by Herb S.
(Southwest Michigan)

Having been busy teaching a friend to fly fish, today I finally got a chance to test the FMX Stiff 45 with fluorocarbon clear line as threatened in my first review of this marvelous rod. I wanted to see how bite sensitive it is with practically invisible line, and chose 11'of 8# Spider Wire EZ Clear Fluorocarbon with about 2.5' of 5X Power Pro tippet. YES! It's VERY sensitive and the line casts very well, too. The only time the line was visible was when in direct sun and then only barely, so I think it was a fair test. Could I have missed bites? Maybe, but there was plenty of action today. The smallest fish was a 6" river chub. The 3 flies used were all #8 olive Beadhead Woolly Buggers.

Three flies? Well, 2 of them were kept by 2 BIG smallmouth bass. One ran into the brush and the other dove into a mid-stream weed bed to bust the tippet. I did land a 16" largemouth which also put up quite a nice scrap. All the bass made the line sing! A 10+" bluegill, several 9-inchers and quite a few smaller 'gills and rock bass rounded out the day...a great day!

Maybe an explanation is in order of why I wanted to test how this rod (and eventually my other fixed line rods) will detect bites without the use of colored line, strike indicators, markers, bobbers, etc. Many years ago my best friend, Merrill, who earned his PhD at Penn State introduced me to Joe Humphreys, who was the Fly Fishing Professor at that university. I had read Joe's first book and was delighted to fish with Merrill and Joe in Pennsylvania and here in Michigan for several years. Joe taught me his method of high stick nymphing which disdains the use of any "d.... bobber". He is the absolute master, and although I'm a rank amateur compared to Joe, I used it for years fishing local rivers for bass. It takes concentration and it works!

It can also cause frozen shoulder syndrome, especially when tuck casting big weighted bass steamers upstream and raising the rod high while stripping the line to keep in touch with the fly or flies. I did this two to four times a week all season long for years and eventually had to quit all fly casting for a year to let the shoulder heal and gave up high stick upstream nymphing completely.

Enter keriyu with long rods! You can "high stick nymph" without strain because the "stick" is already "high". Keeping in touch with your flies on a fairly tight line is much easier and a lot more comfortable with a long rod than conventional fly fishing. Long keiryu rods work in all depths and speeds of water in any direction. Just ask Chris. Anyhow, it's a challenge to just feel bites and I'm back in business having almost too much fun.

Happy fishing,

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


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