To me, a large part of fishing and hunting is aesthetic. A diminutive fly rod, neatly done, with a tiny grip to match and a plain reel seat is a joy to look at and carry, as is a short, slender, light-weight shotgun or rifle.  As long as I am not chancing a crippling shot, I’ll take the lightweight every time. The portability and beauty of the equipment are a great part of the game. Bear in mind that when I speak of fly fishing, I’m talking about the average everyday trouting, with a little bluegill and bass fishing thrown in; steelhead and salt-water fishing are not included. So, for my fishing, diminutive rods are entirely adequate.

Ed Shenk, Fly Rod Trouting, 1989.


As a younger person in Montana, the biggest fly fishing influences upon me were Eastern writers.  As their books happened to be on the shelves at our cabin, I read short rod advocates like Arnold Gingrich. When I later moved to Central Pennsylvania, and started fishing many of the streams cherished by those writers, I found that I enjoyed short rods myself. Eventually, I came upon “a diminutive fly rod, neatly done, with a tiny grip to match and a plain reel seat” built by Ed Shenk himself. I have really enjoyed fishing this 5′ 2″ fiberglass rod, but I fear it caught its last brook trout (or any other trout) this past weekend. It’s not suited to the waters I’ll be fishing after my return West, and, as a once piece-rod, it is not travel friendly.  So, I guess it goes to the rear of the closet or to the sale page.  Either way, it’s been nice fishing with you (your rod, that is), Ed.

2 Responses to “Diminution”

  1. Brandon Says:

    Sounds like a memorable rod. Just today I read about the acquisition of Lee Wulff’s 6′ 1-piece bamboo fly rod by the American Museum of Fly Fishing. I wonder who crafted it…


  2. Kenov Says:

    Shenk describes really getting into short rods after Conolon made some in fiberglass. Lee Wulff happened to have a hand in designing those rods. So I guess Shenk was a bit later to the game than Wulff, Gingrich and others.

    Will have to look up the Wulff acquisition. Would love to make it by the museum sometime, but I just don’t find myself in New England very often.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: