Sometimes no matter how hard you try, things go wrong afield and one of your favorite pieces of gear malfunctions. I recall once as we were trekking across the old Immigrant Road that runs from Highway 4 in Hermit Valley to Deer Valley off of Highway 88. The road is a very rugged jeep trail that only the most determined 4 wheelers can negotiate, and is littered with pieces of broken gear that has fallen off the vehicles trying to traverse the road. Our goal on the trip in question was to fish for wilderness trout in a section of stream almost never fished by anyone at all. Unfortunately we had all of our fishing rods wrapped in one large bundle and during the bone-jarring ride up the jeep trail, the bundle vibrated loose and as we passed close to a boulder our rods came loose suddenly and in an instant all of our rods were snapped in half between the jeep and the rock!
That ended our fishing that day as a half dozen rods were all snapped like match sticks. Of course you could hardly blame the rod makers for our poor job of securing our load. Still a broken rod is pretty difficult to fish with. Sometimes you can make emergency repairs to a broken rod tip or a loose reel seat, but there really isn’t much you can do with a rod that has been snapped in half. I was extremely skeptical when my Dad said he was going to ship the broken rods back to the manufacturer. Why the heck should the manufacturer fix something that was clearly our own darned fault? I was absolutely dumbfounded when the rod maker replaced the busted rods with brand new rods for a nominal repair fee. It amazed me.
The good news is that if you buy quality gear from a major manufacturer, chances are pretty good that they will stand behind their product. Fast-forward a couple decades to early this spring when my son Bo and I were out for an afternoon of target shooting with our rifles. As I put a scoped rifle up to shoot, I realized that I couldn’t see the target through the scope. Upon closer examination we discovered that somehow the scope was fogged and no amount of adjusting on our part was going to fix it. Time to contact the manufacturer. Fortunately, a reputable, quality manufacturer, the Bushnell Optics Company in Overland Park, Kansas, made the malfunctioning scope. Imagine that! An actual product made right here in the U.S.A., amazing! Even better was the response I got from the folks at Bushnell, who agreed to repair or replace the scope to my satisfaction. Thank heaven for reputable manufacturers.
Over the decades I have spent in the outdoors, I have discovered time and again that purchasing a quality product from a reliable manufacturer is far better in the long run than buying cheap schlock for a few bucks less. Buying quality products from the beginning will not only be cheaper in the long haul, it could make the difference in bringing home that trophy of a lifetime. When you hook that monster trout, or finally spot that giant bear, the last thing you need is for your equipment to fail. If you buy quality gear from the start it will pay off in a big way.
Until next time, Tight Lines.
Don Moyer is a longtime Central Valley resident and avid outdoorsman. He contributes occasional columns.