Since our family spent a few days visiting relatives in Portland I was anxious to get some time on the water and turned out that Sunday was a good day to go fishing. Thao was heading out with a couple of his friends who are novice flyfisherman and I wanted to tag along to see some new water. I ended up driving separately as I had to get back earlier. Made the journey to the Skykomish River and was greeted with a cold crisp winter morning and some gorgeous looking water.
It was a bit of an exploratory trip for me as I’d never fished that section of river around Index and probably put some fish down due to alot of ‘new’ equipment. I was experimenting with a new TFO Professional Switch rod that I purchased on closeout. I like the idea of a switch as it has some versatility with being able to swing flies along with nymphing just like a trout rod. What I don’t care for with the spey rods are the long lengths, generally 13-15′ and the need for spendy lines and big capacity reels.
This TFO is 11′ 5 wt. and comes with a choice of two different butt sections. One is a lower handle just like a spey rod and it screws off to put the fighting butt as seen in rods in the 6 wt.+ category for salt water. I plan to use this rod on the beach for Pink salmon fishing along with deep water Chironomid fishing and deep water nymphing as I can get alot of line out and get a big fly down quicker due to the added length of the rod and ability to reach or stack mend the fly line.
It might become my more go to rod as its farely lightweight and compact, coming in 4 pieces. with sock and case. I made some custom shooting heads experimenting with a heat gun that vulcanizes the fly line so it essentially welds itself. The result is a non hinging loop that is super strong and by using a handshake loop, I can attach leader, running line, or sink tips in a jiffy.
I used a 10 and an 11 wt. DT spey line and cut the line in hand making four shooting heads. Im not sure how it weighs out in terms of grains, but experimenting with different lengths, I found that 20-22′ is ideal for this rod and with a simple single spey cast can launch 60-70′ of line fairly easily.
While catching a steelhead would have been nice, I wanted to practice my casting, mending, swinging and overall technique to better hone for the real thing. All in all, it was a beautiful day to be out, I had two nice runs to myself and some great scenery and fresh crisp mountain air.
Im sure the winter steelhead will arrive and I’ll be ready for them! Until then, heres a short video of Luca and some steelhead or perhaps Rainbow trout at the Cabelas in Lacey. We had to stop for a feeding and diaper change and got to tour around a little bit on our way back from Portland.
At least he got to come face to face with a steelhead when I didn’t see any today.