Friday, October 24, 2008

Stuff I learned this week, about long bellies

So this summer I started messing around with more traditional spey casting. To me this means long belly lines and longer spey rods. I have been less than open to this type of casting and fishing for several years, discounting its benefits and cursing any short comings. However, late this spring I cast a 15' 10 weight belonging to my friend Tom Towne, he had a CND 80' head on it and it was a lot of fun to cast, and the casts were huge.

I started joining Tom and our friend Paul Anselmo for casting practice on weekends this summer. At first I brought my switch rod and short light sticks, but kept enjoying casting Tom's Burkheimer.

In 2002, I sold Paul a Scott ARC 15' 9 weight, that I owned. Paul never really liked it that much and, so, I bought it back from him this year. I then began the very tough process of finding the right line for it. I had a Wulff triangle taper of unknown weight which had no punch to it, I also owned the original XLT 7/8 which weighs 880 grns, and I was able to make that work, but not great. I tried Tom's CND line and that felt pretty good.

Then at the local Spey Clave last Weekend I tried a 10wt Snowbee line with a long head the Chris Anderson from Sage owns and it felt much better than any thing else I had yet tried, until Simon from Rio took some time to let me try the Rio PowerSpey lines. The 10/11 was great, the 9/10 was way better. The PowerSpey is shorter and lighter than alot of lines I have tried (the 9/10 = 68' head, 740grn) but the cast is smooth and easy and it feels like it will fish all day long.

In preparation, for BR's and my to the Clearwater next week I also took the liberty of trying to dial in a good long belly on his old brown Sage 9140-4 and I mean the original one from the early 90's. Well, I got a hold of the new SA XLT 8wt this line has a head length of 80-85' and 710grn. We had tried the original XLT7/8 (880grn) on it in 2002 on the Thompson with rather poor results, but the new XLT 8 fished great on BR's 9140. I was able to cast the whole head, which in it's self is pretty amazing.

So... this week I learned that:
1) Scott ARC 15' 9wt takes the Rio 9/10 PowerSpey
2) Sage 9140-4 (Old Original Brown) Takes the XLT 8

I also learned:
3) New super powerful spey cast for tournament type casting
4) That I don't really need to known new super powerful spey cast for tournament type casting.
5) Speyco reels are really cool, check out the link.

6) Palin is pure evil


It had been in May, when I last felt the weight of a solid salmon or steelhead on the stick. I have fished the Miramichi, the Renous, and the Cains in New Brunswick. I had fished the Margaree in Nova Scotia, and the York and St. Jean of Quebec's Gaspe pennisula. I fished the Deschutes, and Umpqua in Oregon, and even the Klickitat in Washington. For destinations this has been the best year I have ever had and I got grabs on many of these rivers, but I could never keep a fish on long enough the feel its weight.

I Have gone pretty quiet the last month. I was feeling so burned out and beat down. I have been spending lots of time checking out our eastern Wisconsin Rivers. And between our low river flows, no rain, and higher lake levels fish have been hard to find. The Me is nearly a tidal pool beron of life, and the Oconto a trickle, The manitowoc and sheboygan not even for the drive. So, I have been looking but, have not had an overwhealming urge to blog about it.

Two days ago, However, while fishing with Bart on BR's Local, that finally changed. Bart and I fished several runs, in cluding one that has been on of my most productive runs in the state, which produced nothing for us. We fished so up river runs where we met BR, He had hook a Steelhead up there 3 day earlier, and the three of us fished for a while, I got a grab in a pioneered slot. Then BR left, and Bart and I tried a favorite run again. An old lady screamed at us for walking across her back yard and her and her husband chased us to the river. It was my idea to walk the backyards, Bart was against it.

Well, once we were free of the angry people and could fish, Bart got jacked by a steelhead the ran and lept before coming off. I heard Bart's oralizations and saw the splash and boil.

Bart and I then went down river, stopped in at a good looking run which is well know and ran into Eric Helm, who has a blog at which I keep meaning to put a link to. I had just seen Eric at the Green Bay spey clave. Eric had just gotten back from an epic trip from the Clearwater where he caught some huge fish.

Anyway, Bart and I then continued down stream to one of the lowest runs and right off the bat I got grabbed, then Bart fished the spot and Hooked a big fish, it looked a little dark as it rolled and I figured it must be a brown. There was virtually no moving the fish but soon Bart moved him and he rolled again, a King? This is a fairly deep, off color run how did Bart snag a King? He didn't, old darky came over and ate a 5" string leach. I had the same thing happen 8 years ago, haven't seen it since, awesome.

I went back to fishing ahead of Bart after the king was caught and released. I got down to some real slow not super fishy water while he was still in the shit, so I reeled in and worked my way down to where two wing dam on opposite side of the river are straight across from each other causing the river to narrow and speed up. I started casting there and mental having the late day doze off, where my mind must just kinda go blank cause I sure don't know what I was thinking of when I got the pull. All the sudden I had a fish on and after a few quiet moments the fish went nuts, taking one long scorching run and several other short runs a couple near jumps and a whole lotta tough stuff. Bart landed and photographed the fish and she swam free.