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Post 31 Oct 2023, 13:20 • #1 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/22/16
Posts: 1750
Location: SJC
It was going to be chilly and windy at the upper elevations, so this past weekend I decided to go check out an area that I've visited in winter and early spring in past years, just inside a national park. I figured that this past year's heavy winter snowfall and back-to-back atmospheric rivers of early spring had left things in good shape, at least for the trout, if not for the roads and trails. The national park is still repairing the damage, and some areas within it simply did not open at all this season.

I got my usual early start -- it's always a long drive for me, being further south than I generally venture. The 4wd road had been repaired, most likely because of the ranchers and other residents in the area. I started hiking around 9am-ish. I was glad I hadn't visited in the springtime, because looking at all the water damage it must have been a huge mess. I could tell few visitors had been through here this season, but it was doable. I made my way up the canyon past the usual high grass, blowdowns, brush, sketchy sections, and a couple creek crossings (rock hops this late in the year).

The creek was still in good shape for late season. It's not high elevation, but in a deep dark canyon, and this time of year direct sun exposure is fleeting.

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The trout here seem to be mostly found in the cold water of deep plunge pools. I've caught fish on tungsten beadhead nymphs in the past, but this time I decided to try some BFS.

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Major Craft Finetail Glass FSG462UL / iFishband Tender Shoot / Spro Finesse Braid x8 0.8 PE
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The reel was kind of a novelty I'd just picked up -- a Chinese copy of a Daiwa Millionaire CT SV from what I could tell, though obviously not with Daiwa's air brake. I swapped out the bearings for Roro's (big improvement there) and added some AMO wood handle knobs. There are no markings on the brake side, so I had to apply some masking tape until I found settings that worked for me.

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After a bit of "nyu-kon" for that combo I continued on upstream to the next pool. I'd had good luck in the past here.

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The fish here were hitting lures, but they seemed to be short-strikes and not committing. Time for the fly rod and nymph box. I rigged up my Moonlit Lunar S-glass 2wt 6'6" 4-piece custom built by Bejuco Flats Fly Company (forum member) and tied on an olive perdigon I'd tied earlier this year from an Instagram video.

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BFS combo: Dan Kung "Chinese hooksnout carp" glass rod 4'11" variant
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The reel on the bottom is an LL Bean "Double L" spooled with an older Airflo River & Stream WF3F.

I spent a bit of time wandering up and downstream of the pool. I was surprised at how much water was in the creek this late in the season.

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The afternoon was getting long in the tooth, and I made my way back downstream, but not before stopping at another pool and found some willing takers for my Smith D-Compact 38 on the Dan Kung rod.

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The next morning I got an earlier start, around 8am-ish. It would be a longer walk, with more elevation gain than yesterday. After a few miles I started seeing the river below.

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A fire had burned some of the area a few years back, and I'd only visited once since then -- skunked in my usual places, but that was pre-BFS. I theorized that perhaps fire retardant had gotten inadvertently dumped into the river or some other change. But I'd caught fish yesterday, so whatever happened today would be just icing on the cake, so to speak - it was nice to be out and exploring.

After a while I descended to a pool where I'd caught some nice fish while euro-nymphing in winters past.

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No takers this time. It looked like there had been a slide upstream which changed the flow somewhat. Oh well, that's what happens when you explore. I made my way downstream to a set of plunge pools and minor falls. The flow was fast, and the pools were deep, and I'd never had any luck with my euro-nymph setup. Time to see if the gear fishing worked ...

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1/6 oz Thomas Buoyant -- river fish seem to dig them
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Daiwa Silver Creek Glass Progressive 5'1" L / Daiwa Silver Creek Stream Custom TW / Varivas Bush Trail 5#
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The fish used the current to their advantage -- that last one exercised the drag clicker, kind of exciting :)

I explored another nearby plunge pool.

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Daiwa Silver Creek minnow -- either the regular 4.5g or the Slow Fall Custom 40mm 3g, can't recall
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Duo Spearhead Ryuki spinner 3.5g
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Note to self: when buying Japanese trout lures, always pick "yamame" patterns for rainbow trout ...

By mid-afternoon I decided to head back to the spot I'd seen from above. There are actually a few places to fish along that stretch. I didn't have much luck at the first couple, but the last one ...

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The sun made its way behind the ridge, and I soon realized that I'd have to get moving if I wanted to be back at the car before dark.

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I got back in the twilight. Maybe I'll be back this winter, if it isn't too stormy.


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Post 31 Oct 2023, 13:39 • #2 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 19013
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Nice combos, including the fly rod - Roro spool bearings make a difference on every reel.
My experience with rainbows, they wear themselves out upstream until they know they're hooked - then they turn into the current, and belie their size.
Thanks for the detailed report and great photos.


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Post 01 Nov 2023, 14:54 • #3 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 07/11/14
Posts: 1781
Location: urban Colorado
excellent.. that first picture doesn't look like there would be those fine deep pools upstream..

notice you are tying braid direct to the lures, with no fluoro leader. I go back and forth on this, originally fished the braid direct, then read assorted opinions that the fluoro will increase strikes. So now usually fish 3' of 6lb fluoro leader to the lure, can't say that I have in fact noticed any improvement ;-)
Probably going back to braid direct, at least for the duller colored braids. Bright red braid direct to the lure is a bold choice ;-) but it seemed to work pretty well here..


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Post 01 Nov 2023, 16:07 • #4 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 19013
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
One thing, Doug, if you're fishing 20-lb braid, an 8- or 10-lb leader gives you a working breakaway to protect your rod.

As fly fishers, we should all know how to tie a good Allbright knot.
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Post 01 Nov 2023, 17:45 • #5 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/22/16
Posts: 1750
Location: SJC
Thanks guys.

Actually, I always use a flouro leader with braid, usually 4-6# for trout or 7-8# for bass. The first day I was using Spro finesse braid x8. I used to use a double Uni knot, but now I more often use an Alberto. Sorry, an Albright is too much work for me ;) I've also been known to use a bit of UV knot sense, like Ron does. My leaders are typically no longer than 2-3'.

Second day I was using Varivas Bush Trail, which is nylon. It's more of a muted orange color than bright red, but I've not noticed trout being particularly shy about it. I think Varivas is phasing it out in favor of a more generic "Trout Nylon" clear line, though.

Being an engineer I like modularity and quick setup, so whether nylon or flouro I tie a non-slip loop in the end (ala Lefty Kreh), then after threading it through the guides attach a duolock snap, which allows me to swap out lures quickly.

Sometimes I use a similar system for fly fishing with streamers or bass flies, using a Rio fly-clip on the end of the leader, except that the clip can stay tied to the leader, since it is almost always small enough to pass through the guides after I un-rig the rod.

I find that most if not all of my BFS rods have tiny guides which don't allow passing a snap through the last several guides, so the snap has to go on after threading the line through.

I'm curious about how other people rig their BFS rods...


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Post 01 Nov 2023, 19:28 • #6 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 19013
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
I tie a perfection loop, and loop on a micro snap swivel, micro swivel trace for toothy salt fish (+ snook gill plates), or a paper clip.
A loop connection is always stronger than a single-bend knot, because it has linear contact instead of point contact.

viewtopic.php?f=33&t=76059

For me, loop-to-loop goes way back in fly fishing.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=73180#p403586
a complex dropper rig, I'll snip above the split shot, tie a loop on both sides, roll the dropper rig into a fly wallet, and fish it again next time.


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