Since the day I heard back in March that I won the opportunity to use and write about the bamboo fly rod from Fall River Flyrods, the Madison reel from Montana Fly Company and the fly line from Rio Products, I’ve joked that I was going to break this rod. Not intentionally of course, but I know my history with rods.
Who knew that on the evening of August 9th my prediction would come true.
When fishing the Fox River for smallies I use spinning gear and usually have about 15 to 20 feet of line out, letting a lure drift around in the current. I move the rod around a bit to pick apart every nook and cranny, ever tiny current break that might be holding a fish.
Smallies being what they are, the ultimate fresh water predator, it’s not unusual to have them hit right at your feet with no more than a few feet of line out. The hits are sudden and violent and the runs are intense. On a good day, I go home with a sore hand and wrist from fishing this way.
I use medium light spinning gear with a very fast action. I also only use braided line, which doesn’t stretch. To compensate for that, I keep the drag set relatively loose. The tip and loose drag are enough to cushion the blow of these short, sudden and violent hits.
I was doing the same thing with the fly rod on Thursday night.
With about an eight foot leader and another foot of line out, I was dragging something through the water in and out of a current seam. A pool of line was at my feet. I had the line cinched with my finger at the grip.
This I believe was the problem, no drag.
The hit was sudden and violent and my initial reaction was to give a quick hard snap back to set the hook.
And then I heard another snap.
That couldn’t be good.
The rods tip alone wasn’t enough to cushion the blow. Having the line cinched down and giving a quick hard snap back didn’t help. There was nowhere else for the end of the rod to go but… snap.
I knew better, but in the moment, I didn’t.
Sorry about this Mr. Zicha. No matter how much care in handling this rod that I took, I can’t control the actions of an aggressive predator. They don’t care what you’re rod is made of or how outstanding it’s craftsmanship.
They are there to humiliate all.
I do know this, no more short drifts at the end of a cast with about nine feet of line out…
The Outdoor Blogger Network teamed up with Fall River Flyrods, Montana Fly Company and RIO Products this spring to put together a rig consisting of an 8ft, 2-piece, 5wt “South Fork” bamboo rod, Madison reel, and double taper, floating line to be fished by 15 far-flung anglers over the course of the season. One of those 15 anglers will own the rod, reel, and line when all is said and done, along with an accompanying journal in which all 15 anglers will record their thoughts and experiences during their time with the rod. With a first season like that, the story of this brand new rod is off to a very good start.