by Les Albjerg
Palms Thumb Shad and big brookie.
I went up in the mountains yesterday to the waters where I met the Frank Nale challenge last year of over 100 trout in one day. I am appreciative of Frank Nale's instructions and continued email friendship. I have not been able to attend one of his seminars, but he has sent me his notes and the outline of his seminar. However his style of fishing isn't my style. To each his or her own!
So on the way up, I decided that I was going to really enjoy the day and fish all of my Tenyru spinning rods. I was also going to fish my BFS set-up. I fished my bait caster for about a half hour, caught several nice fish, but totally blew up the spool. I miscast, and slammed the plug into the water. The plug stopped but the spool didn't! I have a lot to learn when it comes to BFS. I really had the wrong line on the reel.
I never did get around to fishing the Tenyru Rayz RZ39LL (The Mighty Mite!) or the Tenyru Rayz Spectra RZ51LL, both designed for stream fishing. I fished the Tenyru Lunakia LK6102S-MLT all day!
I just couldn't put the Tenyru Lunakia LK6102S-MLT down! Exploring the limits of a salt-water rod fishing in freshwater was exiting and fun! This rod is simply amazing if you have the room to fish a six foot 10 inch rod. The stream I was fishing has plenty of room! Paired with the Shimano Cardiff CI4+ 1000SHG it has great balance.
The Lunakia is an interesting rod. The upper guides are very small diameter. Less than 2 millimeters, because you can't put a 2mm tippet ring on and pass it through the eyes. It also has way more guides than any of my other rods. This results in an ultra sensitive rod, and one that really gives you a great feel for the plug or spinner that you may be fishing. The beautiful carbon woven Nishijin Textile reel seat is not only beautiful and unique, it is very functional.
I really put this rod through the paces yesterday and in my opinion it passed with flying colors. One question that was answered was, "Can it handle larger fish than the Ajing and Mebaru that it was designed for?" The answer is a resounding, "Yes." Now to the fishing!
The water was beautiful when I got up to the valley that I love to fish. I fished several plugs that I have bought from this website. The clear winners yesterday where the Smith D-Contact and the Palms Thumb Shad. I caught fish on my WooDreams and Palms Alexadra plugs too.
It was a many fish day! As much as I am looking forward to fishing some new waters on Saturday, fishing familiar waters has its own satisfaction. One of the big lessons learned from Frank Nale is to keep moving through the water. The first three pools yielded 4 nice 12 -14 inch brook trout. It was a 100% brook trout day. No cutthroats, which is typical for this time of year. I loved the feel of the Lunakia! You could feel every pulse of the plug through the water. The ticks when you were on the bottom where felt, and if a bit of weed was on the lure, you knew it! Best of all, strikes where felt immediately!
The fish in the picture is a 16 and a half inch fish that was caught in the fourth pool. I cast the Palms Thumb Shad just into the edge of the riffles above the pool and worked it toward a deep slot and the fish just rose off the bottom and slammed it! She raced toward riffles, but the Lunakia has the backbone to turn a fish in the current! Yes! Having an over 6 foot rod was nice as I could lift the rod to keep the pressure on as she raced down stream. One big lesson I've learned is you must keep tension on a bait that is barbless. It was an awesome battle, and one of the most enjoyable fights of the year.
Many fish and pools later, I was fishing a very nice pool that had a long sandbar on the right side. It was a several cast sized pool. I caught a nice 12 inch fish, and thought about moving on, but felt the pool deserved a few more casts. This is where I diverge from Frank's methods. I put the Palms Thumb Shad just above a deep seam and swam it through, and caught a feisty 6 incher. After releasing the little guy, I spent a few minutes enjoying the beauty of where I was, and thinking this pool deserves at least one more cast.
I noticed that the sandbar had a nice trough where the sand intersected the rocky bottom. I zinged the Palms Thumb Shad to just the perfect spot to work the trough. The plug swam seductively through the trough and nothing! It was about 10 feet from me and the bottom started moving! I was Ambushed! A monster brook trout began to slowly follow the plug! I gave it a little jerk and Wham!, the trout slammed the Thumb Shad! He hit it so hard he grounded himself on the sandbar! I got a really good look, and he was well over 20 inches. For a split second, I thought that the fight was over, and I grabbed my landing net, but the fish rolled over and torpedoed to the deepest part of the pool. The fight was on! We battled through two great runs! The Lunakia was up for the fight, and has amazing backbone! I had him close within 3 feet! I knew he had one more run in him, so I didn't even have the net ready. Off he ran taking line, but I turned him before he went into the riffles. He then went deep, and snap! I was broken off! I cried. I laughed. I was mad at myself. I reeled the line in and did an inspection. The line had been weakened by the snap swivel. I violated one of Frank Nale's lessons and that is to retie after every three or four fish, or a half hour of casting. The big lesson of the day? Don't forget to retie often!
It was a special day! Oh, I did run into another fisherman. He was fly fishing. His day: 2 small fish. My day: over 50, fish. His problem was the wind. I really had no problems with the wind. The fish were deep, he couldn't get his flies down to them. Is the Lunakia a trout rod? It is in my book! Can it handle big fish? You bet! Don't forget to retie! I won't.