Saturday, February 27, 2016

Reeling in the Breeze

Ballan reel I bought from an outfitter friend at a stamped-from-tin price today. This is a solid model (Heirloom) and a solid build of that model. Classic look for a brother-in-law price.

There is some noise about engineering, production quality, and the rest online. I'm happy with this one. Looks nice and feels nice. It'll get gentle use. Should be fine.

I was given a new Orvis Battenkill click-and-pawl for Christmas a year ago. Wow. That's a model that has sure changed but let's face it: for Michigan river trout fishing these things are usually line hangers. [ Nice Christmas gift from non-fisherman any way you look at it, too].

We're not fighting tarpon off the reel here.

I got a 444 DT Sylk line in 4 with it so it'll go nicely with a 88" piece of bamboo hanging on my wall in its hemp sleeve. My Mill Creek set-up is just about perfect which is great because the water is opening up nicely.

Ten inches of snow this week so I'm gearing up for spring. I'm tying all sub-surface right now: darker colors, too.

I also bought a very nice piece of darker coastal deer hair (my two pieces are quite light in color - and that helps me see my DHC in low light which is why I bought them in the first place) as I'm going to try a little of the darker style as the surface fly on some of my early summer dry-dropper rigs.

I caught almost everything in early summer last year on the dropper (various soft hackles) and that probably means I should work on the floating fly a bit. There are so many bugs in the drift once spring breaks open here that I'll be happy with a 1:10 or 1:8 ratio of surface takes to subsurface. Last year was more like 1:20.

I'm leaving off grizzly hackle in front of the wing this year to "sit" in the water a little better. I "cut" the fly flat in the fall and had much better luck having brookies attack the surface fly when I'd maimed it in this fashion. I had a couple smallish brown trout hammer the surface "sitter" late in September on water I thought was purely brookie territory.

So, I should just be listening to my idols and fishing more "in" the water than "on" the water.

Surface takes are fish heroin for me, though. Flies flush in the water film might give me the same old fix.

Dog knows that the focus on always having something on the line sub-surface has made a world of difference in taking Michigan trout. Hook-ups are much better even when fishing downstream, too.

Now, I'm fishing classic flies and I'm using classic-style gear and I'm looking at classic tactics.

I must be getting old - er, well - classic. A knock-off of classic, anyway.


  1. Spike, I think the tag is 'neoclassicist'. I am green with envy. Nice reel.

    Use that dark deer hair to tie some Hans Weilenmann CDC & Elk (Hans uses deer too). Super simple to tie. Best AP dry fly, ever. Floats like crazy. Makes a great bobber with a softy dangling beneath it.

  2. Thanks! I'll tie some cdc DHC. Perfect idea.

  3. Spike, just got done reading your last four posts. Lucid writing. I hope all the readers haven't moved to Facebook to join the peanut gallery. What you are offering is much more worthwhile.

    You write about murder?... You didn't mention having any Cormac McCarthy in the library. Murder? Mayhem? Outer Dark. Blood Meridian. Or, Cities on the Plain. Literary blood-letting at its finest. Indian warrior wearing bloody wedding dress...

  4. Thanks - kind words.

    That's a coffee stain on my copy of No Country. Coffee.