Thursday, September 16, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
If you fish during winter you’re going to get cold. Fact of life. Put up or shut up is a way some people say it. We tend to agree with that rule when it comes to fishing, although we’re not ripping anyone for a quick trip to the truck to blast the heater and drink a toddy, like cider, cocoa or coffee, maybe with a spike of something stronger in the mix. No matter where you fish winter steelhead the wind, the rain, the sleet and snow are bound to blast in from the big water, meaning the ocean on the coast and the lakes back east. Over time, we’ve learned to wear multiple layers before wading in. And we’ve spent our big money on killer rain jackets and reliable waders.
If you’ve been fly fishing for more than a month, you’ve probably heard these rules of thumb regarding saltwater fly reel maintenance. Rinse in fresh water after use; keep reels in cases when not fishing, so you don’t drop them and bend their spools, right? While a garden hose is a decent starting point to reel maintenance, there’s more to it than just washing off some dirt. Saltwater fly reels come in two formats: sealed disk drags, requiring some maintenance, and cork drags, requiring a little more. Cork drags are almost all found on draw-bar reels, which are used for big-game fishing. The most notable examples are made by Tibor and Abel—all pricey, high-performance models. Sealed disk drags are found on everything else. Nautilus, Orvis, Sage, Ross, Lamson and other companies use sealed disk drags. If you don’t know what kind of drag your reel has, it’s probably a sealed system.
I live in Chico, California, just pulled socks out of the door for the first time this fall, and took my kids trick-or-treating in flip flops. But, believe me, it does get cold here, which is something I’m familiar with. In fact, I spent many years guiding for winter steelhead on the Trinity River, a tributary of the Lower Klamath River, which is located in far Northern California. The Trinity flows through a deep, shaded canyon and daytime temperatures rarely get above freezing. When fishing on my own or guiding on the Trinity, snow can be part of the day-to-day experience. I also spent winters fishing steelhead on the coastal rivers of Oregon and Washington. So, I am familiar with cold and the challenges fishing that weather offers.
I thought my Clik Elite Contrejour 40 Liter pack was a great system for carrying my photography equipment around the world. It holds a bevy of lenses, a flash, two camera bodies, and a MacBook Pro. The back of the pack unzips into a labyrinth of foam trays. There’s room for a travel pillow, hard-drives and all the toys. This system worked great, until I boarded a puddle jumper during an exploratory tarpon fishing trip in Curacao. I always check my rods when flying, mainly because they’re cheaper to replace than my glass. And if I lose them, a lodge usually offers loaners I can throw. I checked my rods successfully on this trip, but this time my photo pack was turned down at the gate, deemed too large to stow in a tiny overhead luggage rack. I was forced to check that valuable kit and the end result was missing gear for three days and a broken $2,000 lens.
It’s late January 2018. I’m staring out the window of our 10-person propeller plane, flying over hundreds of miles of Guyana’s virgin jungle. With a busted-up ankle wrapped as tight as a mummy, my mind races as I mentally prepare myself for the upcoming battle. My foe? Possibly a 350-pound scaled torpedo that can drive anglers to the brink of sanity.
From living in Maine and touring the United States on the college bass fishing circuit, to poling a skiff across Florida flats on the hunt for tarpon, Cody Rubner has already lived an action-packed angling life in his 20-some years on the planet. Originally from Massachusetts, Rubner is always searching for unique fisheries and new experiences. Currently based in Florida, Rubner splits time between sharing the beautiful Florida coast with anglers, and prospecting for new fish to catch and new stories to tell.