Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Tools

I had been in the market for a new reel and there were some great deals on some of the "older" Lamson models that were on closeout. When I was selling a few fishing items to fund the reel purchase I happened to come across an Okuma Helios that was selling for $80. The cheapest I had found this reel previously was around $130 but I had seen it all the way up to around $160. It is a fully machined reel that has a fully sealed drag. It also has the "bling" factor in my opinion. For most trout fishing around here all you need is a $30 reel like I have fished with a bunch but I just wanted to upgrade for a slightly higher cosmetic appeal. It is a 4/5 weight reel instead of a 5/6 which is fine since it makes for a lighter setup. So far I really like the reel.

For Christmas I was looking for a inexpensive lightweight setup for small stream fishing and I came across an Eagle Claw Featherlight 6' 6" fiberglass fly rod. I had seen it before at Walmart and thought it was ridiculous since it was such a noodle compared to my graphite rod but I saw one at Sportsman's and starting messing with it. Having small fish in mind and feeling the slow action and bend in the rod I was sold. I lucked into an older model that still has a metal reel seat. The newer ones have a nylon which does not look half as good but probably just as functional. All I needed was a reel for the rod. I then noticed online that Cabela's was blowing out their Prestige reels for $15 which is half off. They are exactly the same as the Okuma Sierra reels which I already have and the spools are interchangable. So I got the reel using a Christmas gift certificate. I had a new white fly line (and backing) lying around that would suit the little rod so I didn't have to purchase either of those. With the reel costing $15 and the rod $17 I put together the ultimate small stream setup for a whopping $32, ha ha. I have fished with it (post coming soon) and a little 10 inch brown put a nice bend in the new little rod. Also, casting the rod at the park yielded some 50 foot casts which is far greater than I'll need in most small stream situations. I can't wait to get out and sample some small streams this spring/summer.

Lastly, for Christmas I recieved some Airflo Ridgeline. I was sold on the durability/5 year no crack guarantee. Supposedly it cast very well too. I heard it was not the best line for winter fishing but I was thinking ahead to spring and summer. I have been slightly dissapointed since the tip has been sinking on me a little bit. I know it is not sucking water since it has a sealed loop. Hopefully the performance improves with warmer weather. I don't really know why the tip is sinking on me. In the meantime I can simply grease up the tip and that should solve any problems. It has not affected my fishing too negatively though so that is good. I will be able to make a slightly better judgement in another outing or two. If I still experience the sinking tip I hear that Airflo has great customer service and I might just try trading it in for a new line.

Slayed Em'

Quite a bit of fishing has gone on since a few posts ago but only one of the days was noteworthy and I only have cell phone pictures of the good day. I was armed with the camera today though and I am glad I had it. I planned on doing some urban exploring around the river through town and at least get a few glam shots of my new reel on my rod, it looks awesome. The weather was great for winter although at the first stop I was still getting quite a bit of ice in the guides. I had no success at stop numero uno and then I remembered a deeper slow hole that the fish would probably be stacked in during the lethargic days of winter. A few casts at the new spot and I had a fish on. I was stoked but thought maybe it was a fluke. I set my expectations fairly low, but low and behold another fish on after a few minutes. Then it went gangbusters from that point on. A red copper john with a black zebra midge dropper was the ticket. I only fished at the second spot a little more than an hour but it was non-stop action. I caught over 10 fish and that number would have doubled if it were not for the slow hook sets/long line releases. Most were only about 10 inches but one probably went close to 15. I would have had a few that topped the biggest of the day but I did not get good hooksets on them. I could tell they were bigger because of the split second of dead weight before I moved them off the bottom. The ice in the guides was minimal and the warm sun felt great. It was a very rewarding and refreshing day to be outside.

For the Love of it

My good fishing buddy Scott came to town over the Christmas break which happened to coincide with some of the nastiest weather of the year. We hit the river and had fun despite the conditions. Bundling up and going ice fishing was on the agenda for the second outing but it turned out that the ice was not safe enough to get out into deep enough water. David needed to head home after the ice attempt so Scott and I toughed out the conditions (snowy, windy, and freezing) and hit the river. My boots were completely frozen and Scott had to hike down the bank and give them a good dip before I could even pull them on. During his stay the fishing was slow but it was still a lot of fun.