Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fiberglass Perfection

At what point does a person find that they have an innate understanding of an activity - where second nature establishes itself and conscious thought doesn't contribute? As an example, lately Marlon has been asking me "how do you turn a surfboard?" - I answered that 'you lean into it, but recenter your weight once you are heading in the direction you want to head in'. I stopped thinking about turning surfcraft decades ago and just started feeling my way through the moves - with shortboards, longboards, kiteboards, SUPs, boogieboards, inflatable surfmats and paipos - lean, engage the rail and straighten out when you need to. I feel like I know what I'm doing when it comes to surfing, but flycasting has been the activity that I have been immersing myself in lately because I have so much to learn - sucking everything in sponge-like, from rods, reels, tying flies, casting techniques, line types and more - tons of information is out there and I feel like I have just scratched the surface. I haven't felt this way about surfing in a while maybe because I've absorbed a lot already??? That last 25% out there is exponentially harder to find and assimilate. It is most likely also a product of where we currently live - 3.5 hour drive to surf, verses a 35 minute drive in the winter months to local sight-casting fishing. Sizing equipment to the fish in the fishing holes is something I have expanded into - specifically going lighter. The tenkara/seiryu rods are tons of fun, but I felt that my conventional fly line casting skills were not progressing. Now having a few lighter lines - RIO Gold WF3 and a Scientific Angler WF4, I spent some time casting the Performance Fly Rod 6'6" S-Glass, 3/4wt that I recently procured. I spooled up the Scientific Angler WF4F line and then it happened - I cast the rod and I 'felt' the rod load, felt the pressure max out and began my forward cast - I saw the tighter loop fly forward and the tippet unfurl with out so much as a 'plop' - just smooth, linear layout. I felt no issues or frustrations casting this rod - I adjusted my cadence (slowed) to get the rod to load and the funny thing was the 'catching' part actually got in the way of my casting practice. There is one area where I can tell the difference between graphite and fiberglass - the sensitivity of detecting strikes on the fly is less using fiberglass. A small price to pay if you are sight casting and can see the takes, but definitely a disadvantage if you are blind casting. I ended up catching pumpkin seeds (first fish caught with this rod is in the picture), greens and bluegills. The rod tip vibrates like it is alive with a fish on. I can say that this rod/line combo is the closest to perfection as I've ever sensed in equipment, and I am looking forward to using this tool when the conditions are right for it (no or very light wind, relatively narrow water). Casting it just feels right - like that bottom turn on a nice Pupukea right... This won't replace the Japanese Fixed line rods (tenkara/keiryu/seiryu) I have - they have their own niche areas/benefits - but OH WHAT FUN THIS ROD IS!!!

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