Edgar is a very good friend of mine. He stands about ten feet high and is of mixed race. He was raised and tempered in England, but his ancestry is almost certainly Chinese. Being born in the 1950’s, he is middle-aged and can become a little stiff in cold weather. But once warmed up, he’s quite the character. Together we have conquered much of the English landscape, taking roach, perch and even pike on our journeys.
Edgar is my conduit to another world. A mysterious world that shall remain undefined to me until the day I die. But with Edgar, I can at least understand some of its language; I can become a part of its rhythm. Until recently, he had lain dormant for several decades. Not quite death, for Edgar can never die. More like suspended animation.
But now he is recalled to life.
And what a ghillie he is. For he shows me the whole of the river- and directly connects me to some of its loveliest residents. Edgar is sensitive enough to transmit the slightest tap of a tiny roach yet sufficiently vibrant to feel every bolt of a perch in flight. And if we do accidentally hook a pike (common enough when perching) then he’s bold enough to turn them. His strength is drawn from his supernatural suppleness. Like the willow in the wind- he bends but never breaks.
Edgar is one of my favourite fishing rods. As with many who hail from illustrious families, his full name is double-barrelled and a bit of a mouthful. Edgar Sealey Float-Caster Deluxe. He comes in three pieces but for me the heart and charm of Edgar lay in his bottom third. Full bamboo cane; you can even still detect some of the ‘nodes’ and other natural blemishes of his childhood. The maker chose to whip these in blue, but you can still see and feel them. It’s a reminder that you are fishing with a piece of the earth; using organic material to catch living creatures.
The top two sections are made up of several pieces of tempered cane that are firstly ‘split’, then straightened and planed before finally being bound together in an exercise that requires almost preternatural precision. This process can take a master tradesman months to complete; it requires incredible patience and love, not to mention military-grade equipment. It is a testament to the rare skill of the rod builder; he is the one who injects the aforementioned sensitivity and strength into a rod’s soul. If all of this is done correctly, your wand may just be capable of talking to the river.
For me, Edgar will always remain one of my favourite perching rods; his sensitive nature being the perfect foil to their dashing fighting style. He is best paired up with a classic centrepin reel and a bobber float.
Then let loose upon the English countryside.