Monday, July 9, 2012

Tribute to a fallen fly rod

Today was a sad day for a favorite fly rod and a great day for fishing.

Kelly and I went out for one of our typical evening fishing sessions. We spent a few minutes at an access point we've never tried on our neighborhood stream, but it turned out to be less than stellar so we went back to a spot we haven't visited in a while. It has a very urban feel about it as you can probably tell from the pictures, but before I even made it down to the water... I broke my fly rod. (Not really sure what I did, but apparently I tweaked it the wrong way while trying to pull line through the guides.... oops.)

It was no big financial loss, but it has been my go to rod on a lot of our fishing adventures. That rod landed a lot of good fish, including some nice trout on Christmas Day 2010. I'm not ashamed to admit, I like fishing with bargain gear that works. Maybe it's a little like a fascination with drinking PBR... but I think it's a bit more down to earth and a little less hipster than that.

R.I.P. Eagle Claw Granger Fly XG 9' 5wt (Retail $29.99)

I usually have a spare rod in the car, but not today. Kelly was kind enough to share her rod, and we took turns using the following system: catch a bass ends your turn or catch two non-bass to end your turn. Our method actually worked out really well. It allowed us to slow down from our usual leap-frogging the length of the stream in a hurried manner trying to put a little distance between each other.

Kelly got the first turn, while I played guide.

Not a bad way to lose your turn, babe.

My turn...

Not a bad way to lose my turn either.

Kelly's next turn yielded a couple of small sunfish (non-bass). My next turn...

We're on a roll!

Kelly's next turn was spent on a small bass (not photo worthy). My next go around...

Barely photo worthy... lose your turn.

Kelly's turn that followed involved a couple of missed fish, and a small sunfish brought to hand. She decided to let me fish most of the way back upstream until we got to the bridge where we have been burned several times before. We've watched a lot of nice fish repeatedly refuse our offerings under that bridge (the spot directly behind the fish in the photo below), but not today...

First bass from the hole under the bridge!

My turn spent, Kelly then missed two more willing bass under the bridge. The first one she was a little too quick on the hook set, and the second fish broke off and swam away with a five dollar Booglebug in its lip... argghh.

A broken bargain fly rod and a lost Booglebug... a small price to pay for a good day on the stream.


  1. Hi, Jay. Gotta' agree with you on finding less expensive gear that fishes well. By all means, the loss of a favorite rod is heartbreaking. Still a fun night on some nice looking Bass.

    1. Mel, fortunately it won't set me back much to replace that rod. I think last night was some of the best bassin' we've experienced in our little creek.

  2. Jay
    I like the system you and Kelly worked out, and it looks like it work to perfection for both of you. Academy Sports carries an Eagle Claw Fly rod you might be interested in to the replace the one you lost. I think the price was around 40.00. It is a quality rod and is extremely light. They also carry the Okuma fly rods in the same price range. The last couple of trips I made to Smith proved to be costly for me as well, not in rods but in Boogle Bugs. I lost 2 size 4 boogle bugs on big fish. My fault both times for not using a larger tippet and one frayed tippet---so I can relate.

    1. Bill, I think the rod at Academy is this same rod! I'm pretty sure that's where I bought mine. We were using 3X 8.5 lb tippet- more than enough for the 1/2-1 pounder bass we usually catch in the creek. I think it may have gotten nicked on a rock. Gotta remember to check your tippet frequently... especially when fishing high dollar poppers!

  3. Nice bass. Wish I could find a productive stream with larger spots and largemouth bass. Don't buy Cortland leaders. I bought some on sale and the knots don't hold well. I've never had a problem with knots until I switched from those I buy at Academy to sale leaders at WM. I had an Okuma 3 wgt. rod. It was awesome when fighting small fish. Don't get too much of a bend in it if you buy one.

    1. I'd trade our Largemouth and Spots for your Ozark Smallies any day!
      I mostly use Orvis leaders and tippet. I use Okuma reels, but I've thought their rods felt a little stiff for my tastes... but this Eagle Claw was pretty stiff too... probably why it snapped like a toothpick.

  4. Say Jay, that is one nice outing despite the loss of the rod. There are plenty of low cost good rods out there...never fear.

    1. My only fear is getting in trouble with Kelly for buying another rod... even if it is low cost.

  5. I just spent a whole year's fishing budget on the Jocelyn's new fly rod. I have a growing resentment toward flyfishing, mostly based on the grossly over priced gear, the elitist attitude of the fly anglers who don't know buttkiss about fish but feel superior because they use a technique designed to prevent them from catching fish (and maybe also because I absolutely suck at fly fishing). Now I feel like a complete POS now that I know there are better anglers than me out there outfishing me with fly gear cheaper gear than mine. I lay down all pretensions to thriftiness and salute you and your next 29 dollar rod, Sir. Long may it wave.

    1. I sense a bit of sarcasm in this comment.
      I will have to disagree about fly fishing being "a technique designed to prevent them from catching fish," and I doubt you really "suck at fly fishing."
      I certainly didn't intend to make anybody feel bad by publicly admitting I fish with some bargain gear. If anything, I would expect the majority of pretentious fly fishers out there to think I'm a moron for doing so. There are certain low quality rods where even I would draw the line, but this one had a feel of quality that (in my humble opinion) exceeded its bargain price tag. I'm looking at replacing this one with the newer Eagle Claw Powerlight which comes in at around $40... even the price of a bargain is going up. Not all of my rods were such bargains though... I've got some of that high dollar gear too, although I got a lot of it second hand at significant savings. If I wasn't thrifty, I probably wouldn't have nearly as much fun with fly fishing.
      I say, whatever you paid for your fly rod, long may it wave.