My trusty Pflueger Medalist is officially dead.
After approximately 100 carp this year, I finally retired the 1494 1/2. The drag was completely shot. After stripping the line off of it (and onto a mint condition 1494! nice!) I took a good look at the drag. Somehow the plastic piece that is the heart of the drag had been completely grooved and worn down. It was grooved so badly, that no matter how loosely you set the drag it caught, and you effectively were using full drag at all times. This also impacted the line retrieval, and I often had to crank pretty hard just to bring in line! I guess 100 carp are just too many for a plastic drag! I'm sure I'll destroy the 1494 in short order, and will then have to look for a slightly more heavy duty replacement.
I can recall the last great moment of the 1494 1/2. Scott and I were finishing up a nice day on XXXX lake. We had both taken multiple carp, with the best of the day being a nice 11 lb fish that pounced on my carp wooly in 2 ft of water. As we headed back to the car, I spotted a nice carp slowly cruising up the edge of the flat, back out of the water, clearly meaning business. Fortunately, Turner was stuck behind and to my left, so I had the best shot at this fish, which looked like a pretty good one. I stripped out about 40 feet of line and made a false cast to the right of the fish to get the distance, then dropped my crayfish pattern about 1 foot in front, and slightly to the right of the fish. Almost instantly it leapt forward like a cat pouncing on a mouse and sucked in the fly! Fish on! Before Scott or I had a chance to even smile that carp turned and blasted off the flat for deeper water. The remaining 50 feet or so of flyline zipped off my reel before I could even get my fingers to the rim to slow the fish's progress. I did recover and managed to put some pressure on the spool in an attempt to slow the fish, but this fish had no intention of stopping. Scott watched from over my shoulder as my backing flew through the guides. We both looked at my spool, watching the rapidly disappearing backing and ominously shrinking diameter. I looked over at Scott, shrugged, and put even more pressure on the rim of the spool. The flow of lined slowed...slowed...then in a final burst of speed the carp broke free of the tippet and slipped into the depths.
It took forever to crank all that backing and flyline back onto the poor, sick, and broken 1494 1/2. By the time I had returned the line to its home, my arm was tired from the effort. Scott and I headed back to the car, smiles on our faces, knowing two things. First, sooner or later one of us will get another shot at that carp. And second, River City Fly Shop ties one heck of a backing to fly line nail knot!