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by Les Albjerg
Sometimes everything goes as planned! Leaving after lunch to do some upland game hunting with my two French Brittany Spaniels and then finish the day fishing one of my favorite little stretches turned out better than expected. I had planned on only fishing 3 pools of the high desert creek because of the dogs.
We got to the place to park to hunt and you simply couldn't ask for better weather, cool, sunny, and just a slight breeze. The target bird was the Hungarian Partridge. We worked the draw hoping for some Quail before heading up the hill, but alas, Frankie my 5 year old pointed and flushed a single who kept himself behind a tree, so no shot.
We didn't find the Huns today. However, Mocha, my 2 year old pointed and flushed 14 Sage Grouse. Sage Grouse are my favorite upland game bird. They are the size of a small turkey. Poor Mocha didn't understand that the season on them is closed. So after the first two, it was "point the gun and say bang" release on the Sage Grouse. "Catch and Release" hunting! What a wonderful 7.1 mile hike. The truth be told, watching the pointers work the field is a sight to behold.
On the drive up to the creek I made a plan. I was going to fish the Tenyru RZ410B-UL and the Shimano Adlebaran with a Smith AR-S spinner. The second set-up would be a tribute to the past, and fish the Robinson inspired spinning rod I made from S-Glass with a vintage Garcia-Mitchel 409 reel and a vintage designed spinner (outfitted with a modern single hook). The third set-up would be the Nissin Royal Stage Honryu 330 Tenkara rod with a 0.7 gram C'ultiva JH-85 jig head with a Nikko Pin Straight worm.
The primary goal was to just have fun and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. When I got to the creek it was ultra clear! The leaves were very pretty. Dull by Eastern standards, but very nice for the high desert. I began my adventure in pool 2 with the Tenyru set-up. It had been the best pool all summer. No fish today in pool 2. Not even a follower! Pool 1 was a different story.
Oh, the goal was to catch two fish eight inches or larger with each set-up and compare. It didn't take long with the Tenyru BFS set-up. The first fish was a nice 12 incher and the the third was an 11 incher. The iridescent color of the Red-Band rainbow makes it one of the most beautiful fish in my book.
I then switched to the spinning outfit. The second cast, in pool 3, and I had a nice fish on. I then caught two 8 inch fish. They fought well, but not big enough! The fourth fish was the biggest of the day, a nice 14 incher that took me all over the pool.
So off to pool 1 again with the Tenkara outfit. The second cast and I was in the willows! Fortunate for me, it was easy to get untangled. The third cast, and I was into a nice 12 inch trout that took it on the drop. Two casts after that, and I was done with my project with a nice 11 inch rainbow.
Now it was time to simply sit down with a soda and ponder the three set-ups. Fishing the Tenyru-Shimano BFS outfit reminded me of driving my Dad's Porsche 911. It is sporty, quick and has accuracy beyond compare. Besides being able to drop the spinner within inches of the target each time, the fight was awesomely transmitted from lure to hand. Like a sports car, the handling of the fish was precise and always in control! I love this set-up!
The S-Glass Spinning outfit reminded me driving my Dad's Cadillac Fleetwood. It is smooth. The casting is slow and predicable. Not as accurate as the BFS, but effortless. Since it is designed for 2 pound test line, it it flexible and smooth. That smoothness leads to a nice comfortable fight with the fish. It wasn't like you could feel the fish, but this rod really smooths out the bumps! A very enjoyable fishing experience.
The Tenkara set-up reminded me of my hybrid mountain bike. It isn't as radical as a racer, but had plenty of power. Casting was smooth and this rod can handle 1 gram just fine. The Pin Worm had lots of action. The fish hit them hard and the fight in the pool was a different type of excitement not having a reel. There is just something special about having to keep just the right amount of tension on the line to battle and land a fish! The bottom line is these are 3 very enjoyable ways to fish.
One of my mentors told me to catch a fish from one pool and then move to the next. After finishing my plan, I decided to see how many fish I could catch from one pool in an hour. I took the BFS rod and the Spinning outfit up to pool 1. I caught 18 nice rainbows at a casual enjoyable pace. It is nice when a day goes pretty much as planned, with a relaxing bonus hour tacked on before heading home.
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The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.