Monday, March 18, 2013

Evening oddities... (with photo purge)

Things should never be too predictable.  What fun would it be to know exactly what was going to happen on any given outing?  The variation, the never-knowing-what-to-expect, and the little unpredictable twists make fishing trips worth it.  You never know if the next riffle, the next drift, or the next cast will produce the fish of a lifetime or a fight worth remembering.

Here's to playing catchup on pictures, mingled with some recent odd moments.  We (Shane and I) have hit the Henry's Fork a bit lately, done some night fishing elsewhere, and chased some carp.  The odd moments mentioned are from our most recent trip where we chased carp during the warmth and light of day, and then moved on to trout after the sun went down.

We haven't had the best of luck with our fly rods lately.  Shane actually broke number 4 a few days ago, and they all busted within a months period.  On a side note, I received the BVK (8wt) replacement in the mail recently, and here's hoping we can avoid strike three for it.  Shane's Cortland Procast (8wt) mysteriously busted at the tip a little while back.  It was still fishable, but the top section of the rod was eaten by the river (fell from his backpack) even more recently.  We had planned to chase carp and now he was without his carp rod.  Not wanting to bust his 5wt in some freak accident on carp he decided to purchase a $20 WalMart rod.  The crazy thing, it worked great throughout the day.  I'm sure Shane will give more detail on it, but that was oddity number one.  A $20 rod on beastly carp, who knew right?

The day had already been great as to the fishing, and the sun was sinking low behind wet looking clouds.  It was a pretty sunset through the rainclouds in the distance and we were admiring the colors when thunder rolled over us, telling of some distant lightning.  It seemed plenty far away, so we kept on casting to the mudding carp while enjoying the warmer evening.  All of the sudden there was a loud roaring as if a thunderclap was increasing its intensity, rather than getting quieter.  Shane and I looked at each other a bit confused when BAM!!!!  A jet flew right over our heads.  The sonic boom spooked the schools of carp surrounding us.  A second jet flying just as low followed a minute later.  It was cool to see, a bit spooky at first, and altogether unexpected. 

Once it was too dark to chase carp we headed to our night-time trout spot.  Fishing was good in the beginning and stayed steady the whole night.  As we were chatting and flinging flies into the darkness we began hearing a bizarre noise.  It was as if a cat mated with a wolverine, whose offspring mated with the rabbit from Monty Python and it was fighting or giving birth.  We nervously chuckled at how odd it sounded and then Shane yelled "CHUPACABRA!"  It became a joke for the rest of the trip, amidst the Taylor Swift-Goat impressions.  Later I flicked on my headlamp to unhook a fish and there were two extremely bright, beady eyes staring right back at me... "CHUPACABRA!"  That little mink scurried off and later we saw a cat with similar results.  Maybe it was a "you had to be there" moment.

Here are some more pictures from the trip, followed by leftover pictures from the Henry's Fork.

It all started with a friendly game of Carp Darts.

Need a bigger net

A long one

Killer fin color

An offering to the carp gods.

Classic Shane

Biggest one-arm so far

Memorable double


First brown from night-fishing this place and this season

Net full of trout.  One of the many doubles


Henry's Fork

Why so serious?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Gear Review: RIO StreamerTip Fly Line (WF5/I 1.5ips)

Have you ever tried hammering in a nail with a tool that wasn't a hammer?  It can be done.  Trust me.  Sometimes all you have is a wrench, but the whole time you are wishing for a hammer.  Fishing gear is the same.  A determined angler can make just about any gear work.  Fish will be caught, but more effort will go into the catching, and there's a constant reminder you are fishing with a wrench.  At least you can improve your dodgeball skills.

When I arrived home and saw the package sitting on the counter, an inkling of Christmas giddiness came out of nowhere. I quickly grabbed the package, sat down, and let Will help me open the box.  It was a little bit of RIO goodness just itching to get wet.  I felt a bit like Thor (minus the muscles, good looks, and superhero status) picking up his hammer. All that was missing was a nail.

"Nailed It"
RIO is a little company in Idaho doing big things for the world of fly fishing.  Started in 1990 by Jim and Kitty Vincent, RIO was created by people looking to create "hammers" for the different "nails" of fly fishing.  Jim originally took sections of different fly lines and would splice them together with epoxy to get a line with the characteristics he desired.  It was from this drive that some of the best "hammers" in the fly fishing industry have been created. 

RIO is all about connecting fish to anglers, and they carry everything required to make that happen (fly lines, leaders, and tippets). This review is for their RIO StreamerTip Fly Line (WF5F/I 1.5ips).

The Specs: The line (as seen in the photo) has a pale green body, yellow midsection, and a clear tip.  It has an aggressive taper meant to roll over heavier flies, and a 1.5 inches per second sink rate for the tip (roughly 10 ft). Welded loops on both ends are included for easy connections, and a slick cold water coating is added to reduce tangling and make for smoother casts.

The Rundown:  Some lines require stretching when freshly spooled on the reel.  With this in mind, I was surprised with the very first casts.  I peeled line off the reel and launched the conehead streamer out into the river.  Instant grin. The slick line casted like a dream.  No stretch necessary.  Even my sloppy casts ended well and turned over.  It is easy to roll cast and mend.  In short, the line is a breeze to manage in the field, and is very responsive. The StreamerTip Line was intended for fishing from a boat and the short head and fast taper was meant for quick shooting.  This design makes for easy casting in most situations, even in the wind.

It seems to fish best in 1-2ft of water in fast current, 1-5ft of water with moderate current, and 1-10ft of water with no current.  Its not hard to get this line to do what you want under these given situations. Lengthening the leader/tippet and using a heavier fly helps compensate when deeper fishing is necessary, but can make things more awkward when casting.

Overall does the line fish well?  Why yes, yes it does.

The Thoughts:  Winter streamer fishing in the cold of Idaho is generally a different ball game than the other three seasons.  Fish tend to hold deeper and are less likely to move a long distance for a fly.  With these circumstances I was not sure how the line would function only having a 1.5 ips sink rate.  It did well in the three circumstances previously mentioned, each places where the fly could get to the necessary depth.  In deeper water with fast current I had to compensate for the sink rate with a longer leader/tippet.

On particularly cold days (the kind where the river is on the verge of slush) the line had a tendency to ice over, though I'm not sure any line would be immune to those circumstances.  And on those days who knows what I'm doing on the river anyway.

The colored mid section is quite nice when tracking your line, especially when swinging streamers.  The clear tip is a nice touch because it lets you fish a shorter leader if desired.  This is particularly nice in smaller waters.

The StreamerTip aspect of the line, where only the tip is sinking, is great when fishing from the bank.  It helps prevent unnecessary snagging on the retrieve and makes it possible to fish around obstructions (rocks) in the river.

The StreamerTip line is a well made "hammer" and is only one of many that RIO has to offer.  I would mention again that it has a specific set of circumstances it tailors to.  If they fit where and what you normally target, this is a killer line to go with.  

There have been times where I wanted to throw larger streamers, that have a bit more weight to them, and a 5wt setup made it a bit difficult.  If big heavy bugs are your drug then the suggestion would be to go with this same line in a 7 or 8wt setup.  And for the winter, the 6 ips sink rate would be better, unless you know you will be fishing smaller streamers and shallower runs.  The 1.5 ips would still be a great choice for spring, summer, and fall where fish are more aggressive. 
This line is so sweet it has me eyeing the 8wt 1.5ips for carping.  The clear tip would make for less spooking and the intermediate sink rate would allow me to use less weight on the flies.  The combo would be deadly for chasing golden scales in our Idaho waters.  

It is awesome to see that RIO is putting out top quality products and catering to any and every circumstantial need an angler may have.  If you are looking for a good line, don't hesitate to give RIO a look.

RIO StreamerTip Fly Line retails for $74.95.  Looking for something else interesting to read? Check out this brief history of RIO.