk begins at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2015, at N.H. Fish and Game headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H. No pre-registration is required. Admission is free.

Tim Moore is a nationally recognized professional angler, guide, outdoor writer and promoter. He owns Tim Moore Outdoors, LLC, offering freshwater kayak fishing trips for northern pike, walleye, crappie, and bass; and saltwater kayak fishing trips for striped bass, winter flounder, and black sea bass. He has fished the coastal and inland waters of New Hampshire for more than thirty years. He is also the producer of the popular Internet fishing show, Tim Moore Outdoors TV, and a member of the Johnson Outdoors Premier Pro Staff.

In his seminar, Moore will discuss some of the equipment and techniques he uses to kayak fish for northern pike and walleye on the Connecticut River, and striped bass and black sea bass on the Piscataqua River. Learn how to choose the right kayak for the area and species you are fishing for, and the importance of paddling form.

“With limited space in a kayak, it’s important to know what gear to use and when to use it, and what to leave at home. There is also a huge advantage in knowing the advantages and disadvantages of different angling kayak features, such as length and width,” says Moore.

Learn more about upcoming Outdoor Adventure talks at http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Newsroom/2015/Q1/outdoor-talks-1-all.html.

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