John and I spent the last couple of days learning about all the new products from Sage, Simms, Redington, Rio and Umpqua as well as doing some fishing in the Delta near Stockton, California. We stayed with John Sherman near Discovery Bay. The fishing this year was not as productive as last year, but we learned some new techniques to try out on our home waters.
After going over new products most of the day Sunday, we headed out for the evening bite. Sherman has been busy learning some new tricks for Bass and it was Rohmer and my introduction to “Mat fishing”. It was quite an experience. It opens up water that previously we would have had no chance to catch fish. It involves using heavy rods(Sage Largemouth or the new Redington Predator 10wt) and a new “Rat” Fly. Not sure why we did not take a picture of the fly(we will get one up soon), but it has a hard epoxy bottom w/ a thick deer hair top an upturned hook. We would fish these in some of the weediest water we could find skimming the rat on the surface, we only had a couple of takes which were explosive, but could not connect. We ended up each hooking a couple LM Bass on Umpqua’s Swimming Frog, including a double to end the day. Check out the pictures of what the water looked like and the lines created in the mats by the rat.
The next day we had a chance to get out with Kevin Doran, www.deltaadventures.com. Kevin guides the Delta and is extremely dialed into what is going on. We started the day fishing the mats with the rat again. We hit some areas that were not as dense weed growth which Kevin called Red Weed. Same tactic of pulling the rat on top of the weeds. After an hour or so I saw a wake tracking my rat. I gave a couple of twitches and all I saw was a big mouth coming up to eat my rat. All I could think about was Sherman telling me to hook these fish you needed to go Jimmy Houston on them, I went Jimmy a half second too soon pulling the fly out of the fish’s mouth. It was a big fish. I did manage to get a fish off the red weed a little later, but still thinking about the one that got away. We both caught fish on the frog as well, John with the biggest at a few pounds. We still needed to try out some other rods, so we headed out for some stripers. I threw my fly out next to the boat as I stripped line off for the cast and 3 small stripers came out to fight over the fly, one of which ate it. The next hour was fun as we hooked 6 and had several taps. Nothing huge, but it was a good way to end the day.
We saw a ton of new products that will be available soon, here are the highlights of what we heard about and what we got to fish.
TCX Fly Rods and Rio Fly Lines-These rods were amazing. Sage made them lighter and a little bit softer than their predecessor the TCR, making this a great rod to FISH as just opposed to cast. We fished the 6 weight with the new 230 grain Sage Bluegill line and it threw the big Umpqua swimming frogs with no issue. We also fished the 8 weight with Rio’s T-11 Outbound line for stripers. This was a sweet rig that caught almost all of our stripers today and one that you could throw all day. We also fished the 10 weight with Rio’s new Outbound Short line. This set up took a little getting used to, if we false casted into the running line at all the cast would just not work. Once we got used to it, it did it’s job of throwing large top water striper flies more quickly. Sherman tells us this will be the go to topwater striper line for him this year.
Bluegill Rod-To complement their Bass line of rods, Sage has developed a lighter weight Bluegill Rod and Fly Line. The line is a 230 grain line, as opposed to the 290 grains of the smallmouth and 330 grains of the largemouth. It is closer to a 7 weight or fast 6 weight, except with it being only 7’11” it feels much lighter. It still had guts to throw over big deer hair frogs. The line stands on it’s own as a great new product. Put the line on your 6 weight or 7 weight and you have a Bass rod that deliver the fly where you need it.
Reels-Sage is totally revamping their reels for 2008. A new 6000 series will be at the highest level of premium reels. We were most impressed with the Carbon Fiber reels in the 4000 series. They have a different look, but the carbon fiber is much lighter than the traditional materials used in other reels. Another wow factor was the cost of a spare spool, $60 for a spool on a $320 reel is an awesome deal. An extremely nice drag system as well, Sage is really making a push in the reel market. Their click reels are new as well for 0-4 wt, super lightweight.
Most of these will be availible October 1st!!!
Footwear-Simms is debuting Vibram which they believe could revolutionize wading. It is a sole that aids in the fight against the spread of aquatic invaders and has all the benefits of both Aquastealth and Felt. With a couple of states already banning felt soles this has been a great breakthrough for Simms. Sherman had a chance to test them out and he told us he and all the others who used them preffered them over felt. We can’t wait to see and try these for ourselves when they come out in early 2009.
Waders-The return of the pant wader in the Headwater wader. A great pontoon or shallow water wader.
Apparel-Lots of new stuff, too much to mention.
We also picked up a line of Buffs. These are a must have item for anyone heading to Saltwater destinations and really anywhere that protection from the elements is needed. There are few flats fisherman around who are not wearing these. We also have some Windstopper fleece ones coming in for the cold weather that is coming in. Many very cool fish patterns, I am wearing the Tarpon scale print in the striper pictures above, Sherman is wearing the Bonefish pattern in the Mat photo. We will have these October 1st.
Reels-Redington is coming out with a great new reel to replace the popular CD reels. The name eludes me(it is 11:30 at night), but they are a vast improvement in appearance, weight and function.
Rods-The new Predator series rods are short rods with fast actions made to throw big bugs. At 8’3″ and 7’10” on the lower line wt rods, these are perfect boat rods when chasing bass. At a price point of $199 they will be tough not to own.
Look for these around the first of the year.