Sunday, September 9, 2012

Good Rod Mojo with H.E. and Jim

I spent some time at Cumberland Transit last week and the discussion turned to rod mojo. Some rods jut seem to have mojo and some do not. Reels can have mojo too and boats, some boats certainly have mojo. I picked up some of the necessary items such as hooks, line and tying materials. OK a new rod would be good too. So I picked several from the rack and wiggled them back and forth, why we do this I will never know. I found a 9'-6wt BVK that I liked mostly because it had a cool fighting butt, which immediately said "Big Fish". Leo and I decided this rod had all the necessary components for good mojo. I tossed my recent purchases in the back seat and raced a fast moving storm from Nashville to Murfreesboro. I arrived at home just in time to view the front edge of a lightening storm as I raced from the truck to the garage. 
Partly Cloudy and Plenty Hot
Jim called and said H.E. was flying in from Iowa and they wanted to spend a day on the river. He said H.E. was an accomplished angler and Jim made it sound as though he was just pretty good. We made the arrangements and I met them at the ramp. In-tow were several rods, including the new BVK and I brought out a Scierra reel that is out of production. The reel also has good mojo.
The Brookies are Starting to "Color-Up"
Darker Colors on the Hatchery Brats
Take a Photo of the First Fish of the Day, For Good Mojo
We started the day on nymphs. H.E. on the usual and Jim started on a rubber legged stone fly nymph. H.E. hooked up first and then again. Jim was a quick study on mending flat water, then he was off on a tear. First cast, then mend, and hookset. We tuned up on the Hatchery Brats and then moved onto more productive water. 
H.E. in the Fighting Chair
There is one place on the river that I usually like to stop. Every canoe, kayak and angler either stops to fish it or some how they end up completely off course and get into the spot purely by accident. This spot has been used so much the fish usually hang close only to come back and eat pretty quick after a boat passes through. On this day the spot had been left alone for 30 minutes or so. I was watching the spot while the guys were catching fish. That's when I saw the guy making his way through the brush. He was downstream about 50 yards from the spot and stopped at the edge of the water to fish. He was spending his day fishing from the bank and when he saw us headed toward the spot, he reeled up his rooster tail and began making his move. He (Mr. Rooster) climbed over blowdowns and through the sticker bushes. I was trying to let the guys fish while quietly trying to get there just before "Mr. Rooster" got there. It was obvious he was going to get there first, but that's no reason not to have some fun! When he was trying to climb over one of the logs and judge our speed at the same time, I gave a couple extra shoves on the oars just to see what he would do. He fell and the rod got tangled in the briers but he recovered and was just a few steps from the spot. Some line must have gotten snagged in the fall and he reeled the line as he scrambled and made it back on his feet. He grabbed a tree limb and slipped further down the bank, then he was taking up the space. He quickly unhooked the rooster tail and gave it fling, while trying to look like he had been standing there all day. We said hello and he spoke back. It seemed like he may have been a little winded but I couldn't tell for sure. Then we slipped on down the river throwing nymphs and now hoppers. It was clear the whole time we wouldn't get to fish the spot on this day, but making Mr. Rooster work a little harder sure made my day.
Sunlight in the Depths
So Jim was killing it on nymphs with his near perfect drift and H.E. was catching quality brookies each time his indicator dove. The Scierra's mojo was back, but we did not have the BVK in action long enough to tell if Leo and I were correct about this rod's mojo. Jim left a few trout without putting a hole in their lip but it didn't seem like many escaped unscathed. The sun was moving toward the hills and we needed to move to the take out.
Jim Rippin-a-Lip
It was time to get the BVK out and put it to work on some small dries. These rods have some backbone and the tip is soft enough that we can still throw small dries and protect the tippet. We found feeding fish. One nice brown and a few rainbows were taking bugs off the top. We were downstream a ways from where they are usually feeding. We may have found another spot that is not too far from the takeout to fish dries for a while. We started with H.E. throwing hoppers, then we went to dries, each time we were sure a fish was refusing we would go smaller. Just for kicks Jim threw a hopper in there to keep the fish honest. I dug deep into the rowers bench and found a box of dries that were long ago forgotten (enter "seasoned"). I spotted a size 20 something Hi-Vis Adams and tied it up. Checked knots and tippet for nicks and scratches, then H.E. was back in action. 
We let the fish settle back into a feeding pattern and then H.E. dropped the dry into the feeding lane. The Adams drifted by a rock and a nose broke the water, then the dry disappeared as H.E. stuck the fish. The fight was on and the rainbow went to the rocks. Jim turned the fish and it left those rocks for a bigger rock. The line went to the edge of the submerged rock as the rainbow dove for some stick ups. We backed the drifter up and H.E. got the fish to come up and the line slipped out. The fish was still on and throwing all the tricks it knew. Finally the fish was close and after spending the entire day in the Fighting Chair, H.E. stood and brought the fish to the top. Then the fish came to the net and we got the hero shots. H.E. fought the fish fair and square, and just like that H.E. is the newest member of the 20 + Club.
H.E.'s 20 on a 20
Jim was next up and we went from hoppers to parachute dries. We ended up on a Adams (imagine that) I checked knots and tippet for nicks and scratches, then Jim was back in action. This fly blended in so well neither of us could really see it. There was a large brown feeding and the tiny dry was on the right line. The fly was bobbing along without a care in the world. Jim and I were carrying on a conversation that went something like this. 
Me, "Jim do you see it?"
Jim, "Yes I, no that's not it"
Me, "OK- right by that leaf"
Jim, "I see it"
Me, "Mend, that one right there, it is headed to that fish. SET set the hook"
Jim, "what?" setting the hook
Me, "The fish ate"
The Line, said "Pop" as the fish made a blistering run and broke the tippet
Jim, "I was looking behind it".
Me, "Dang he had it, that was the fastest fish in the river. He is down there by the ramp by now".
After that we fished a little longer, then started making our way to the gravel bar to load the boat and head for home. The BVK showed it does have some mojo. H.E. tuned the rod up and presented a small dry nicely, while using the backbone to lift the fish to the net. Jim was more than just pretty good, as he said on the phone, and learned quickly about fishing nymphs in a slow flow. This was a good day to be on the river and we made the most of it.
Jim Also Bagged This Nice Brookie

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