Brown Trout to Brook Trout, Bonefish to Tarpon, Dry Fly to Euro Nymphing, presentation to power. Recommendations from our ambassadors and staff on the "perfect" setups.
Technical Dry Fly
Pursuing difficult trout on spring creeks and other technical waters is a challenging ambition. Having the right tools for the situation is paramount. Besides a clear head, being super watchful and an on-stream predator, part of the essentials is a Sage MOD 486-4. Where MODern material designs meet MODerate flex patterns, a perfect spring creek/technical water rod is born. Supple tippet protection, yet horsepower when needed, the MOD becomes the angler’s tool for success. Coupled with the quintessential reel of simplicity, the CLICK, and a laser line with the RIO Intouch Trout LT, you now have the ability to tackle all that the technical presentations expect.
While summer fishing is defined by dry flies and the hatch, oftentimes the bugs are simply not up on the water. When this is the case and I want make the most of my day out, I grab the ESN. This unique style of European Nymphing allows for unmatched strike detection and precision presentations when fishing subsurface. My perfect setup pairs the 3106-4 ESN with a SPECTRUM LT 5/6 and the RIO Euro Nymph Line along with a hand tied leader and a pair of barbless flies. These finely tuned rods fish best with an ultra-thin diameter fly line to reduce sag in the line when tight line nymphing at distance. When the fish eats, you feel the take down the blank and right into the cork as you don't have slack line like in an indicator rig. Instead, you are tight to your flies, just like a swung fly take or streamer eat. From picking apart pockets in small streams to the big mixing currents of the Colorado River, using an ESN, I can be effective on the water regardless of what is happening on the surface.
After hours of studying maps, planning routes, organizing gear, crushing trail, and finally arriving in the thin air of the high country - it's time. The only problem is that it's blowing 12-15 mph straight into your face and the fish and food are concentrated on the windy side of the lake. The golden sides of the fish flash in the heavy ripples about 30' out - line up their route and send the cdc ant 30' out into the headwind. Enter in the ultra compact 376 DART, with plenty of power to send a pointy loop out beyond the dropoff where the big ones cruise, while maintaining the liveliness of a true 3wt rod. Make an 8” native fish memorable and that 18” unicorn a true mystical battle. Pair it with the 3/4/5 CLICK and a RIO Creek fly line and you have yourself an ultralight setup that is ready for the journey into those off the grid locations.
The ideal bonefish combination should be able to effectively handle conditions that can vary from completely calm to extremely windy and this set-up does that to perfection. It will effortlessly deliver a silent presentation that won’t disturb even the spookiest bonefish in quiet shallows, yet it is equally as efficient when it comes to driving a tight loop into a strong head-wind with precision. The high-capacity reel’s silky-smooth drag never misses a beat and protects the lightest tippets even when a double-digit monster heads toward the horizon on a signature blistering run. When it comes to stalking bonefish, this is the quintessential outfit.
Catching a permit on fly requires patience, perseverance, and the right fly rod and fly line. To be successful you must be accurate with the fly presentation in all types of conditions. The 9 weight SALT HD rod with RIO FlatsPro Fly Line gives you the confidence to be successful and meet the demands of permit on fly.
Bar none, Tarpon are the most rigorously demanding shallow water gamefish of an angler’s tackle, and the SALT HD stands up to the test. The responsiveness of KonneticHD Technology provides my anglers with the ability to present flies delicately at short distances to laid up Tarpon in off-colored water, while still maintaining the ability to reach out far to strings of swimming fish. The low stretch properties of DirectCore incorporated in the Flats Pro makes the insurmountable feat of penetrating a Tarpons mouth more feasible and ensures in increasing more quality hook ups, amounting to less fish jumping off. The dynamic duo pairing of the SALT HD with the Flats Pro aids in leveling the playing field for all anglers in pursuit of these mythical dinosaurs that lurk beneath the surface.
- SALT HD 1190-4
- SPECTRUM MAX 11/12
- RIO DirectCore Flats Pro WF11F low-viz color Gray/Sand/Kelp
The beauty of a seven-weight switch stick is that it's big enough for steelhead, sea run dollies, sea run browns and all the salmon species (other than Kingy), yet not so big to completely blow past the western trout game in the Rockies and beyond.
I like a setup that’s versatile and summer/fall steelhead often demand mixed techniques, depending on conditions. A Skagit line on the 6-weight MOD offers me the flexibility to fish MOW Tips with various sinking sections or, with a full-floating MOW, I can fish dryline-style. The rod’s powerful enough for small intruders and coneheads but has finesse and delicacy to fish classic wets as well.
When picking a good winter setup I think it’s important to find a rod that suits what water you normally fish. For instance, I normally fish deeper runs where getting a fly into the strike zone to trigger a reaction is very important. The 8130-4 X is the 'DO ANYTHING ROD'. It bends deep into the cork and has enough power to throw 15' of T-20 along with a huge Musky fly if you wanted it to.
- 8130-4 X
- SPECTRUM MAX - 9/10
- 550/575 Grain RIO Skagit Max / 550/575 RIO Skagit iFlight