4-18-05 - Home Sweet Home - back in SE WI!
Waters Fished: Root River
Fish Caught: 1 personally
Outing Date: 4-18-05
Weather: Glorious - Sunny, nice!
Air Temp: 60's
Water Temp: 60 F
Water Level: 70 CFS, stable
Water Color: Stained, visibility 1'++
Fish Species: Steelhead
Pattern Fished: Egg Patterns
Pattern Color: Hot Pink was the best
Fishing Quality: Very Good
I met up with John shortly after Noon on Monday,
having just returned from Looperpalooza! John was worried he'd have
a "fried guide" after such a long trip...NO WAY. I was
eager to get back on the home water and whip the steelies into a
For whatever reason, I decided we should fish Colonial
Park. We met up and dropped in. John had specifically booked our
trip looking for some casting instruction and improvement, so we
started there. One of the interesting things about our guide was
that John's steelhead rod happens to be a 9' 7wt. St. Croix Avid
2pc - the same rod I use as my current default steelhead rod. Well,
he was lined up with 7wt. WF, mine carries 8wt. Bass Taper. He was
surprised at the difference a slightly different reel and line can
make in the same rod.
After helping John polish his roll cast I taught
him the cast that Karl Kaufmann dubbed my "Lariat Cast".
If I haven't explained it before, here's the mechanics and the use.
If it has another name, by all means tell me! As John's day on the
water was simply nonstop action that defies a worded description,
this is a perfect opportunity to discuss the cast I taught him.
In a nutshell, you need the Lariat cast in situations
where you would normally roll cast but can't. But wait a second,
when do you roll cast. That's easy enough, you roll cast when you
don't have room for a back cast. So then, assuming you don't have
room for a backcast, how could you not have room for a roll cast?!?!
For starters, lets say you're standing underneath
a low hanging branch. If you bring your rod tip up for a standard
vertical roll cast, you'll get hung up in that overhanging tree.
This is the most common situation you find yourself facing. The
2nd most common situation is when your roll cast would place your
offering directly into a overhanging obstacle above the place you'd
like to land your fly.
So the Lariat Cast (for lack of a better or appropriate
name) is used in ultra-tight quarters. Being a cast that is done
in the HORIZONTAL plane, it keeps your line AND your rod low to
the water at all times. There is no back cast, and there is minimal
room needed vertically. The only time you couldn't use this is if
there was a big bush against your upstream shoulder! Now, I should
thrown in here that it's also a really easy cast to use anytime
you want to redirect your fly from immediately downstream to directly
out in front of you, across stream. I use it quite a bit...hence
why it was originally dubbed "MP's Steelhead Flip" by
Step 1 - So you start the cast at the end of your
drift. The line is downstream from where you stand, parallel to
the current. Assuming you've followed your drift downstream, your
rod will be pointed in that direction, parallel to the water's surface,
and your body will be facing across stream, perpendicular to the
current. You will notice that I do not mention bringing the arm
across your body in any of these steps - in some circumstances you
will start with your arm across the front of your body, in others
you will end that way.
Step 2 - While holding your line in your line hand,
slowly sweep your rod upstream until it is parallel with the current
while keeping the rod (and your arm) parallel to the water's surface
as well. It is wise to use your arm fully extended and straight
in this cast. Remember, you're NOT going vertical here. Should the
current be slightly at your back, be sure to stop your sweep before
the rod tip passes behind your body...going behind your body will
bring the fly line INTO your body (not a good thing ;)
Step 2. - With tension between your rod tip and
the line, apply stead casting power as you sweep the rod tip 90
degrees forward, raising the entire rod slightly as you progress
through your sweep. The fly line laying on the water will move forward
in front of you, following the path of the rod tip.
Step 3. - Gently stop the casting movement as your
rod becomes perpendicular with the current. You'll have just swept
out a 90 degree arc. You can adjust your targeted landing by stopping
sooner or progressing the arc further...as a general rule the fly
will land where the rod tip is pointed when the cast is complete.
The fly line will continue to move in front of you as the belly
of the line creates a closed loop between the tag end of your fly
line and your arm.
Step 4. - Continue to hold your rod high and parallel
to the water as the cast completes. As a general rule, this cast
will result in your flies landing on target with a downstream belly
in your line. Generally an upstream mend is required immediately
following this cast.
So that sums up the Lariat Cast as best as I can
in writing. If all goes well the flies land on target and were never
more than a foot or two off the water's surface, and the majority
of your fly line never rose past the height of your rod tip. If
you screwed it up, you'll either have a tangle from the line collapsing
on itself during the cast, or worse, flies embedded in your downstream
Well John MASTERED this cast within the 4 hour
span of our guided trip and put it to good use. I tried to keep
count of his strikes and well, he ended up going something like
2/10 or so. It's worth noting that ALL our fish came from the same
spot...the head of a fast deep run and the tailout and redd immediately
proceeding the run. Our success on this outing was entirely focused
on the fact that we found the only apparent pod of fish in Colonial
Park that day.
When our guide was over, which was pretty much
when John had his fill of a great day on the water (and his stomach
was suggesting dinner was in order) he welcomed me take a few casts
before we left. I personally gave myself 15 minutes to land a fish...it
didn't take nearly that long to hook up. A buck had come up to sit
on the redd and await the return of a hen. I drifted my egg sucking
yarn fly by him and there was a big whoosh of water as the buck
cruised forwards and across the stream towards me.
1 one thousand. 2 one thousand. 3 one thousand.
Wait a second - SET THE HOOK! I literally waited a full 3 seconds
not realizing that I had just witnessed one of the most vicious
steelhead takes I've ever seen. Indeed, I reared back on the rod
and found I was connected to a mean SOB!
John took his turn at playing guide and netted
this buck...even grabbed the camera and got two EXCELLENT shots
before we put him back in the water. I FULLY attribute my success
on this hookup to the fact that the butt of my fly was looped yarn...I'm
sure after he crushed it he would have spit it out, but the "Velcro"
action of looped McFlyFoam in the teeth of a steelhead probably
saved me from an entirely missed strike.