Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bamboo in 'Bama: playing host to the OBN Fall River Fly Rod

It's taken some time to regroup from all of our recent adventures and busy schedules with work, school, travel, etc... but it's finally time to recount our hosting of the OBN Fall River Fly Rod.

First, I would like to thank the Outdoor Blogger Network (Rebecca & Joe) for organizing such a great experience. Second, a huge thank you goes to Jason and Julie Zicha of Fall River Fly Rods for creating and contributing such a beautiful piece of equipment for the OBN fly fishing community. I also want to thank Montana Fly Company and Rio for their generous contributions to the rod's grand journey around the country.

On with the story...

If it's any indicator of how busy we've been lately, the rod actually arrived on a Saturday while Kelly and I were out of town. So, I had to take my little claim card and go pick it up at the post office on Monday. The lady at the post office seemed terribly confused and had some difficulty finding the package... let's just say it took her "a little while." As I saw her fumbling through the odd lot of packages in the back, a large black PVC tube caught my eye. I said without hesitation, "that's it."

The tube is taller than Kelly.

Mike of Dry Flies & Fat Tires sent the tube on its way adorned with a sticker from one of his local fly shops, and I followed suit by adding something from my neck of the woods too. I hope everyone keeps that going as it tours this great land of ours. Mike also did exactly what I had envisioned for our time with the rod. He took the Fall River rod to experience the finest wild fishing that his state has to offer- Rio Grande Cutthroat in New Mexico's high country.

Kelly and I did our best to emulate that type of experience in Alabama. Considering we only have one year-round trout fishery in our state... and it is entirely unnatural... we introduced the Fall River rod to some of the finest warmwater fly fishing our state has to offer- Redeye Bass in Little River Canyon, Spotted Bass in the Cahaba River, and the wonderful variety of fish to be had in Cypress Creek.

We made it our goal to try and land as many species with the rod as we could... our own little contribution to the traveler's history. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking here...

Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris) at Cypress Creek

"Puttin' the wood" to a Smallie.

Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) at Cypress Creek

Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus) at Cypress Creek

Longear Sunfish (L. megalotis) at Cypress Creek

Largemouth Bass (M. salmoides) at Cypress Creek

Little River Canyon
 
Green Sunfish (L. cyanellus) at Little River Canyon

Redeye Bass (M. coosae) at Little River Canyon

Redeye Bass- the "Brook Trout of warmwater game fish"

Bluegill (L. macrochirus) at Cahaba River

Redeye Bass (M. coosae) at Cahaba River

Alabama Spotted Bass (M. henshalli) at Shades Creek (Cahaba R. tributary)

In total, we landed nine species from three of Alabama's finest streams. These are truly wild fish in their native waters, and I couldn't think of any more fitting pursuit with a bamboo fly rod... at least not in Alabama! (There may be a little debate about the Redbreast being indigenous... but you get the idea.)

We had a great time hosting the rod, and we were honored to be part of such a unique history in the making.

This was not my first experience with bamboo, but it was my first with a newly crafted rod. My bamboo rods are antiques (but sadly not Leonard or Payne)... and are somewhat clunky by comparison. I must conclude by sending my compliments to Jason Zicha for crafting such a fine fly rod.

Job well done, sir.

19 comments:

  1. There are some awesome colors there, cool post.

    Just to let you know my Google chrome is telling me there is malicious code on your page, might want to know that.

    Dan

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    1. Dan, thanks for the comment and the tip. I'm not sure what to do about that "malicious code." Any thoughts, anybody?

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  2. Awesome! Looks like you have some fun fishing near you! The sunfish pictures are really great, I love that Longear, I've never seen that before. Great job.

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    1. Ed, I'm glad you finally got to see some of what the rod was doing before it landed on your doorstep. Longears are the sunfish of Southern streams. They seem to prefer moving water and at least some level of water clarity- I've never caught one in a muddy ditch. Longears and I like the same sort of places.

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  3. Jay
    I have been waiting for this report and I have to say you didn’t disappoint with your fishing of this one of kind fly rod. I was especially impressed with variety of fish you landed while fishing the rod. I have to say that the Longear Sunfish and the Redbreast Sunfish are some of the most colorful fish that inhabit the waters here in Alabama. Thanks for sharing such a great fishing trip and I hope this post will eventually lead to you actually owning the fly rod in the near future.

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    1. Bill, glad you enjoyed the report. I've got my fingers crossed... pretty good odds for a giveaway.

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  4. Jay,
    Loved the post!
    Now I can't wait to see what that rod tube looks like by the end of it's track. Stickers galore would be very cool.

    That sweet rod is collecting quite the history and I'm glad you guys were part of it.
    Rebecca

    p.s. no more red blocking the doorway =)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca. I promise I wasn't trying to create a "red screen of terror." Thanks again for the tip.

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  5. Nice going Jay. Hope there is a little "Mississippi mud" on the rod as well.

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    1. Maybe some Alabama red clay. ;)
      We live at the base of Red Mountain, named for the iron ore that literally turns the soil rusty red. Red Mountain was the source of Birmingham's iron industry. Kelly is from Mississippi, and I grew up in Memphis on the bank of mighty Mississippi River... so I'm sure we've imparted some sort of Mississippi ju-ju for you!
      Looking forward to everyone's reports, especially yours.

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  6. Great write up jay.. I love seeing the different varieties of fish and people that have been in contact with the rod!
    Brian

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Brian. The rod is building quite a unique history. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of its journey.

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  7. Awesome! Rod will travel for fisher! How would I go about putting some Missouri Show me into that rod? Great project!

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    1. Kevin, I was chosen in a random drawing contest put together by the Outdoor Blogger Network. As much as I would love to see the rod visit every state in the union, it wouldn't help my chances of winning. The fewer participants the better if you ask me... but the travel schedule and the fly fisher bloggers have already been chosen this go around. Maybe they'll do it again soon? Hint, hint, OBN.

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    2. Sorry I missed that one. That would be cool every state one winner in each state.

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  8. very awesome. This entire project still amazes me. What a cool thing for you to participate in and what an great thing for the readers to follow. Thanks for sharing your part of the story.

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  9. Very good review! Love the warm water twist...

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you like the warmwater... I'm sure there's some out there that think it's disgraceful to fish for bass and such with a fine bamboo rod.
      Quill Gordon did a much better review of the rod's casting qualities at his blog, The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond.

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