Sunday, March 11, 2012

My last 6'6" 4pc 2wt Tiger Eye

Here's the latest rod I've built. I finished it up a little over a month ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting pictures. Here are the particulars:
  • 6'6" 4pc 2wt Tiger Eye blank (Sevier Mfg) in green
  • H&H chrome round loop tiptop
  • Alps/Forecast SF guides (one standard wire size 2, one standard wire size 1, six light wire size 1)
  • Alps SF ceramic guide (size 8) as stripping guide
  • Feather inlay with a single jungle cock and grey's pheasant
  • Struble NS winding check
  • Natural burl cork grip with burnt cork accents and rubberized cork ends
  • Struble U-27 NS slide band reel seat
  • Struble walnut insert, lightly sanded and then refinished with Permagloss
  • Gudebrod dark green thread with metallic dark green trim
  • Two or three coats of Permagloss on the thread wraps with one coat of Threadmaster Lite on top
Overall I'm pretty happy with this rod. I do like the green blank. They're not quite "perfect", but I think I did a fairly good job on the guide wraps. I started out with a few coats of Permagloss to really lock down the guides and thread wraps. I'm not sure I totally love the look Permagloss gives as it builds up so I decided to put on one thin coat of TML on top just for the glossy, smooth epoxy look. Besides, I find that Permagloss can be a bit tricky to work with here in NM due to the low humidity. There is one small wavy spot in the epoxy where the finish transitions from the feather inlay over the blank where I wrote the rod size and line weight. Maybe I'll redo the finish in that area. The inscription is on the bottom side of the rod and not shown in these pictures.

I took the CCS measurements for this blank a long time ago and it rates out as a 3wt (ERN = 3.6; AA = 62 deg). Even though the blank was sold as a 2wt, I'll be looking to throw at least a 3wt line on this one.

I should have cleaned up the blank a bit before taking the pictures. Still, I hope you like it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Successful Start To 2012

Better late than never, right? 

I was able to get out for a day of fishing on Friday, my first time this year. What a great day - not the best day of fishing mind you - but a day great outdoors. I'm not sure if it was due to the winter storm warning or not, but I didn't see another person out there on the river all day. Amid the solitude and off-and-on light snow showers, I managed to bring a whopping three fish to hand. I could tell that it's been a very, very long time since I've been out on the water. Knots = hard to remember. Casting = not worth mentioning. Line control = needs improvement. Hook setting = nothing special. Retrieving flies from trees = still got it!

I've been fishing my Tiger Eye 6'6" 4pc 2wt almost exclusively for the past year. However, today I decided to take out my DC Signature V 8'6" 4pc 3wt. My 3wt line is sitting on my Galvan OB-4, which is just a bit too heavy for this rod. I really like the reel so I don't mind using it.

I really like the SigV 3wt especially since it was the first rod I built, but it's not a small stream rod. I'm not sure if it's the action or the length, but I just don't feel comfortable with it in these situations. Now, get me out on a more medium to larger sized stream/river and I find it exceptionally smooth. I'll be on the look out in earnest for a new small stream 3wt late this year. I've got to finish my other rod building projects first ...

Every person I've talked to that has fished this particular river has recommended I use a prince nymph. Well, I'm still waiting to have a fish take a prince. Nevertheless, I keep trying them whenever I fish this river. I mean, every trout likes a good prince nymph, right? There are a lot of stoneflies in this river, so I figure a prince nymph will eventually work for me. In the mean time I'll keep throwing dark hare's ears and Copper John variants; they work well for me. Speaking of stoneflies, I'm hoping these are skins are leftover from last year. It'd be a shame to have missed a good stonefly hatch. The giant stonefly / salmonfly hatch normally takes place in late June or early July. I'm hoping to catch it in prime time this year. I'm expected very low water flows this year so I wouldn't be surprised if the hatch takes place in May or even April.

While wading up the river tossing the aforementioned prince nymph (with my usual lack of success), I spotted a subtle rise in a pool ahead. I stopped and watched the fish feed for about 10 minutes. It's rare that I see fish feeding off the surface on this river (except during the salmonfly hatch when they can't get enough of those big bugs). It was so great to watch that I recorded a short video of it.

There was a noticeable midge hatch going on, and I assumed this fish was feeding off the hatching flies. The best I could do to match the midges was to switch to a size 20 crippled mayfly emerger in the darkest color I had. It wasn't ideal, but I hoped it would be enough. I'll work on tying up some dark parachute adams (sz 24 or so) sometime soon; they should match a little better next time.

On my third or fourth cast, I finally managed to get my fly into position. A nose quickly appeared. My fly disappeared in a slight ripple. Fortunately I didn't botch the hook set and managed to land my first fish of 2012; a very nice brown trout. All three of the fish I caught were good sized, somewhere between 10" and 12" long.

The second fish I caught took another dry/emerger fly with an almost imperceptible take. Somehow I saw the fish move up and take the fly just beneath the surface. I need to get a new pair of polarized sunglasses. Watching your fly is so much easier without the glare. I tried to get a picture of the fish, but it managed to swim free before I could capture the image.

My third fish slammed a dark hare's ear nymph I had tied on. It fought with a vengeance and had some great color. I took a couple quick videos. Here's one just after bringing it in and another of the release.

It's much easier to take a photograph or video of a feisty fish when you've got another person with you. I'm looking forward to getting more fishing videos, especially water shots.

Oh man, did did it feel great to go fishing again. Until next time ...