Friday, March 18, 2011

Open Water

During my formative years I was a fan of Transformers. Among my all-time favorites were the Constructicons - a group of individual transformer vehicles that had the added benefit of being able to combine themselves into one giant robot: Devastator.

There was great anticipation and excitement whenever a birthday or Christmas would roll around because a new Constructicon was always a distinct possibility.

Today the only thing that rivals the unbridled enthusiasm I experienced as a kid is Spring's banishment of ice-holes. I believe it was Lewis Carroll who wrote:

Beware the Ratfinky my son!
The jigs that bite, the spoons that snatch!
Beware the vexilar flashers, and shun
The waxworm-baited catch!

I am paraphrasing, of course, but it was something to that effect. There is nothing quite like the year's first stillwater outing. Upon arrival, you peel off 80 feet of line into your stripping basket. After a few pleasant false casts, a double-haul builds line speed and you feel the rod load... only to unleash Hell's own line bastard! Your sinking lines haven't been used all winter and now have more memory than a scorned spouse.

I tend to be far too giddy about throwing the first soft water loops of the year to bother with taking photos. It felt great to feel some aggressive takes this week as rainbows targeted crayfish in the shallows. Some of the strikes were remarkably close to shore and highly visual. I did pause briefly to catalog this trip's typical rod bender:

Spring Stillwater Rainbow

I also enjoyed hucking what has become one of my 2 favorite stillwater rods: The Sage TCX 697-4. Having some extra length at 9-foot 6-inches gives me additional punch for the frequently windy conditions on lakes and impoundments across the West. The TCX has a softer tip than the previous TCR, providing more control, but does not seem to sacrifice anything in the way of distance. The color of the blank is just outstanding too, especially in direct sunlight. The other go-to stick in this category is the Sage Z-Axis 796-4, which adds backbone for bigger fish.

TCX & Rainbow Caudal Fin

Attached to the TCX on this trip was the Lamson Vanquish 7/8LT - which continues to be a really impressive piece of hardware. Even though the drag system in the lighter version of the Vanquish is not quite as robust as big brother's, I would not hesitate to choose this option for bonefish, snook, or baby tarpon to save wear and tear on the casting arm.

If you haven't seen my review of the 7/8LT, I have product photography and additional thoughts here: LAMSON VANQUISH REVIEW

Sage TCX & Lamson Vanquish 7/8

This weekend will find me chasing more rainbows - although I'm guessing I will be on the stick more often than behind the lens once again. I hope to see a few of you on the water.

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