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10-26-03 - After a day of fly fishing, Brennon has been persuaded to try the local drift techniques that work so well for Neil...aka. "When in Rome".

Neil did a little digging and came up with this HUGE nympy...first we thought
no...stonefly (it's a stonefly).

Just one of many stunning views of the Brule while hiking.
A 180 Panorama of the Brule mouth, created using the trial of Photovision Panorama 3.0. Talk about a sweet little piece of software!
Neil and Brennon still have operating chest waders...they're out on a sandbar trying for the steelies!
Riffles into a deep bending pool...
My last view of the Brule on this trip made for arguably one of the most intriguing pictures.

10-26-03 - When in Rome....

Waters Fished: Bois Brule River
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 10-26-03
Weather: Clouds all day
Air Temp: Highs in the low 40's
Water Temp: 40-41F
Water Level: low
Water Color: as clear as it gets
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Various Eggs w/attractant, bait (spawn)
Pattern Color: assorted egg imitations
Fishing Quality: Neil says it's been a slow year all around.

First thing in the morning we're up around 5:45 am, packing up and ready to go. We planned to head over and get some breakfast at one of the few local restaurants to meet up with Joseph and hopefully Samantha and Thomas.

Well, it was early, 6:00, no one was there yet, so we decided we'd leave a map of where we were going and then meet up later...well by the time the map was drawn up with a note we found out that the restaurant was now open and Joseph et. al. were already sitting down for some morning fuel! We had a great breakfast (Brennon had the "Steelhead", I had French Toast made with vanilla custard batter...can't remember what Neil had). I'd say the highlight of the morning was when Thomas brought out his laptop and played back video of his "home water", aka. the "Atlantic Ocean" ;) Surf fishing for stripers = WOW.

We headed out; Joseph ( was kind enough to lend me the 9' 6" St. Croix Legend Ultra, the new one which is rolled on the Legend Elite mandrels. Joseph says it makes the new Legend Ultra just a touch faster than before. I can't thank him enough for lending me the demo rod to fish with for the day; not only was it my first time casting a St. Croix but man, I really would have dreaded a day out with my 6 wt. What else can I say but Joseph KNOWS customer service and treated me well way above and beyond what ever would have been appropriate in my book...remember that next time you need something folks! More on the rod in just a couple paragraphs ;)

We parted ways for this trip and Neil, Brennon and I headed back down on the river. Neil had a good plan, drop in, work our way upstream, hike out ;) Somewhere in the execution of that plan Neil managed to hook up with another steelhead about 26" on his yarn & spawn offering; unfortunately it shook off!

By around 1:00 we were done with this section of stream and kinda scratching our heads. After some searching and thinking, I had a brainstorm...let's go to the mouth! Anytime the Pike is devoid of fish the mouth is a pretty good place to cast; why not the same on the Brule.

Well, we got out, and from the shore with a Kastmaster and the boys out on a sandbar with their potent yarn+spawn combos. I think we all got cold pretty quick so we decided it was time to get back on the stream.

Yesterday Brennon and I had actually fished the "wrong stretch" when we dropped in; Neil must be really confident about that water, confident enough that we decided to finish our day there! I spent more time working the faster deep water with the Legend Ultra. I had it lined up with SA Bass Taper 8wt. and the Hobb's Creek Large Arbor III reel. Right off the bat I noticed that the rod was a bit heavier than my Kilwell, and unlike the Kilwell, the extra 6" of length must have been more than enough to make the setup tip-heavy...a different reel would have fixed this. My first few casts had me looking at the rod in shear felt GRITTY on my line. Then I realized it was now cold enough that we were getting ICE on the guides, and I calmed down greatly ;)

On the Brule, backcasting isn't usually an option when drifting the bends or working along the river's shoreline. First thing I noticed about the rod was that I could roll cast a mile with it. I'm talking 50-60 foot roll casts. See those riffles in the 2nd to last picture? I could stand at the BOTTOM of those and roll cast all the way to the top. However, this fast action rod left a lot to be desired in the "loading" category when it comes to an overhead cast. As I later relayed to Joseph, it was like casting a broomstick. On an overhead cast there was almost no load-time; line would go back, become tight with a tap on the tip of the rod from the two pieces of clamshot on my leader, and well you better already be making that forward cast. The strangest thing, at least from my understanding, was how much action the rod had AFTER completing a would jiggle and wiggle in my hands. I never realized that a stiff rod would do that; I figured it would regain its original straight position immediately. Hmm.

So basically this is one uber-fast rod in my book...too fast for my casting style. When I cast my Kilwell it has more range-of-motion in the tip, allowing more loading and more time to get that forward cast timed perfectly. Compared to my Kilwell, which is a lower modulus med / fast rod, the St. Croix Legend Ultra was a unique experience best left to a talented caster who can really put some power INTO the rod. One thing though, the quality of the factory components was VERY HIGH; the reel seat was especially noteworthy with 2 rubber grommets in the locking rings that really made for a tight connection between my reel and the rod. The finish in matte spruce green was impeccable. No wonder so many folks have St. Croix rods!

I was hoping that this rod would be "the one" while I wait for my Kilwell to be repaired; unfortunately I need a slightly slower rod. Well, that just means I'll be making a trip to One More Cast this week...always nice to check out a new fly shop!

So that pretty much concludes our outing. We got off the water around 3:45 pm to head back to Minneapolis. I have to laugh 'cause we were following Neil into Superior when Brennon thought Neil was going the wrong way...a bit of a detour later and we realized WE turned around TO GO the wrong way LOL! Made it back to Brennon's digs by about 7:00, and I was home in Lake Como by 1:15 after yet another traffic stop (man, I just fixed that headlight!)


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