by Herb S.
(Southwest Michigan)

This morning my student/friend and I fished a familiar stretch of my favorite river. He went down first on the “good” side (long outside curve) of the river while I strung up my Nissin Air Stage Hakubai 390, taking my time following him while the low, clear water settled down. After a couple of fly changes I tied on a #10 White Thread/Grizzly Hen Hackle Kebari-type fly (plenty of wabi-sabi) and that did the business. Moving extremely slowly I followed him downstream and within 70 feet of starting landed 14 bluegills, two 9” smallmouth bass, an eight-incher and 4 rock bass. It was a two hour wade for both of us, and by the time he came back up from way downstream he’d caught 6 ‘gills with his fly rod. I write this not to brag but to illustrate the value of stealth, a recent topic on T-Bum Blogs.

Before going upstream I switched to my Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 320 and a #10 Woolly Bugger. On the long wade of the straight stretch below a bridge I further explained to my friend about reading water, and called attention to the fact that the river was pretty much an even depth all the way across while down below the “thalweg” (deepest channel in the river or low point in a valley) follows the outside of the bends. I reiterated that stealth was especially necessary in this low water and pointed out that there are “holes” in the flat caused by embedded logs in this flat stretch that might hold fish in low light conditions. My friend did indeed slow down at the bridge and we both caught rock bass under the bridge and more rockies and ‘gills in the good side above the bridge. The place is a fish factory and it became a many day for both of us.

The rods: I LOVE that 390! Today was windless and the 10’ #2.5 fluorocarbon line worked perfectly with 3’ of 7X tippet. I hope Chris brings it back; it’s a lovely, accurate caster and what a gas fighting those smallmouth and the larger ‘gills (up to 8”)! The 320 is a shooter, very accurate, and is the right length for the conditions with 8’ of #3.5 fluoro line and 3’ of 5X. It has guts, too, yanking fish out of tight spots before they tangle in the brush and downed wood. Wade softly and carry a reel-less stick.

Happy Fishing,

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