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 Post subject: Smallmouth & The Remnant
PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:41 pm • # 1 
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The whole inspiration for this 2 wt excursion was to visit a redhorse and drum rich bend and focus mostly on those species. I’d been reveling about there recently on the 4 wt smallie fishing thing and was impressed at the sheer numbers of the non-bass species. Of course, this is a creek renown for it’s smallmouth fishing both in numbers and/or sizes depending on the year. Strong spawns in recent years have put the numbers of bass in the 10”-12” range at ridiculous levels which is quite pleasing for the flyrodder. Quite a few 14”ers considerably larger around here and they all love topwater bugs in the low water season.

So even on a sucker-centric venture, ya gotta ring that bell a few times. ;) They always answer promptly…
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Rockies, too!
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Don’t take much, just a good SPLAT! and some legs…
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Did this for awhile and was beginning to remember the original plan so I decided to take a few more popper bass and then head off for the Horsies. Not a particularly big smallmouth, mildly aggressive take, strip and tighten to the butt of the little rod and…SNAP! Yeah, that dreaded sound…
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Slightly more than an hour in on a great day and it all crashes down. Recalled stories of Wulff and Kreh, their ability to cast entire flylines by hand without any rod, even catch impressive fish while proving it’s possible. Well, I believe the stories but I guarantee you neither Lee nor Lefty ever tried doing any of that crap with an UL flyline of minuscule grain weight. These heroic casting feats simply do not work down at that level. I know ‘cuz I really tried.

Started walking back trying my best to enjoy the natural beauty which remained unaltered by my personal tragedy. The rodbuilder in me, however, said “B*tch, please”, turned around and led me to a suitable workbench. Worth a shot to route a rod blank channel, seat/shim, wrap-tie with backing and see how it goes…
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Ma Nature provided some decently workable hollow shim material, so I trimmed off the butt protrusion, reseated, and tied-off…
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Looked good (given the situation), worked alright for a few sunfish, but I just didn’t trust the idea for anything larger so stress tested it and was rewarded with the dreaded sound yet again. Two breaks, I’m now out of rod material and I’m friggin’ done. >:( Got about 100 yards before thoughts of fixed line rigs, microfishing, and Tenkara started gnawing at me. Not here, not me, not in this creek. And what’s another snap anyway? Heck, seemed to be the theme of the day so reckon I just go ahead and groove with it. Third rod snap was me intentionally breaking off the reelseat portion and creating a pocketable line management device…
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Threw the cork in the backpack, put reel in my left pocket, and I now have a 4’-10” sub-aught wt “stylus” and a pocket full of flyline. What can I say, too charming of a place to leave feeling all defeated and it works well enough (for what it is, anyway).
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About 25’ max reach and I thought it best to stay safe and keep it small. Plenty of rightsized fish to entertain me, smallies and rock bass reliably stayed on the topwater bite and the Longears proved a more worthy adversary than ever before on the Remnant Rod. I’m convinced that there’s about a dozen variations on how a single species of Longear can look and many have slightly different attributes here and there even in the same creek. Day started at about 12:00 pm, rod broke at 1:00 pm, fished the Remnant Rod in “pocket reel & stylus” fashion until around 6:30 pm when I called it day. Hard to believe, but I’d be lying if I claimed I didn’t have a great day of fishing and a lot of fun despite the earlier tribulations.

Oh…and that bass in the first pic up there, the one in front of the midstream pyramid rock and the intact flyrod sitting on top? Yeah, just to be smartass in the face of adversity and get an enhanced sense of resolution I had to catch another bass right there when I passed by it on the way back down. Same rock much later in the day, albeit with a bit smaller bass and a bit smaller rod. Y’know, I somehow always gotta get the last word in on these kinda days...
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Finishing out the day on the foreshortened rod was not only an interesting experience, but rather thought provoking for me. Probably have more to say on this and ideas that cropped-up because of it later on. Had I known earlier in the day what I learned by the end of it, I wouldn’t have wasted a second trying to repair the rod and re-seat the blank in the handle. Even if it worked, it would not have been nearly as entertaining as fishing reel-free with The Remnant.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 7:31 am • # 2 
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The best thing now is that you have a great excuse to buy a new rod!!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:54 pm • # 3 
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Now that's how you turn a s**t sandwich into a steak dinner. Way to go, and like Cliff said, now you get to find a new rod which is never a bad thing. :applause :applause

Larry


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 6:34 am • # 4 
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Nice salvage of a day! On a side note, do you have any theories as to why the rod broke as it did? twice?
brent


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:41 am • # 5 
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I am so positively impressed that instead of throwing a full blown ring tailed temper tantrum, you thought about the situation a bit and improvised. The best part is that you still had an enjoyable day of catching fish. Every now and then, I see or learn about a person in a certain situation that handles themselves so well that it is an inspiration to my own personal conduct. Thank you for sharing your story.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:19 pm • # 6 
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Location: North Central Indiana
Cliff Hilbert wrote:
The best thing now is that you have a great excuse to buy a new rod!!

Why yes, this certainly does appear to be the case! ;)

Even prior to the breakage I found my thoughts wandering into the more glassy arena and wondering if the characteristics of modern fiberglass blanks might be more suited to the line ideas and build strategies I play with.

Never thought I’d think it, but a 6’6” 2wt could be a bit heavier blank and function even better for it’s purpose especially if slower and more prone to slight deflection via it’s own weight. Given the fact the recently deceased only cost $36.00 and saw heavy use and service for near a decade, I definitely got my money’s worth. Consequently, this can be viewed as justification for being more spendy on the latest fiberglass blank tech out there for the replacement build. The explorations must continue (too fun not to).

Canoeman1947 wrote:
Now that's how you turn a s**t sandwich into a steak dinner.

Well, I did try to leave twice and give up. Just not in me, never has been, probably never will be when it comes to fishin’. Regarding the “full blown ring tailed temper tantrum” option as mentioned by Fishnmack? Nah. And none of you would’ve either if standing in this beautiful creek only 45 minutes from home. It’s a flyover country creek many choose to make YouTube fishing videos in because unless one has two broken arms and their head stuck in their ass they’re usually gonna catch alotta smallmouth. Life is good and I’ve lived it in worse places so any real anger is hard to find.

wheezeburnt wrote:
Nice salvage of a day! On a side note, do you have any theories as to why the rod broke as it did? twice? brent

First break was likely age and fatigue with heavy use. Not much material on a rod blank this size and it doesn’t last forever. Second break was mostly due to how I lashed it on and what it had to rest on when seated. Near impossible to tie in securely and still allow for the “circular to flat oval” deformation that has to take place when a carbon cone flexes or bends. It’s blank resting on blank and while it does light duty, I had to stress test it just to see how much it would take. Probably could’ve shimmed it better on the underside, but it would still bend against a hard edge on a very flexible portion of blank. Minnows, yes. Accidental smallies, no way.

Thought they were gone forever, but I found the original build pics of this blank from 3 laptops ago. Strangely metaphorical and illustrates nicely that the path to any destination can meander as much as any stream we’ll ever fish. Y’all won’t believe how the rod up there actually started back in 2012, but that ongoing project and it’s progression is actually what led me here. May take while to compile, I’ll slap it up when I do.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:52 pm • # 7 
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Eulogy for a $36.00 Blank :lol

The PacBay Rainforest 6’6” 2wt blank up there was never intended to be a flyrod. I started building on this blank sometime around 2012 for the sole purpose of micro fishing and specie survey of my local creeks. Bait was live caddis larva from under rocks, TMC #32 hooks, photo tanks, confusing minnow ID. You know the thing, more academic than sport yet a very rewarding side hobby to flyfishing…
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Original build intent was in the vein of Tenkara or Tanago, but I just never could get comfortable (or become disciplined enough) with fixed-line rods. I always end up getting into something much larger than appropriate for such limited line length so I split the difference. Didn’t want to lug around a fly reel or spinning reel for these surveys, but needed something to adjust line and have some backing for larger incidental catches. Although a $5.00 butt reel for canepoles & icefishing rods fit the bill, the modern incarnations were pretty hinky in quality versus how I remembered the HT Stillfishers of my youth. I rebuilt some of the guts just to see if I could get them a bit more reliable for functional use…
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Soon became readily apparent the whole “inner line rod” notion wasn’t going to fly with a 2 wt flyrod blank. Inner line only works feasibly with larger rods designed specifically for such use. Thus, I went with more traditional line guides (Fuji micros) and decided to run the line path through the handle (via tube) and exit at the front of the grip and through the guides.
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Obviously, by this point it had become a full blown “just to see if I can” type of tackle crafting project. Far beyond any sane rationale and thus so compelling to a twisted fella like myself. Strange as it was, it actually worked pretty well for it’s original purpose and was quite compact and slick to move about a creek with on recreational survey fishing and photographing fish.
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Wasn’t long before the larger creek chubs and shiners became more attractive quarry than the darters and sculpins while the accidental sunfish and rock bass catches proved to be a friggin’ riot on this thing.

Naturally, being a fly guy I also soon discovered that I could actually flycast moderate diameter PowerPro braid a short, yet pleasingly effective fishing distance at the ponds I rented an apartment on. Even in late December of 2012, duck pond carp still wanted to play if a carefully a presented with a single corn kernel or yellow micro-jig…
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Eventually ditched the butt reel, rebuilt the handle to accept a small fly reel (BPS WhiteRiver UL, later a TFO BVK 0), and added a few rings to the front after trimming back the line tube. A few guide spacing experiments and explorations of alternative flyline material and it eventually became the flyrod pictured at the top of this thread after about the first year or so. No idea how many fish this rod blank hauled in over the years, but suffice it to say it’s a heckuva number and many were pretty chunky. Didn’t think it’d go much more than a year or two and it miraculously survived strange alterations in form and provided heavy service for darn near a decade. :applause

While I don’t wonder much why it eventually broke, I do wonder quite a bit how the heck it survived for so long. I bid this rod farewell with much thanks, very impressive run for a $36.00 whim project. Like I said, it’s a somewhat metaphorical project rod and meandered as much as any stream before reaching it's destination.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 4:19 pm • # 8 
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KnotJoe, that was a good report and a good save. Of course now you have a great motive for embarking on a new build project, but you could also mount a grip and reel seat on the remnant, perhaps with a ventilated grip to let the blank flex easily. Then you would also have a sub-0 weight rod for micro flyfishing. Surely I don't have to give you any ideas because you seem to come up with enough of them on your own,


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 1:16 pm • # 9 
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Posts: 115
Location: North Central Indiana
PampasPete wrote:
Of course now you have a great motive for embarking on a new build project, but you could also mount a grip and reel seat on the remnant, perhaps with a ventilated grip to let the blank flex easily. Then you would also have a sub-0 weight rod for micro flyfishing.

Well, one can tell we embrace experimental rod building ‘round these parts of the web. :applause

I had those same type of notions running through my head when I was driving home and you know what? I’m gonna do something like this, but without a reel on the rod. Nutty as it sounds, the pocket reel/stylus idea was not only a doable and effective save, but pretty darn fun and perhaps even more feasible for extremely light or truncated rods. Having a reel on the left hip (or pocket) while casting with the right arm proved to be far less troublesome line management in current. It’s the line origin point being on the opposite side of the body which does it for short range fishing. It also doesn’t wander as much or tangle on the uptake, when crossing gravel bars one just picks up a loop (or two) and belt tucks it. Or over the should fling instead of reeling up and those belt-worn line hook devices would probably be the perfect solution.

Strange and counterintuitive, but once you do it for a few hours it’s like “Dang, this works good!”. Completely eliminates the fulcrum/balance dilemma on feather light rods when building for a reel as well which is nice. See where the guide is on the remnant rod below? It’s was almost in the perfect place for a butt guide on this concept because it’s easy to finger grab line and makes one hand cast & line feed easier. I tried it both ways, butt guide right in front of the hand is best line entry point into the guide train without a reel. Wouldn’t have guessed this myself.
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Yes, that is an unbuilt 6’6” 2wt blank in the bag that I forgot I had. Cabela’s/China IM7 and probably bargain bin impulse item 10 years ago which feels much more like a strong 3 wt to me. It really wants to become the emergency Stylus rod hiding behind the truck seat (it’s friggin’ perfect for that). My ancient Cortland Vista reel is going to be the belt clipper.

These are sticks and strings, once we know how to fling a string, there appears to be quite a few fun options.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2021 9:16 am • # 10 
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Your idea of a stylus rod and the pocket reel prodded me into thinking about my practice fly rod. It is a two piece Wright & McGill four foot practice rod. Previously I have tried using it with a little cheepo reel zip tied to the handle, not too bad of a modification, but not balanced. Leaving the reel off completely might make this pretty little practice rod into a spell casting wand.


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