Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Red Truck Rod Review

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review the new Diesel Series of two handed rods from Red Truck Fly Rods.
Red Truck is a relatively newcomer to the game of branded fly rods, lines and more and is a division of Leland Fly Fishing out of San Fransisco.

Smack dab in the middle of steelhead season, they sent me their Diesel 13'6 Spey and the 11' 7wt Switch

Lets just say I was excited

Lets break this down on my review in the follow categories
1.  Initial Impression

2.  The Wiggle Test

3.  Casting, duh.

4.  The Mulah Factor
5.  Remaining Questions

6.  Bonus Factor.

So here we go.

Initial Impression

I am a sucker for a cool piece of fishing gear.  The rods arrived on my doorstep and I kind of felt like a kid on Christmas morning.  The rod tubes are are an unfinished aluminum and the rods inside have a nice cloth bag.  Standard yes, but the tubes are one level cooler than most.

Wiggle Test

So every time you assemble a rod at a fly shop, you instinctively wiggle it right?  What I took from both these rods was they seemed pretty darn quality.  When you pick up a crappy second rate rod, you know it right away.  The cork is shaped beautifully and when I picked them up....they begged to be cast.

Casting, Duh

The first two factors mean absolutely nothing unless your casting stroke can make the rods work.  For line pairings, I put the Airflo Compact Skagit 510 on the Spey and an Ambush Triangle Taper 8 wt shooting head on the switch.

My other spey rod is 100% different in action so getting to know this particular rod, it's load, it's specific trigger points took me some time.  I find the spey rods action to be a lot slower than I am used to which is neither good nor bad, it just depends on what fits your casting style.  My T and T 13ft 7 weight is lightening fast and conversely the Red Truck Rod is much slower and progressive.  

With that said after a little while, I adjusted my stroke and the rod was lifting the head,  a big heavy T-14 tip and a nasty string leech without much effort.  I am not the greatest spey caster, but this stick kept shooting line as I added it to the loops at my feet.  There is a distinct sweet spot in this stick and when hit, feels like when you knock a fastball over the fence.  In short, I liked it a lot.   I compare this rod to the Echo TR's or the TFO Deer Creek series.

I was even more impressed with the the little switch rod.  I was using it mainly as a nymphing alternative to my 8 wt single hander.  It picked up the indicator, flies and weight pretty well and made the process of nymphing really enjoyable.  I think this rod will excel on small waters like the Grande Ronde, Methow or smaller coastal streams where you have to get inventive with your casts.  On a negative note, the line I had it paired with is tough to long line nymph and stack mend.  You need something with a rear taper to allow you to mend properly.  I found the action on this rod to be medium fast and I am sorry I'm going to have to let it go.
For a spey jedi's take on these rods, take a peek at Chou Dog's review here.

Mulah Factor

While I am a big proponent of buying locally, there are situations where it just doesn't work.  These rods retail for $350.   You're getting a big bang for your buck in my opinion

Remaining Questions??

What's it feel like to fight a fish on these sticks?   I wasn't graced with that opportunity...yet

The action of the spey rod seems like its made for skagit heads.  What's it like with a scandi set up?

I am terribly tough on gear.  What's it like to send a rod a rod back for repair?

Bonus Factor

When someone in fishing camp goes all classy on you and buys something other than Rainer or PBR and has non twist off top, how many times have you struggled to find a bottle opener.  Well, Red Truck Diesel Rods have you covered.

Overall, these sticks are a nice value for the dollar.  I would be happy to add them to my lineup but alas they are going back to their home soon.  Take some time to do your own homework before you pull the trigger. 
What kind of caster are you?

What are you hoping the rod will do?

Does the rod fit the rivers you're hoping to fish?

So on and so forth.  

Take a gander at their site, Red Truck Fly Rods and fish happy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reach Out For Help....

My father got the phone call on our way home from our most recent fishing excursion, and I knew something had gone wrong, terribly wrong. 

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry" was all my father could say.  He went ashen white as he stared blankly out the window of our car.

One of his best friends, former co-worker,  hunting and fishing buddy, had committed suicide.

Life had come up and smacked us in the face.  Miles burned by without much to say other than to soak up the somber news.

Today we attended his funeral.  Full military honors, 21 gun solute and a church full of mourning people.  Stories were told of his character, his love for family, the little things he did to brighten others lives. 

My father's friend committing suicide and the packed church at his funeral got me thinking long and hard about why things ended as they have.  Nobody will ever know why this happened as that secret was taken into the afterlife.  

The human mind is an intensely powerful thing.  It makes us forget what is important, and how many people do love you.  Here you have a gentlemen that was loved by hundreds and my guess is that he felt like he was on his own personal island of depression. 

I have dealt with anxiety issues and have felt the power of imbalance.  It can make you think in ways no other will or can understand unless they too have gone through it.  While suicide has and will never be an option,  I understand what our minds can make us do

What I want everyone to take from this is that if you ever feel like your by yourself....you are absolutely not.  Think of that church today.  It was full.  FULL.

If you do feel alone, make yourself this promise now to reach out for help.  Tell someone what's going on.  Dont be a tough guy and keep it all within because it doesnt work.  Talk to a friend, a co worker, anyone. 

Start the process of going to see a trained professional.  The old stigma of seeing a shrink makes you a weak person is as far from the truth as possible.  Try thinking of your brain as a muscle.  When you pull a muscle, you rehab it.  The same goes for your knoggin.  It can only get better

Again, reach out and talk.  There's more people out there who love you than you know.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fish Pimpin...

Recently, the question of what this blog is and is becoming was posed to me.

Words like....

Impact.  Sensitive Fisheries.  Guides.  Secret Spots.  Internet Hype

Were thrown around.   I was taken aback that this was even thought of in how I work at developing this little outpost on the internets.

It made me feel like I should have a fur coat, swinging gold chains and a pinky ring.

Like I was a fish pimp.

Now I have taken a few days to think about these charges and here's what I think.

It's bullshit.

Originally I started this blog as a way to develop my writing voice and chronicle my fishing adventures.  Over the years it has evolved from fishing reports to my overall view of the fly fishing world.

If I was to write a blog manifesto, a  mini one at that, I feel that words like

Conservation.  Ethics.  Good Stories. 

Would be resounding themes.

If you dont think so.   I'm cool with that. 

I know where my heart is. 

I know what I am doing for the good of our fisheries, fish and sport.

Hopefully the people that read this see that as well.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Go Get Yourself Some Tail...

Ahh huh....

The time is absolutely right.  You might want to call Brazda and Chewbacca to see if they have time left.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chrome Perfection

Our annual pilgrimage to Steelhead Mecca is over.  With terrible flows leading up to the trip, the rain finally relented and gave us three great days.  It reaffirms how amazing the Olympic Peninsula really is.

A few highlights.  3 swung fish in less than an hour.  150 yard sprint down the bank chasing a fish.  Royally screwing up a net job.  OMR putting the smack down and so much more

A bigger write up to come, but there's not much more to say beyond this picture.....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chasing the OP Dream

Battling high flows, muddy waters and finicky steelhead....it seems like it the deck is stacked against you.  

But the moral of the story is.....Go fishing.   Good shit happens.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Time to Cash in the Karma....

March 9th, I almost puked.  Ralphed.  Gave up the cookies.

My long awaited trip to the land of Sasquatch and Twihards looked a bit in peril.  Tremendous amounts of rain coupled with snow melt made the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula jump up like a rocket.  Not so condusive to fishing

Then yesterday, a bright ray of hope.  The Hoh River went down over 2,000 cfs in 15 hours. 

The OP rivers have 4 days to get their sheet in gear and be ready for a swung fly.  More rain is expected and it is a rainforest after all, I get it. 

So it's time to cash in all the Karma Points, talk to the man upstairs, do some charity work and be a general good person because we're going to need all of it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nope, Not Excited

Nope, not excited at all.  Not in the least bit.  7 more days till the Olympic Peninsula.  No big deal.

I havent counted the days down for the past 3 months.  Nope havent done that.  Havent wanted to punch a certain friend in the balls whom I will be fishing with for sending me daily guide trip updates and pictures of fish so chromed out you can see their reflection in them.

I havent checked my gear 3 times already, gone over my flies and made a list of a dozen bugs that need to get wrapped before we depart next Tuesday.

I wont be feverishly working ahead at work for the next 4 work days to get ahead so I can focus on the task at hand when I am out there.  Nope, its an every day occurance.

I could take or leave this trip.....but then I'd be lying so much that my nose would be two feet long if it was an inch.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brown Is...

The worst possible word to describe these fish. 

A least a Rainbow has a name that illicits a wide array of colors. 

There cant be a more plain and vanilla name for Brown Trout.  Beyond vibrant and with great color variation, they differ with each specific fish and each river they come from.

But for me there isnt a better looking fish around for us to chase in the Northwest.  Combine looks and personality of a street thug, what a fish it is.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Elusive Trout Artist Reception in Spokane

This Friday, you have the opportunity to see some very rare trout.

Tinman Gallery in Spokane will host an artist reception for Deanna Camp, creator of the Elusive Trout Series this Friday starting at  5pm.

Pared with original flies tied by Northwest fly wrappers Brian Chou and Dave Mack, these 12 new fish you have never seen before will cause a thought and a chuckle.  After all, who's ever caught a Deadhead Trout?

For more info, click on the link to Tinman or visit Deanna's web site, Elusive Trout

See you Friday!